IN A SHOCKING TURN of events, Bharat Kandare, the first Indian-born Mixed Martial Artists to fight for the UFC, has failed a drug test.
The test was conducted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the agency contracted by the UFC to conduct tests on all their athletes.
The flagged test found the presence of Boldenone undecylenate in Bharat's system. The substance in question is an androgen and anabolic steroid, and it is an illegal substance for athletes to take.
Bharat Kandare, in a statement, said that the substance entered his system when one of the doctors in his hometown of Nagpur, Maharashtra gave him a medicine to help him with his recovery from his ACL injury, that contained it. Speaking to TFG about it, he said,
"He probably gave it to me without knowing that I am an athlete. That was a mistake on my part, I should have let him know that I am an active athlete and part of the USADA drug testing pool. Even the people at USADA agreed that it's a possible explanation for what happened. I have learned a very important lesson, and paid a heavy price for it."
The heavy price he referred to is a two years' suspension, which will extensively delay his return to the Octagon; until November 2020, to be exact.
Bharat has not fought since his loss to Song Yadong in November 2017.
Here's the full statement that he has released regarding the matter:
"To all my Fans, Wellwishers and Countrymen,
I have been quiet and kept a low profile as I was extremely dejected and disappointed a t the recent chain of events.
As most of you know, my last USADA test has been a failure and a substance called boldenone has been found in my system.
I have been a clean athlete throughout my career and have preached the harmful effects of PED’s. I honestly do not even know the source of the boldenone and how it entered my system. From the conversation with my team, coaches, UFC and USADA, it is clear that post my acl injury in Singapore, when I was recuperating in my hometown, I had 4-5 doctors visit me and suggest various medication for faster recovery. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind for multiple reasons, I went with the flow, didn’t question what was being given to me, and failed my USADA drug test.
However, there are plenty of positives in this. I am glad a lot of fighters have been calling me to inquire about PED’s and why not to take them, the entire USADA processes etc.
I guess someone had to fall for others to learn and god chose me.
To all those who are thinking that I lost even after taking steroids or why the UFC won’t let me fight in America because of the strict drug laws or my photo’s with Jon Jones, I request you not to make a mockery of the system or the situation. I have already been tested 4 times by the USADA since I have signed with the UFC and only failed my last one. My test was done in July 2018 well as my last fight was November 2017. You can write to my team on firstname.lastname@example.org for any clarifications if required.
I accept my mistake for not checking the medication that was going in my system. My team is still looking at options to speak to the USADA and check on a shorter sentence.
For all those who are looking to compete in international organizations such as the UFC, please please please be serious about your training, diet and sleep. Nothing beats hard work. Treat it like your job. Give it your best. God bless."
News of the failed test was not announced by USADA, who have recently implemented a new policy of not making the announcements themselves, but instead allowing the athletes and promotions to reveal the information from their side. The agency believes this will help contain the athletes from the major reputational harm that result from such incidents.
Bharat believes he will return to the Octagon stronger than ever following this suspension,
"I am trying to take this setback and turn it into something positive. The extra time off will allow me to fully heal, then have a full-lenght fight camp before my next fight."
Bharat's debut fight in UFC came on a short notice, and he hopes to train at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy ahead of his next fight.