However, before the fighter returns to action, a matter with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had to be dealt with first. Sanchez failed an out of competition drug test this past October for accidentally taking contaminated substances.
Sanchez has already served the three month suspension, which began on October 26 of last year and ended in January of this year.
USADA issued the following press release on the situation:
Diego Sanchez Accepts Sanction for Violation of UFC Anti-Doping Policy
USADA announced today that Diego Sanchez, of Albuquerque, N.M., has accepted a three-month sanction for a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy after testing positive for prohibited substances.
Sanchez, 38, tested positive for ostarine and S-23 as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on December 12, 2019. Ostarine and S-23 are non-Specified Substances in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.
During an investigation into the circumstances of the positive test, Sanchez provided containers of products he was using at the time of the test for analysis at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement labels, the analysis revealed that the products contained the selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) for which Sanchez tested positive.
On November 25, 2019, revisions to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy were announced. Under the revised UFC Anti-Doping Policy, if a situation arises where an athlete tests positive and is able to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the cause of the positive test was due to a supplement certified by one of the certifiers in the UFC rules, he or she will not be subject to an anti-doping policy violation and will be permitted to compete after follow-up testing and when there is no performance enhancing benefit in question.
USADA determined that Sanchez’s exposure to these substances began on October 26, 2019, prior to the current UFC Anti-Doping Policy being announced. Although Sanchez was not using a Certified Supplement, he received a reduction to his period of ineligibility because he was able to prove that his positive test was caused by contaminated products and the very low levels detected in the products would not have enhanced his performance.
Under the current and previous version of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, athletes may receive a reduced sanction if they prove their positive test was caused by a contaminated product, but athletes who do not use one of the Certified Supplements designated in the UFC Anti-Doping Policy in light of the clear opportunity and benefit to do so should expect to receive a lengthier sanction. Sanchez’s three-month period of ineligibility began on October 26, 2019, the date he began using the products containing prohibited substances.
USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. In an effort to aid UFC athletes, as well as their support team members, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on the UFC Anti-Doping Program website (https://UFC.USADA.org) regarding the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements, as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.
In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (https://UFC.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, and periodic athlete alerts. Many of the resources available to athletes are provided in multiple languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese.
Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at playclean @usada.org, by phone at 1 877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253), or by mail.