Pictured: Cris Cyborg (left) and Holly Holm (right) face off at the UFC 219 weigh ins.
By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran
Last year’s momentous UFC 219 headliner: Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm, for the UFC featherweight world title, holds claim to likely being the most tested bout in MMA history under USADA Anti-Doping.
32-year-old Brazilian Cristiane Justino, known as ‘Cyborg’, defended the Women’s 145lb title with an emphatic unanimous decision over the USA’s former bantamweight champion, Holly Holm, 36.
MMAToday.com broke down the most highly tested match-ups of 2017, topped by the Cyborg-Holm collision on December 30 in Las Vegas. Each athlete was reportedly visited by USADA testers on three occasions leading up to the day of the event, in addition to post-fight samples also being collected. Adding to their combined totals, within the 30-month period since the UFC-USADA programme was first introduced, Cyborg and Holm have provided the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with a combined total of 60 test samples (Cyborg 28, Holm 32), based on records from USADA.org.
All samples were clear of violations. In early 2017, Cyborg was granted a retrospective Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) having initially tested positive for the banned diuretic spironolactone. An investigation by USADA concluded that she was prescribed the drug by a doctor as treatment for a legitimate medical condition, suffered due to the effects of weight cutting.
The record testing figures served as vindication for the Brazilian, expressed via Cyborg’s official website: CrisCyborg.com. Widely regarded as the best female competitor in MMA and one of the sport’s outright pound-for-pound standouts, her reputation was tainted in 2011 upon failing a drug test due to use of the banned performance enhancer, stanozolol, and was subsequently suspended from competition for one year and fined $2,500.
“I did a mistake in my career”, she stated, referring to the 2011 incident. “I did, you know. I paid for that. And then I wanted to prove everything [so] I’m the first fighter to at least sign with USADA before the UFC to prove I’m actually clean.”
In 2015 Cyborg made the statement of registering for USADA testing voluntarily, while competing outside of the UFC under the banner of Invicta Fighting Championships.