Uzbekistan’s Liliya Shakirova hasn’t fought in a while — and the UFC women’s flyweight will be sitting out a little longer.
On Monday, USADA (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) announced via press release that Shakirova (8-2) had been suspended two years under the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy. The sanction comes as the result of a positive out of competition drug test administered on December 5, 2020, which saw her test positive for meldonium.
Meldonium, listed as a non-specified substance in the category of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators, is prohibited at all times under the UFC ADP. Monday’s release noted that the fighter did not declare use of the substance in her onboarding form upon joining the UFC; had she done so, the violation could possibly have been avoided.
If the drug rings a bell, it’s because meldonium is the same substance tennis star Maria Sharipova tested positive for back in 2016, leading to a two-year ban from her sport. The drug had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substance list at the start of that year. Multiple Russian athletes were later sanctioned after testing positive for the substance.
In the case of Shakirova, her two-year ban is backdated to the date of her positive test, making her eligible to return to competition at the end of 2022. To date, her only UFC fight came at UFC 254, where she stepped up on short notice against current contender Lauren Murphy. Shakirova was submitted in the second round.