UFC heavyweight Raphael Pessoa suspended 2 years by USADA for second doping violation

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Brazilian heavyweight Raphael Pessoa has accepted a two-year suspension handed down by the United States Anti-Doping Agency following a second violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy.

USADA officials announced the sanction on Monday.

There were actually three separate violations “involving his use and/or attempted use of a prohibited substance, positive tests for that substance, and evasion of sample collection” that were combined into a single sanction as noted.

“Pessoa Nunes, 32, tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and its metabolites chlorothiazide and 4-amino-6-chloro-1,3-benzenedisulfonamide (ACB) as the result of urine samples collected out-of-competition on February 9, 2021, February 15, 2021, February 16, 2021, and March 4, 2021,” USADA officials wrote in a statement. “HCTZ is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List. Because Pessoa Nunes was not yet notified of the positive tests until after all four samples were collected, they were treated as a single second violation.

“The athlete also evaded sample collection on January 25, 2021 and January 28, 2021. Evading sample collection, or refusing or failing to submit to sample collection, without compelling justification is a doping violation under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Pessoa Nunes had not been notified of the evasion violations until after his positive tests were reported. Therefore, the evasion violations were also combined into the single second violation.”

Pessoa had previously served a one-year suspension for the same banned substance that ran until March 4, 2021.

This second suspension was made retroactive to Feb. 9, which was the date that his first positive sample was collected.

That means Pessoa won’t be eligible to compete again until February 2023 once this latest suspension expires.

Pessoa is currently 1-2 in his UFC career with a win over Jeff Hughes and losses to both Tanner Boser and Ciryl Gane with his last fight taking place in July 2020.

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