Several flaws with the UFC's testing process were uncovered.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship middle weight division fighter Cung Le was suspended for one year when the organization discovered a sample he submitted in China this August revealed excessive levels of human growth hormone.
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The UFC announced on Tuesday that his suspension has been rescinded -- allowing the fighter to return to the octagon to fight once more.
“I haven’t read everything yet,” Le said by telephone from his San Jose home. “My manager was taking care of this. ... I want to make sure it’s true.”
Le was initially found to have failed the test this August. After an internal investigation by the UFC several flaws with the UFC's testing process were uncovered in the ensuing days, chief among them the fact that the testing facility employed by the UFC, the Hong Kong Functional Medical Testing Center, was found to not be a lab approved and operated under the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
In a statement Tuesday, the UFC said: “Following the announcement of Le’s suspension, UFC officials have been provided with medical advice regarding the elevated total HGH present in Le’s system. In accordance with such medical advice, UFC has determined that Le’s elevated total HGH by itself does not prove that he took performance-enhancing drugs before the August 23rd bout. As a result, UFC has informed Le that his suspension is rescinded.”
Le spoke with the L.A. Times earlier this month about his situation and what led up to the events that had the UFC asking for him to submit to a drug test. Le stated that it was through 18-months of hard training that gave him his body, not performance enhancing drugs.
“I’d been grumpy and moody, but every time I’d look in the mirror I’d see results,” Le said. “I did this crazy cardio, was in great shape. Then a professional photographer takes this picture of me in perfect lighting and I was ripped, I was so proud. It got posted, I reposted it, then Michael Bisping says, ‘Oh, Cung’s on something,’ and comes out asking for testing and (UFC President) Dana says OK.”
The UFC announced in August that it was in negotiations with testing agencies such as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to establish a more unilateral policy.
Le (9-3) planned to appeal the UFC's one-year suspension, but with Tuesday's decision reinstate the fighter it is no longer necessary.