The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday suspended UFC welterweight Hector Lombard for one year after he tested positive for steroids.
Lombard failed the drug test after his last fight, a win against Josh Burkman at UFC 182 on Jan. 3. The bout was declared a no-contest.
Lombard, 37, a top-10-ranked welterweight, admitted taking the banned substance, but blamed his failed test on pills he was given by a friend.
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"I have never knowingly put a prohibited substance into my body," Lombard told the commission.
Lombard tested positive for the steroid known as Desoxymethyltestosterone.
Lombard spoke to the commission at length, giving a prepared statement in which he apologized profusely while also stating that throughout his MMA career as well as his time as an Olympic judoka, he had never tested positive before.
"I cannot find the proper words to describe how I feel at this moment. I let down the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo (Fertitta), the fans, my family, my sponsors and countless others. I also owe an apology to my opponent, Josh Burkman," Lombard said. "As an athlete, I owe my living by maintaining my body in peak physical condition. I trust those around me and within my inner circle to provide me with the proper guidance and the nutrition to enable me to perform at my best.
"However, I know that I’m ultimately responsible for what I put into my body."
Commissioner Pat Lundvall took Lombard to task for saying he simply took pills the week of the fight given to him by a friend he identified as Canadian Olympian Julie Northrup, a former weightlifter and aspiring fighter.
"I met her through another friend of mine, so we’re not really close, but she told me she used to take that pill for the Olympic games. It was giving her a good feeling and stuff like that and they was all-natural," said Lombard, who spoke to the commission over the phone.
"I trusted in a person I should not trust and I messed up."
Lundvall was unrelenting in her questioning of Lombard. In the end, Lundvall clearly didn’t buy his statement that he took the pills without knowing they contained a banned substance.
"One of the things I do not find credible is the fact that this athlete did not know that in the bottle of pills he brought with him to Las Vegas there was something prohibitive about them," Lundvall said.
The commission quickly moved into deliberation, where it agreed on a one-year suspension for Lombard, retroactive to the date of the fight on Jan. 3, as well as fining him his full $53,000 win bonus and one-third of his fight purse, for a total of about $69,000.
At one point during the hearing, Lombard asked for leniency: "Please give me a second chance, please."
The commission also stipulated that Lombard must submit a clean sample prior to his next bout in Nevada to receive a fight license.