UFC 215 in Edmonton has taken a heavy blow thanks to a potential positive drug test under the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Most surprisingly, it’s former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos facing the heat. The popular fighter has been an outspoken critic of performance enhancing drugs in the sport of MMA. Nonetheless, it appears he’ll have some explaining to do as both fighter and USADA go about investigating why he failed an out-of-competition drug test. Dos Santos was set to face the surging Francis Ngannou at the event next month.
Per a statement Friday from the UFC, “The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Junior Dos Santos of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on August 10, 2017. Because of the proximity to Dos Santos upcoming scheduled bout at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Canada against Francis Ngannou, Dos Santos has been removed from the card and the UFC is currently seeking a replacement.”
No word yet on who that replacement will be. Dos Santos (18–5) was most recently in action at UFC 211 in Dallas, where he was finished by current champ Stipe Miocic in the first round of their main event title fight.
In a statement to MMA Fighting, Dos Santos’ management stated that “what we know as of now is that Junior dos Santos has never taken PEDs, has never knowingly used any banned substances, and has always supported USADA’s policies and efforts to keep the sport clean.”
“If ever there was a fighter who made his position on this issue unequivocal, it’s Junior. We are confident that that we will be able to figure out what happened, and will provide an explanation once we have one.”
Ngannou, for his part, was not impressed with the news:
I'm very very angry!!!
Almost done with training camp and they just announced that my opponent is out for #ufc215
— Francis NGannou (@francis_ngannou) August 18, 2017
It’s the second recent test failure under the USADA regime for UFC fighters, as earlier this week, the UFC announced that light heavyweight Nick Roehrick had also been flagged for a potential USADA violation.