MMA fighter blames supplement for dirty test results

Yet another athlete blames the dietary supplement industry claiming they are at fault for a failed drug test.

Sandy Almendarez, VP of Content

January 10, 2012

2 Min Read
MMA fighter blames supplement for dirty test results

Loren Israelsen, executive director, United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), recently wrote a Natural Products Insider article on topics to watch in 2012. He said the Olympics are likely to bring focus to adulteration in sports supplements, as he predicted athletes may blame supplements when they test positive for banned substances.

But 2012 didn't wait for the Olympics. About one week into the new year, mixed martial arts Strikeforce fighter Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos blamed a dietary supplement as the source of a steroid found in a urine sample she provided for a Dec. 17 bout.

A statement she posted on her Facebook page, and later added to her website, said she took the unnamed supplement because she was having a difficult time losing the weight needed to fight in the 145-pound match. She said she was assured the dietary supplement was safe and not prohibited from use in sports competition. "My only mistake is not verifying the diet aid with my doctor beforehand, and understanding that it was not approved for use in the ring," she said. "Unfortunately, in the end, I suffer the consequences and must accept the responsibility for my actions."

For Santos, those consequences are a $2,500 fine and a suspension, according to a USA Today article. The fight, which Santos won as a first-round technical knockout, was officially changed to a "no contest."

While the consequences for the dietary supplement industry were not sentenced by a sports comission, they are real, even if industry did not do anything wrong. Santos' accusation is one is a long line of sports figures who have fingered dietary supplements as the cause of dirty test results. Athletes of all types may read the headlines and choose not to take supplements that can benefit their health out of fear that industry is secretly adding banned substances.

To be fair, some companies do adulterate their products for economic gain, but many more don't. I encourage any product manufacturer to get certified under NSF's Certified for Sport® program, even if products aren't directly marketed to athletes.  Instances like Santos' draw attention for the need for third-party seals in this market. The Certified for Sport program was developed in response to concerns of banned substances and is relied upon by several professional sports leaguesincluding the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the (PGA). Products that carry the Certified for Sport seal have been tested and cleared of having more than 165 athletic banned substances.

I find it interesting that Santos didn't name the supplement that allegedly caused her to test positive for the steroid. If the company really did spike its products, it needs to be shamedand regulated. If they didn't, well, she may have more explaining to do.

About the Author(s)

Sandy Almendarez

VP of Content, Informa


• Well-known subject matter expert within the health & nutrition industry with more than 15 years’ experience reporting on natural products.

• She cares a lot about how healthy products are made, where their ingredients are sourced and how they affect human health.

• She knows that it’s the people behind the businesses — their motivations, feelings and emotions — drive industry growth, so that’s where she looks for content opportunities.

Sandy Almendarez is VP of Content for SupplySide and an award-winning journalist. She oversees the editorial and content marketing teams for the B2B media brands Natural Products Insider and Food and Beverage Insider, the education programming for the health and nutrition trade shows SupplySide East and SupplySide West, and community engagement across the SupplySide portfolio. She is a seasoned content strategist with a passion for health, good nutrition, sustainability and inclusion. With over 15 years of experience in the health and nutrition industry, Sandy brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as a content-focused business leader. With specialization in topics ranging from product development to content engagement, creative marketing and c-suite decision making, her work is known for its engaging style and its relevance for business leaders in the health and nutrition industry.

In her free time, Sandy loves running, drinking hot tea and watching her two kids grow up. She brews her own “Sandbucha” homemade kombucha; she’s happy to share if you’re ever in Phoenix!


Speaker credentials

Resides in

  • Phoenix, AZ


  • Arizona State University


Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like