USADA: Felipe Pena accepts one-year suspension and loses gold medal after testing positive for testosterone at the 2014 Worlds

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Felipe Pena at the 2014 Worlds. Photo: Ivan Trindade

Felipe Pena at the 2014 Worlds. Photo: Ivan Trindade

The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced this Tuesday, May 26, that Felipe “Preguiça”Pena (Gracie Barra) accepted an one-year suspension from competition after testing positive for testosterone after the 2014 Worlds.

The urine sample was collected on June 1st, 2014, the day of the Worlds finals when Pena defeated André Galvão for the heavyweight title.

Due to Pena’s cooperation with the USADA, his sanction was reduced from the usual two-year suspension.

Pena explained to the agency that he had used a testosterone cream provided by a healthcare provider.

The suspension started on June 1st, 2014 and Pena also had to forfeit all his results on IBJJF events as well as events of organizations who signed the USADA code.

With that, the adult male black belt heavyweight division of the 2014 Worlds is left without a champion.

At that time, Pena’s victory over Galvão secured Alliance its ninth title in the adult male division of the Worlds.

Pena released a statement on the issue:

“At a certain point before the World Championships last year, I was given some advise from a doctor in Belo Horizonte, the city where I live and teach. This person was also a student of mine, a close personal friend, and someone that I trusted deeply. This doctor performed a series of tests, and, after reviewing the results, gave me a topical cream that contained testosterone. I made it absolutely clear that I did not want to take anything that was against the rules. I was told that this was a normal medication, frequently prescribed, and that I would not be violating any rules. Unfortunately, to my great disappointment, this turned out not to be the case. Thankfully, I have been able to prove, through messages and conversation records, that I was following a doctor’s instructions—doing something which I was lead to believe was permissible—and therefore unknowingly broke the rules. My suspension has subsequently been reduced, and will end shortly after this year’s World Championships. I want to be clear: I have never taken any anabolic, or received injections of any kind. I have always been completely against doing so, and I have always enjoyed competing in weight categories above my natural weight, in order to prove my technique against competitors bigger and stronger than myself. During the course of our lives, certain things happen that are temporarily discouraging, but which prove to be for the greater good in the end. Much can be learned during difficult times, and I believe this will ultimately make me a stronger and better person. I have to admit I was stupid and naive in this matter, and learn from my mistake. I sincerely apologize to all my fans, and to anyone and everyone who loves and follows my work.”

With Pena, three athletes have tested positive for prohibited substances since the IBJJF started to have anti-doping testing at the Worlds and Pan.

Gabi Garcia ( Alliance) and Braulio Estima (Gracie Barra) are the other two athletes, with different outcomes.

Gabi was found not-at-fault for the presence of clomiphene and only had to forfeit her results at the 2013 Worlds, suffering no suspension.

Braulio was suspended for two years for the presence of Methylhexaneamine and also had to forfeit his results at the 2014 Worlds.

Read the release posted on the USADA website:

USADA announced today that Felipe Pena, of Vila Castela, Nova Lima – MG, Brazil, an athlete in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, has tested positive for a prohibited substance and accepted a one-year sanction for his doping offense.

Pena, 23, tested positive for testosterone, which was confirmed by CIR (GC/C/IRMS) analysis, as a result of an in-competition urine sample he provided on June 1, 2014, at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (“IBJJF”) World Jiu-Jitsu Championships held in Long Beach, Calif. Although the IBJJF is not a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code (the “Code”), USADA was contracted by IBJJF to conduct testing for the event and collected Pena’s sample in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency International Standard for Testing. Anabolic Agents are prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing, which has adopted the Code and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List. IBJJF has agreed to impose the sanction.

After a thorough review of the case, USADA accepted Pena’s explanation that his positive test was caused by his use of a testosterone cream provided to him by a healthcare provider. Pena also provided substantial assistance as outlined in the Code. For providing substantial assistance to USADA, Pena was eligible for a reduction of the otherwise applicable two-year sanction under the Code.

After considering all the relevant circumstances, including Pena’s substantial assistance, USADA determined that a one-year period of ineligibility was the appropriate outcome in this case. Pena’s sanction began on June 1, 2014, the day the sample was collected. In addition, Pena has been disqualified from all competitive results achieved in competitions sanctioned by the IBJJF or any Code signatory on and subsequent to May 31, 2014, the date of his first match at the 2014 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (, conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation. 

USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.

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