Pair of UFC Fighters Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Violations by USADA, UFC 217 Bout Scratched

    UFC Auckland Ion Cutelaba
    Credit: Dave Mandel/

    On Friday, the UFC announced that it had been notified by USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) that a pair of athletes had been flagged for potential anti-doping violations. That includes Ion Cutelaba, who had been scheduled to fight Saturday at UFC 217 in New York City. In addition to Cutelaba, heavyweight Azunna Anyanwu also tested positive for a banned substance.

    Per a release Friday from the UFC,

    The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Ion Cutelaba of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from its investigation into voluntary disclosures by Cutelaba during an out-of-competition sample collections on October 18 and October 19, 2017. USADA has provisionally suspended Cutelaba and his fight against Michal Oleksiejczuk has been cancelled from the November 4, 2017, UFC 217 fight card.

    All fighters had made weight for the UFC 217 card earlier in the day. The event is headlined by a middleweight title fight featuring Michael Bisping defending his 185lb crown against the returning Georges St. Pierre. GSP, considered by most to be the best welterweight of all time, is moving up to middleweight for the first time after roughly four years away from the sport.

    Cutelaba (13–3 (1)), a twenty-three year old from Moldova, is 2-2 in the UFC to date, and had been coming off a win against Henrique da Silva at UFC Fight Night 110 in June. Due to the late nature of the notice, no replacement was able to be found for Cutelaba in time for UFC 217 on Saturday.

    Azunna Anyanwu (14-5), meanwhile, had suffered a loss in his UFC debut, dropping a split decision to Justin Ledet in September at UFC Fight Night 116.

    As is standard procedure for UFC fighters testing positive for prohibited substances under USADA, the nature of the substances was not released. Both fighters will now undertake “a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed,” per the promotion.


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