Top-ranked women’s fighter: ‘There is no excuse’
A day after being handed a 1-year suspension and $2,500 fine from the California State Athletic Commission, as well as facing the likely removal of her Strikeforce women's 145-pound title by Zuffa, Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos issued an apology for failing a drug test.
In the statement, Santos accepted responsibility for failing the test, in which she tested positive for stanozolol, a type of anabolic steroid, and said she used a dietary supplement that she didn't clear with her doctor. Santos' positive test came after her 16-second TKO win over Hiroko Yamanaka last month in San Diego. The fight was Santos' first in just under 18 months, but the bout now has been overturned from a win for Santos to a no contest.
"I would like to sincerely apologize to StrikeForce, the Zuffa organization, Hioko Yamanaka and my fans for my failed drug test," Santos said in the statement, which was issued on her Facebook page. " I am ultimately responsible for everything I put in my body, and at the end of the day, there is no excuse for having a prohibited substance in my system. I do not condone the use of any performance enhancing drugs by myself or any other professional athlete, and willingly accept the penalties and fines that have been handed down to me by the California State Athletic Commission and those of the StrikeForce/Zuffa organization."
Santos can appeal her suspension and fine with the CSAC in the hopes of receiving a lesser penalty. The admission of responsibility in her statement may help that cause with the CSAC. But on Friday, Zuffa president Dana White told ESPN 1100 in Las Vegas Santos will be stripped of her 145-pound title – and that leaves Strikeforce's women's featherweight division in a world of hurt.
" While I was preparing myself for my last fight I was having a difficult time cutting weight and used a dietary supplement that I was assured was safe and not prohibited from use in sports competition," Santos continued in her statement. "It was never my intention to obtain an unfair advantage over Hiroko, mislead StrikeForce, the Commission or my fans. I train harder than any fighter in MMA and do not need drugs to win in the cage, and I have proven this time and time again! My only mistake is not verifying the diet aid with my doctor beforehand, and understanding that it was not approved for use in the ring. Unfortunately in the end I suffer the consequences and must accept the responsibility for my actions. I will do everything I can to show my fans that I can still compete at the professional level without the use of any prohibited substances, and ask God's forgiveness for my mistake."
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker issued a statement Friday regarding Santos' positive test:
"Strikeforce has not seen the test results regarding Ms. Santos," Coker said. "However, we have a consistent and strong stance against any use of performance-enhancing drugs. We also have a long history of supporting effective drug testing of athletes by authorized regulatory bodies. Therefore, we will closely monitor the matter and will work with the California State Athletic Commission regarding any information we may be asked to provide. We also recognize that Ms. Santos has administrative process rights under California law and we hope that she is not prejudged before she has the opportunity to exercise such rights."
Santos (10-1, 1 NC, 4-0, 1 NC Strikeforce) won her 11th straight fight when she beat Yamanaka. She won the Strikeforce women's 145-pound belt against Gina Carano in August 2009 and successfully defended the belt twice in 2010 against Marloes Coenen and Jan Finney.