UFC Heavyweight Raphael Pessoa Hit With One Year Suspension for USADA Violation

Tanner Boser and Raphael Pessoa, UFC
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JULY 26: (R-L) Raphael Pessoa of Brazil punches Tanner Boser of Canada in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 26, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Brazil’s Raphael Pessoa will be sitting on the sidelines for a while.

On Monday, USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) officials announced via press release that Pessoa (10-2) had agreed to a one year sanction after testing positive for banned substances. A sample collected from Pessoa (properly Raphael Pessoa Nunes) on March 4, 2020 was flagged as positive for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and its metabolites chlorothiazide and 4-amino-6-chloro-1,3-benzenedisulfonamide (ACB). Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic and potential masking agent, and banned at all times under the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy, which USADA oversees.

While the positive sample was collected in March, Pessoa was actually able to fight in July, losing via TKO to Canada’s Tanner Boser. That is the result of a delay caused by “laboratory closures due to COVID-19.”

Despite that oversight, seemingly in Pessoa’s favor, his suspension remains backdated to March 4, 2020 when his positive sample was collected.

The 31-year old heavyweight fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is 1-2 in his UFC career to date. Along with the loss to Boser, Pessoa was submitted by Ciryl Gane in the Brazilian’s debut last year. His lone win inside the octagon came at UFC Singapore in October 2019, where he defeated Jeff Hughes.

Prior to competing in the UFC, Pessoa fought for LFA and Shooto Brazil, among other promotions.


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