Augusto Mendes suspended, released by UFC, signs with ACB

Promoter attitudes in mixed martial arts can range from PRIDE where no anti-doping tests could be written into a contract, to the UFC which spends millions on comprehensive, random, out-of-competition tests. The vast majority of promotions don’t care.

In March UFC bantamweight Augusto Mendes had an anti-doping test flagged; he was provisionally suspended pending a full investigation, and was pulled from a scheduled fight vs. Merab Dvalishvili at UFC Fight Night 128 on April 21, 2018.

The USADA case has not been resolved, but the UFC has released Mendes, and he has signed with Russia’s Absolute Championship Berkut. He had previously competed for ACB, but only in a grappling event.

Mendes, a former Mundial champion in gi and no-gi, was 1-2 in the UFC at the time of his provisional suspension, but had gone a perfect 5-0 prior. And his two losses were to Cody Garbrandt on short notice and Aljamain Sterling. The win was a split decision over Frankie Saenz at UFC Fight Night 103 on January 15, 2017 that won Fight of the Night. In short, the Arizona based 35-year-old ‘Tanquinho’ was an excellent, tough fighter, and not someone the UFC would want to get rid of.

The UFC released CroCop after he was suspended for telling an anti-doping official he had taken HGH, so the step is not unprecedented. But releasing a fighter under suspension for doping is not a step in the direction of reducing PED usage across the sport.