Raphael Pessoa accepts 2-year suspension for prohibited substance use, evasion of collection
Four positive drug tests and two testing evasions have led to the second career drug-testing sanction of UFC heavyweight Raphael Pessoa.
On Monday, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Pessoa (10-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has been suspended for two years as a result of four separate positive tests for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and its metabolites chlorothiazide and 4-amino-6-chloro-1,3-benzenedisulfonamide (ACB). The positives stemmed from out-of-competition urine samples collected Feb. 9, Feb. 15, Feb. 16 and March 4.
HCTZ is defined by USADA as “a specified substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.”
Since Pessoa was not notified of the first positive test until after the third positive test was collected, the positives are treated as a single violation.
Additionally, Pessoa evaded two USADA tests on Jan. 25 and Jan. 28 – another violation of drug-testing protocol. Like the positives, Pessoa was not notified of the first evasion violation until he evaded a second time – so the evasions are treated as a single offense.
“Evading sample collection, or refusing or failing to submit to sample collection, without compelling justification is a doping violation under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy,” according to USADA.
Pessoa, 32, will be eligible to compete Feb. 9, 2023 – two years retroactive to his first positive test in that stretch.
The suspension is not Pessoa’s first for HCTZ. In November 2020, Pessoa was suspended one year retroactive to a March 2020 positive test.
Pessoa has appeared three times in the UFC. His lone UFC victory over Jeff Hughes is bookended by finish losses against Ciryl Gane and Tanner Boser. He most recently competed in July.