JDS: What did I learn from USADA suspension? Nothing
On August 18, 2017, former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos was pulled from a fight vs. Francis Ngannou at UFC 215, due to a potential doping violation. It was eventually determined that the flagged test was due to a contaminated supplement. The same Brazilian compounding pharmacy also caused Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Marcos Rogerio de Lima to have tests flagged.
Eventually, JDS took a six-month suspension, allowing him to fight immediately. However, the cost to the fighter was substantial and left him with serious doubts not about USADA execution of a noble goal. Dos Santos had to pay for an attorney. He needed to test a number of the 20 or so supplements he was taking, at $500 to $1,000 each, at his own cost. He lost a television commentary gig on Brazilian television. He lost out on income - his previous fight he earned $800,000 in a loss to division champion Stipe Miocic, while a 2015 fight saw him make $400,000 in a loss.
On Saturday he fights for the first time in over a year. vs. Blagoy Ivanov at UFC Fight Night 133. But he says the battle when he wasn't fighting was bigger.
“That was the biggest fight, to fight for my reputation and everything that I believe and everything that I said before,” said Dos Santos to Fernanda Prates and John Morgan for MMAjunkie. “Because I was loud, always supporting USADA, and then everything was happening against me. (I’d never seen) myself going through something like that. But it was happening, and I had to deal with that. It was a very bad moment of my career, of my life.”
“Of course I’m afraid now. Every time they get in my house, I’m nervous. Because I don’t know. I wasn’t doing anything wrong before. There’s nothing to learn. They asked me, ‘What have you learned from that?’ Nothing. I was doing everything right. I was doing everything the best I could.
“I don’t take any type of drug. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t smoke. I don’t do anything like this. They say I’m a boring guy, but I’m a very happy guy, actually.”
“I love this sport. I love who I am. To be here, to be Junior Dos Santos, for me – I can’t see myself doing anything else right now. I’m 34 years old, young.”