USADA suspends Brazilian doctor after prescribing prohibited IV used by Paulo Costa

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A Brazilian doctor has been issued a two-year suspension by USADA after violating the UFC’s anti-doping policy in connection with a case involving middleweight contender Paulo Costa.

USADA made the announcement on Monday.

“Dr. Lucas Penchel, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, has accepted a two-year sanction for a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy (UFC ADP) resulting from his complicity in the administration and use of over-limit intravenous (IV) infusions of permitted substances on June 2, 2017 and November 3, 2017 by Carlos Costa and Paulo Costa, respectively,” USADA officials wrote in the statement.

“In 2017, IV infusions and/or injections of more than 50 mL per 6-hour period were prohibited except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions, surgical procedures, or clinical investigations under the UFC ADP. The UFC ADP has since been amended and now prohibits IV infusions and/or injections of more than 100 mL per 12-hour period with the added exception of those determined to be medically justified and within the standard of care by a licensed physician and administered by a licensed medical professional.”

Costa had previously been suspended for six months after it was revealed that he received the IV infusions over the legal limit.

According to the initial report from USADA, Costa had taken a saline solution along with stomach medication after the weigh-ins took place at UFC 212 in Brazil. Costa did the same thing after the weigh-ins at UFC 217 in New York where he received an IV over the legal limits set within the UFC’s anti-doping policy.

Costa told USADA at the time that the IV infusions were to help him recover from his weight cut and that he wasn’t using any prohibited substances.

Along with his older brother Carlos Costa who administered the IV, the to- ranked middleweight contender provided “substantial assistance” to USADA during the course of the investigation that allowed him to receive a reduced sentence down from two years.

According to USADA, Dr. Penchel “recommended and prescribed” the prohibited IV infusions to the UFC fighter, which made him subject to a doping violation on his record.

“Dr. Penchel, like all athlete support personnel, was entrusted to help athletes make safe and informed decisions, but instead, he violated anti-doping rules and his oath to best protect athletes’ health and safety,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in a statement.

Dr. Penchel’s two-year suspension began on March 17, which was the date he accepted the sanctions from USADA. That means he won’t be eligible to work with another UFC athlete until after March 17, 2022.

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