Doctor Who Administered Prohibited Procedure for Paulo Costa Banned Two Years by USADA

UFC DC, Capital One Arena
Capital One Area Screen Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

A Brazilian doctor who administered “over-limit intravenous (IV) infusions of permitted substances” to UFC fighter Paulo Costa and his brother Carlos has been banished two years by USADA.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a press release Monday announcing the sanction of Dr. Lucas Penchel, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Carlos and Paulo Costa were previously sanctioned six months.

The sanction of Penchel dates back to incidents in June 2, 2017 (Carlos Costa) and November 3, 2017 (Paulo Costa). In both cases, infusions administered by Penchel were in violation of allowable thresholds. “In 2017, IV infusions and/or injections of more than 50 mL per 6-hour period were prohibited except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions, surgical procedures, or clinical investigations” under the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy, the release noted. The promotion’s Anti-Doping Policy has since been modified to prohibit over 100 mL per 12-hour period — “with the added exception of those determined to be medically justified and within the standard of care by a licensed physician and administered by a licensed medical professional.”

Under current standards, however, the infusions Penchel administered to the Costas back in 2017 would still be prohibited.

“Dr. Penchel, like all athlete support personnel, was entrusted to help athletes make safe and informed decisions, but instead, he violated anti-doping rules and his oath to best protect athletes’ health and safety,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in Monday’s press release.

The UFC Anti-Doping Policy applies to both athletes and support personnel, including those working as coaches, trainers, doctors, and the like in a professional capacity. During his sanction, Penchel will be barred from working with UFC fighters, pretty much in any official capacity.

Penchel’s suspension came into effect March 17, 2020, meaning it is not backdated and will carry into 2022.