Photo suspicions confirmed: UFC’s Cung Le used human growth hormone

Middleweight fighter Cung Le of the Ultimate Fighting Championship has tested positive for an excessive level of human growth hormone and been slapped with a nine-month suspension, the organization announced.

The positive sample was given following Le’s Aug. 23 fourth-round technical knockout loss in Macao, China, to England’s Michael Bisping.

“The UFC has a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance-enhancing drugs … by our athletes,” the UFC wrote in a prepared statement. “Le will serve a nine-month suspension and, at its conclusion, will need to pass a drug test before competing in the UFC again.”

Yahoo! Sports reported that Le himself generated suspicion by posting a photo on his Instagram account showing off a new ripped physique, prompting Bisping to push for comprehensive blood and urine testing.

After the photo’s release, Le, 42, of San Jose, told MMA Junkie’s John Morgan, “Literally, I just came off the scale and it was a moment -- 'I'm so light.’ I gave it a flex and someone caught it in perfect lighting. If I would look like that all the time, I would be happy, but I don't. It was just because of that moment. Everyone can talk all they want."

The former Strikeforce middleweight champion fought Bisping on the heels of two impressive 2012 victories, a decision over veteran Patrick Cote and a knockout-of-the-night triumph over former middleweight champion Rich Franklin, also in Macao, which won him a coaching role on “The Ultimate Fighter: China.”