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UFC's Cung Le denies HGH use

Suspended UFC middleweight Cung Le said he was "completely surprised" by his failed drug test last month, enough so that he's questioning the results.

In a statement released by his management team on social media, Le, 42, maintained that he did not take any banned substance leading up to his fight against Michael Bisping on Aug. 23 in Macau, China.

The UFC suspended Le for one year this week, after reporting a fight-night blood test showed excess levels of human growth hormone in his system.

"I was completely surprised at the results of my recent drug test," Le said in the statement. "I was informed by the UFC that I passed my pre and postfight drug test, as well as the majority of the blood tests with the only abnormality being an elevated level of HGH.

"I tested negative for anabolic [steroids], stimulants, diuretics, masking agents and my testosterone levels were within World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) limits a total of three times over two urine tests and a blood test collected both before and after my fight, which is what makes these HGH results so difficult for me to accept as correct.

"This has also caused me to call the testing procedures into question. I have been informed that there are many possible reasons for a level of HGH to exceed what is allowed unknowingly and my doctors are researching those possibilities, which may include a much more serious health concern.

"I have also been informed about the unreliability of the current HGH testing that exists and it's high rate of inaccuracy. I want to reiterate to my fans and the fans of mixed martial arts everywhere that I did not take performance-enhancing drugs or anything that would cause my natural level of HGH to exceed normal levels."

Le (9-3) lost the bout via TKO in the fourth round. The UFC self-regulated the international event, due to the absence of a regulatory body. It was the first time in company history that blood tests were included postfight, in addition to the far more common urine tests.

Testing methods for HGH have been criticized across all athletics for years. The NFL and its union originally agreed to HGH testing in 2011, but players complained about the potential of false positives. A new drug policy agreed upon last month includes HGH testing.

Originally, the UFC announced Le would face a nine-month suspension, but it extended it to 12 months the following day, citing an "error" during its review.

Among Le's chief complaints was an assertion the UFC contracted a non-WADA-approved lab based out of Hong Kong to perform the testing in China.

Prior to the bout, Le's physique had been called into question, as he appeared visibly more muscular than previously in his career. He attributed the change to diet, an injury-free camp and work ethic.

"Cung is extremely disappointed at the results of the test and that the UFC would make such an unprecedented decision to extend his suspension from nine months to 12, when the testing procedures remain unclear," his management, Athletic Management and Representation Group, said.