When it rains for Dagestani flyweight Ali Bagautinov, it pours.
According to a statement from the British Columbia Athletic Commission's Dave Maedel, the UFC flyweight title contender failed an out-of-competition drug test on June 2, 2014, which was flagged for erythropoietin.
All competitors’ test results complied with World Anti-Doping Agency Standards subscribed to by the BC athletic commissioner, as well as our anti-doping policies. In addition to the June 14 tests, Mr. Ali Bagautinov, one of the two flyweight title fighters, was tested out of competition on June 2, 2014. Results received by this office from the June 2 tests on Mr. Bagautinov were positive for erythropoietin, or EPO, a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. These results were not available prior to the UFC 174 event due to lab processing times.
You can check out the full statement here, via Combat Sports Law.
Erythropoietin is a hormone that controls red blood cell production. EPO can artificially enhance a fighter's stamina and strength by increasing the blood's red blood cell content (commonly called "blood doping"), but it carries serious side effects, including increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
The drug is most commonly associated with endurance sports, most notably cycling, and has been linked to disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Additionally, former UFC light heavyweight and middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen failed a drug test last month for EPO as well as human growth hormone (HGH).
Bagautinov faced off with UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 174. Johnson dominated Bagautinov, controlling the action while outwrestling and outstriking the challenger, earning a lopsided decision win.
The news is surprising but not entirely unforeseen, with a report last month from Russian website MMABoxing.ru (h/t Fox Sports) stating that Bagautinov may have failed a drug test and been suspended from the International Sambo Federation.
Either way, the BCAC has issued a 12-month suspension for Bagautinov. Stick with Bleacher Report as news continues to break.
The UFC has released a statement regarding Bagautinov's drug test failure, saying the following (h/t MMAWeekly.com):
UFC 174 competitor Ali Bagautinov has been suspended by the British Columbia Athletic Commission for testing positive for erythropoietin (EPO). He was also informed that his positive test violated the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC. The UFC has a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants or masking agents by our athletes. Bagautinov will serve a one-year suspension and must pass a drug test at the conclusion of his suspension before receiving clearance to compete in the UFC again.
Bagautinov's suspension is a hard hit for the UFC's flyweight division, which also lost John Dodson due to injury.