Recent Ultimate Fighting Championship main-event fighter Cung Le will now have an opportunity to appeal his recent one-year suspension for the positive post-fight test he gave in August revealing elevated levels of human growth hormone.
One of the topics Le, 42, would like to air in the forum is his gnawing concern that he's being made a fall guy by an organization seeking to make a more public display of its fight against doping.
Le earned in excess of $500,000 for his Aug. 23 fourth-round technical-knockout loss to England's Michael Bisping in Macao after starring in "The Ultimate Fighter: China" for the organization.
Now, with two fights remaining on his UFC contract, he said the loss and test result make him feel as if he's a disposable commodity even after Wednesday's announcement by UFC President Dana White that Le can make an unprecedented appeal of his suspension to an arbitrator.
Noted anti-doping expert Don Catlin has told reporters the protocol and handling of Le's test outside of a World Anti-Doping Agency lab should be "ignored."
"The test result was high, but it was sent to a lab that was not WADA approved … and there was one in Beijing," Le said. "Why not send it there? They want to save $500? And use me as an example of them taking [testing] to the next level?
"I wouldn't put it past them."
Le, in documentation reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, was approached by the Nevada-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Assn. in 2012 to participate in rigorous testing with his opponent then, former middleweight champion Rich Franklin. Le told The Times he was personally told by White, "You don't need that [stuff]."
Asked about that situation, a UFC spokesman wrote in an email to The Times, "UFC athletes may always conduct any level of personal, voluntary testing.
"However, the UFC organization does remind athletes that in jurisdictions with athletic commissions or regulatory bodies [like the Nevada State Athletic Commission], the official drug testing, as well as any disciplinary action involving failed tests, will be conducted and overseen by the athletic commission or federation."
Since 2012, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has left the organization citing unhappiness with the organization's drug-testing plan, and some past top-ranked contenders, Stephan Bonnar and Chael Sonnen, have submitted positive samples.
Le insisted in an interview with The Times that his sculpted physique was enhanced by more than 18 months of hard work and diet, not drugs.
"I'd been grumpy and moody, but every time I'd look in the mirror I'd see results," Le said. "I did this crazy cardio, was in great shape. Then a professional photographer takes this picture of me in perfect lighting and I was ripped, I was so proud. It got posted, I reposted it, then Michael Bisping says, 'Oh, Cung's on something,' and comes out asking for testing and Dana says OK.