The UFC on FOX 26 card in Winnipeg this December just lost a major player. Legendary light heavyweight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, otherwise known as Little Nog, has apparently run afoul of USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency). The UFC announced the news in a statement Thursday. As a result, Nogueira will be benched until the adjudication process plays out.
Nogueira, brother of heavyweight legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, had been set to face Jared Cannonier at the event. This is the first positive test result for Little Nog since he began professional competition in 2001. Heading into UFC on FOX 26, Nogueira (22–8) had lost all but one of his past four bouts. His most recent win came against Patrick Cummins at UFC 198 in May of 2016.
In their statement Thursday, the UFC said that
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Antonio Rogerio Nogueira of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on September 27, 2017. Due to the proximity of Nogueira’s upcoming scheduled bout at UFC FIGHT NIGHT: LAWLER vs. DOS ANJOS in Winnipeg, Canada on December 16, 2017 against Jared Cannonier, Nogueira has been removed from the card and the UFC is currently seeking a replacement.
As is standard policy in anti-doping policy violations, neither the UFC nor USADA has released what substance Nogueira tested positive for. The fighter will have the option of testing his B-sample, and it will likely take months for the full process to play out.
Nogueira is just the latest big name in hot water with USADA. Most notably, now-former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was stripped of the title he won back just this past July at UFC 213 after failing tests surrounding his UFC 213 title fight with Daniel Cormier. Jones’ fate, which could include a multi-year suspension, remains to be seen.
UFC on FOX 26 takes place December 16 in Winnipeg, MB. In the main event, ex-welterweight champion Robbie Lawler faces former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos in a welterweight title eliminator.