[Cape Town, South Africa] It's always an unfortunate situation when athletes get caught using banned substances. It's bad for the fighter, the sport and the promotion. Most of the time the fighters claim they were not aware that the supplements they were using contained banned substances. Same is the case with EFC World Wide Bantamweight Champion, Demarte "The Wolf" Pena.

Pena made a statement on Facebook stating that he was not aware that the supplements he was taking was contaminated and also provided proof to support this statement. He has since been suspended, attended a hearing and has been reinstated to return to the hex. Here's his social media announcement.

Statement made by EFC World Wide Bantamweight Champion, Demarte Pena

"It is unfortunate but I have been alerted to incorrect rumours circulating about me as the EFC Worldwide Bantamweight Champion; I believe it is necessary to correct these rumours by providing the correct, relevant facts.

I fell victim to contamination of two approved sports supplements, which I used before my last title defence in November 2016. The supplements in question are distributed by reputable and well known international supplement brands, and are not prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) or the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS).

Before taking these supplements, I took advice from professionals and persons with experience regarding sports supplementation and satisfied myself (through internet searches and checking the product labels and package inserts) that the supplements did not contain any prohibited substances. I took these supplements and disclosed this fact to SAIDS.

I have always followed the rules of competition and live a healthy lifestyle. I have been tested throughout my MMA career, on at least nine occasions (both in- and out of fight camp) and the results have always shown that I do not violate any rules pertaining to supplement use. However, test analyses after my last fight indicated that I had consumed a prohibited substance. Needless to say, the results came as a massive shock to me.

I sent various supplements to be tested by the foremost South African testing laboratory, and the results confirmed that two of the supplements were in fact contaminated with a prohibited substance which was not indicated on the product labels.

I had been provisionally suspended from participating in MMA since my results came out on 15 February 2017, and I attended a hearing before an Independent Hearing Panel on 25 May 2017. At this hearing, I answered to the charges presented by SAIDS representatives and presented my evidence, including the scientific proof of contamination of the supplements to the Independent Panel.

The Independent Panel concluded that I had no intention to cheat and that I was not negligent or at fault in consuming the contaminated supplements (contaminated without my knowledge). The Independent Panel reprimanded me (the minimum permissible sanction in terms of the rules), and I was informed that there would be no further period of ineligibility; I could return to MMA immediately.

The Independent Panel also found that the result of the previous fight (EFC 55) must be vacated, which to me means that the result becomes a “No Contest” and so my “Win” and likewise Sayed’s “Loss” are withdrawn.

I am obviously upset about the recent events and the contamination which has caused this blemish on my otherwise perfect record, but I fully accept the situation and result and fully support the anti-doping rules and principles and the fair-play initiatives administered by SAIDS.

If I may offer advice from my nightmare situation, it would be to be very careful when using supplements – satisfy yourself that they are clean and, if possible, verify that they have been tested; do not just trust the label. Clearly, contamination happens, but through education and awareness you can minimise the risk of being a victim too.

I am truly grateful that I can return and compete in MMA and look forward to the next challenge.

I wish to thank my wife and my family for standing by me every step of the way, and I want to thank my fans for always supporting me and believing in me – I will bounce back from this.

I also wish to thank my brothers at Fight Fit Militia, EFC Worldwide and my sponsors who have stood with me through this difficult episode. Lastly, I want to thank my legal team, Estée Maman and Anthonie Jansen van Vuuren for their professional assistance and representation."

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