At a meeting held today in Sacramento, Calif., the California State Athletic Commission voted to uphold a yearlong suspension and fine of Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos.
In an appeal before the commission, Santos and her lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied to get the suspension reduced to six months. The fighter had previously paid the fine.
Santos tested positive for stanozolol metabolites following a Dec. 17 title defense against Hiroko Yamanaka at "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal."
During the meeting, Santos took responsibility for the positive test in a statement read to the commission.
"I made a mistake," Santos said. "I do not condone the use of performance enhancing drugs in MMA."
The statement played favorably with commissioner John Frierson, who applauded the fighter for appearing before the commission and introduced a motion to have the suspension reduced to six months.
"At least she came before us and fell on the sword," he said.
But that proposed clemency was not echoed by commissioners VanBuren Lemons and Gene Hernandez, who believed Santos' admission should not excuse the fact that she took banned substances. A motion to uphold the ruling was subsequently introduced.
"Intentionally or unintentionally, the opponent was put in undue danger at that match," Lemons said.
Prior to the vote, Santos' lawyer, Bob Bartlett, explained that the substance that caused the positive test was given to her by a coach as a weight-loss aid, a claim she first made in a statement released following the positive test.
Bartlett said Santos was under consideration for a fight in late June or early July, presumably in Strikeforce, and that a yearlong suspension would be devastating to the 26-year-old fighter.
Ultimately, though, the suspension was quickly enforced after a motion to uphold it.
Santos (10-1 MMA, 3-0 SF) picked up her 11th straight win (and fifth straight in Strikeforce) with the 16-second knockout of Yamanaka, which came at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The bout, which marked a third straight title defense, served as the night's Showtime-televised co-headliner and was Santos' first bout in Strikeforce in 18 months following a contract dispute. As Santos has torn through competition (with nine knockouts in 11 career wins), she's often been dogged by steroid speculation, though she never previously failed a test.
Santos, who's widely regarded as the sport's top female fighter, earned a disclosed payday of $66,000 for the Dec. 17 fight.
CSAC denies Cris 'Cyborg' Santos, yearlong suspension stands