LOS ANGELES -- The California State Athletic Commission upheld a one-year suspension and $2,500 fine of mixed martial artist Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante on Monday.
Despite the commission's chief inspector, Che Guevara, admitting to using incorrectly dated forms during the collection of Cavalcante's urine, the commission voted unanimously to maintain the suspension and fine. Also, Cavalcante's 33-second victory over Mike Kyle remained overturned as a no contest.
Cavalcante, a 31-year-old former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, tested positive for metabolites of the anabolic steroid stanozolol following a May 19 fight against Kyle in San Jose, Calif.
During the appeal, Cavalcante denied using steroids of any kind.
Represented by attorney Howard Jacobs, Cavalcante appealed based on the chain of custody from the point of urine collection to the time it arrived at the laboratory.
"What we have is a mistake with the paperwork," said Karen Chappelle, the attorney representing the commission. A discrepancy in the date of May 18 or May 19 "no way invalidates the content of the analysis, unless the contention is the urine does not belong to Mr. [Cavalcante]."
Paul Scott, an expert speaking on behalf of the fighter regarding chain of custody, witnessed testing of the "B Sample" at UCLA. He confirmed that he saw no problem with the integrity of the sample, and had no reason to believe the urine tested belonged to someone other than Cavalcante.
The CSAC first attempted to gain a urine sample from the Brazilian fighter several hours after he stepped on the scale on May 18.
Dehydrated from the weight cut, "Feijao" was unable to provide urine adequate enough to split it into two bottles, which would then be shipped off to an accredited laboratory at UCLA. Instead, the commission inspectors allowed Cavalcante to provide prefight and postfight samples on May 19, the first of which turned up positive for stanozolol. The second was clean for drugs of abuse.
Representatives for the commission and Calvancante recounted different versions of the May 18 collection.
Guevara claimed he administered the urinalysis at a Crowne Plaza hotel in San Jose, where he said weigh-ins had taken place. However, weigh-ins occurred at the HP Pavilion, which hosted the Strikeforce event the next evening. Because the sample size was too small to test, Guevara said he followed CSAC protocol and disposed of the urine and the cup that contained it while Cavalcante and his team watched.
Soares claimed CSAC inspector Roy Fahri, not Guevara, administered urine collection on May 18. Both Soares and Cavalcante said they did not witness its disposal.
Guevara reiterated that he personally handled Cavalcante's sample, but confirmed that Fahri was present throughout the collection process and worked as an inspector at the event.
"[CSAC] have to prove that the prohibited substance can only have come from the urine, and when you have all of these big questions at the end of the day, you can't prove it," Jacobs said in his closing argument. "That matters when you're dealing with something as important as someone's license to fight, and license to make a living ... say it does matter and we're not going to suspend in this case -- and you better get your act together."
The commission saw no validity to Jacob's argument and instead focused on the May 19 collection as justification for keeping Cavalcante suspended.
"How do you argue?" Soares said after the vote. "It's like you're arguing against the king. I think it's unethical and doesn't do anybody any justice the way it went down. I think it was totally unfair."
Cavalcante declined to comment.