Brazilian heavyweight Geronimo dos Santos won’t be able to make his Octagon debut at UFC 153 this Saturday after a pre-fight drug test forced him off the card. According to dos Santos’ manager Alex Davis, dos Santos tested positive for Hepatitis B last week during a routine pre-fight blood test administered by the UFC who tested all the fighters on the card since Brazil doesn’t have an athletic commission.
The news was first reported by Guilherme Cruz of Tatame.com. Marc Ratner, the UFC’s VP of regulatory affairs, confirmed it on Thursday.
As reported by MMAFighting’s Mike Chiapetta, PubMed Health said Hepatitis B is caused by irritation and swelling of the liver due to infection. Davis said dos Santos will need to undergo chemotherapy to rid himself of the disease, but since the treatment is costly, dos Santos doesn’t know when he can begin treatments. Therefore, dos Santos’ UFC career has been put on hold as a result.
“The contract is going to have to be voided because he just can’t fight,” Davis said, “but [UFC matchmaker] Joe [Silva] told me [Thursday] that if he does the chemotherapy and has a negative viral count, then he’ll be back.”
Dos Santos’ manager believes dos Santos contracted the disease in a fight in Brazil as local fight promotions do not drug test. Chiapetta’s report said dos Santos tested positive for Hepatitis B prior to his July 2010 fight against Josh Barnett in Australia, but since the disease was deemed inactive, he was cleared to fight.
The news was absolutely devastating for dos Santos who cried upon finding out. He comes from a simple background and the UFC fight was obviously going to be the pinnacle of his achievements.
Gabriel Gonzaga, who was supposed to fight dos Santos at UFC 153, will remain on standby for Saturday as a late replacement in case something should happen to either Dave Herman or “Minotauro” Nogueira before their bout on Saturday night in Brazil’s HSBC Arena.