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Andrea Lee talks USADA rule that scrapped UFC 216 debut, clears air on previously failed drug test


Former Invicta FC flyweight champ and current UFC fighter Andrea Lee has entered the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool, though she’d rather her addition have been less dramatic.

The good news, she told MMAjunkie, is that she can get the whole thing behind her more quickly.

“If this short-notice opportunity hadn’t happened now, and I got the call next year, the same thing probably would’ve happened,” Lee said. “I’d still be in the boat.”

Lee (8-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was scratched from her scheduled debut at UFC 216 against Kalindra Faria (18-5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) when UFC anti-doping partner USADA ruled her out based on a previous suspension for diuretics. Faria will now face Mara Romero Borella(11-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on the pay-per-view main card, which takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Per the UFC’s anti-doping policy, fighters with previous anti-doping violations are required to be available for random testing six months prior to fighting, or two months longer than fighters newly signed to the promotion.

With the clock now running on her period of ineligibility, Lee can fight in April 2018.

“I’ve already started my enrollment papers (with USADA), so they should be coming to test me any day now,” she said.

When she got an offer to fight Faria at UFC 216, the result of an impressive performance at LFA 23 on Sept. 22, Lee said she and her head coach/husband Donny Aaron were more worried about getting in the proper paperwork for the event – medicals, Reebok sizes, and her walkout music.

As far as she knew, she had resolved her case with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which agreed to a nine-month suspension that ran its course this past December. The commission found a pair of diuretics – canrenone and spironolactone – following her submission loss to Sarah D’Alelio at Invicta FC 16 in March 2016.

But as it turned out, there is one more hurdle to pass before Lee officially becomes a UFC fighter.

In the wake of her removal, she’s made it a priority to fill out every requirement of the UFC’s anti-doping program, which includes watching a 25-minute video about anti-doping, taking a quiz, watching four additional videos, and then acclimating to the whereabouts forms that allow the agency to keep track of fighters at all times.

For Lee, it’s a dizzying amount of paperwork to fight in the big show.

“It kind of sucks,” she said. “I have to give them all my information. There was one part where they were talking about an app that’s more like a tracking device, and I was like, ‘I don’t know about that.'”

But if it’s what she needs to go, Lee will happily comply. She feels there are a lot of misconceptions about her positive test and would like to clear the air.

Although she acknowledges the fact that many will never believe any explanation, she said fans have the wrong idea about her. While she admits she took a “fluid pill” to assist her weight cut, she insists she did not take it to cheat.

“Just understand that when I was suspended and tested positive for a substance, the substance was a fluid pill,” Lee said. “It was the use of a diuretic. I was not under the influence of anything else. I’ve never done steroids.

“I’m honestly a clean fighter. I give all my credit to my nutrition and NutraBio, a supplement company, eating well and training hard. But a lot of people are confused. They automatically assume that I was tested and positive and cheating. I wasn’t cheating. That’s not what I was using the fluid pill for. It was for cutting weight, because I was bloated, and I was retaining water, and I was worried that I was going to struggle, and I thought, ‘Why not just use the fluid pill to help me pee?’ That’s one thing I want to clear the air about.”

Lee said she’ll come back stronger from the situation, adding that fans should expect to see an exciting debut in April. Hopefully, the only dramatic thing will be her performance.

“I guess more explaining for an athlete that’s ever been suspended for anything,” Lee said when asked how situations like hers could be avoided in the future. “I don’t know. It’s all new to me. To them, it’s our fault – we should know and everything. I don’t know.

“I’m content with it now. It’s taken me a few days to come down after everything and accept that I’m just going to have to wait. Which is fine – I wasn’t expecting to get a call to fight in the UFC until the very end of this year. So six months isn’t a big deal.”

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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