UFC headliner Ali Bagautinov: Report of '12 failed drug test 'doesn't have any foundation'
JUN 02, 2014 6:44p ET
An upcoming UFC headliner is denying a report that surfaced last week saying that he had failed a drug test and was suspended from the International Sambo Federation in his native Russia.
"If you don't pass these tests and something happens, you are going to be disqualified," Bagautinov said. "How come I participated in Russian federation fights and I was not disqualified? I guess it speaks for itself."
The report will have no affect on Bagautinov's standing in the UFC or his flyweight title fight against Demetrious Johnson at UFC 174 on June 14 in Vancouver, especially since it appears the alleged test happened in 2012. According to MMABoxing.ru, Bagautinov tested positive for methylhexanemine, a dietary supplement once used in nasal sprays that is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
UFC president Dana White said before UFC Fight Night in Berlin that the information "wasn't important." Bagautinov was reportedly banned from the International Sambo Federation for two years, ending in November 2014, and forced to give back any awards or grants he might have received during FIFA World Sambo 2012.
“I guess someone wanted to knock me off and upset me and that's why they decided to come up with some BS and something that doesn’t have any foundation.”
"I guess someone wanted to knock me off and upset me and that's why they decided to come up with some BS and something that doesn’t have any foundation," Bagautinov said.
The 28-year-old had considerably less to say about a rumored recent altercation with Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA training partner Rustam Khabilov, a fellow native of Dagestan. Through a UFC public relations official, Bagautinov declined comment. He did say he continues to train at Jackson's gym in Albuquerque and is happy there.
"Everything is fine here," Bagautinov said. "I'm being taken very good care of."
He said he splits time between New Mexico and Moscow and is taking English classes to better connect with UFC fans. While some Dagestanis do not like to be referred to as Russian or from Russian, Bagautinov has no problem with that distinction.
"I actually do not even think about that," he said. "I'd be very proud for people here to call me Russian."
What they could be calling him in two weeks is champion. Johnson has won five straight fights and is regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. But Bagautinov has won 11 in a row dating back to his time in Russia and has a very effective sambo base with knockout power. There's a reason why his nickname is "Puncher King."
Bagautinov is a +350 underdog, per 5Dimes, but he believes he can rise to the occasion.
"This is the greatest event of my life," Bagautinov said. "I'm doing my best. I'm putting every bit of me into training and preparation for this."