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Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos Will Serve One-Year Suspension After Appeal Denied

Former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos will not be allowed inside a cage anytime soon, as her appeal for a positive drug test has been denied by the California State Athletic Commission.

Following a win over Hiroko Yamanaka last year, Santos tested positive for an anabolic steroid. She was stripped of her title and fined, with the victory changed to a no-contest.

Cyborg’s attorney, Bob Bartlett, claimed at the hearing that the positive test was caused by a weight-loss supplement given to her by one of her coaches. But rather than fight the test result like others have done in the past, Santos admitted she “made a mistake” and asked for leniency. Chairman John Frierson felt her admission was enough to warrant a reduced suspension, however he was out voted by the other commissioners and the one-year suspension was upheld.

Dr. VanBuren Ross summed up why the majority voted against a shortened suspension.

“I have to point out that the use of performance enhancing medications or drugs in this sport is unacceptable and dangerous,” said Dr. Lemons. “It’s one of the most dangerous things we can allow, that we see athletes doing. Intentionally or unintentionally, the opponent was put in undue danger at that match. My recommendation is not to reduce the penalty.”

Santos later posted a message on her Facebook page, offering thanks to those that continue to support her.

I want to thank all my fans, friends, coaches, Legal Counsel, sponsors, who are with me. Unfortunately we could not reduce my penalty. I’m sad…But after a storm in the morning see the sun shine. Nothing like a day after another day…Soon will come back better than ever I promise. Thank my God always keep praising You.

Santos can seek her fight license one year to the date of her fight with Yamanaka, which took place on December 17.

With “Cyborg” gone from women’s MMA, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate have helped fill the void. However, having someone back like her, despite the positive test, can only enhance the division and help push it to another level.

On another note, the CSAC also passed an amendment at today’s meeting that would allow the California commission to issue therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone, marijuana and other banned substances. The CSAC has issued TUE’s in the past — Dan Henderson received a TUE for TRT at UFC 139 — however the amendment makes the process more clear. The amendment will still have to be adopted into state law before it can go into effect.

Photo credit: Tracy Lee/

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