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UFC's Costa hit with 6-month suspension for IV

Rising UFC middleweight title contender Paulo Costa was suspended six months for the use of an intravenous infusion (IV) on two separate occasions in 2017, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced Friday.

Costa's suspension is retroactive to Aug. 10, 2018, the date he acknowledged using the IV, meaning he is currently eligible to fight.

Carlos Costa, Paulo's older brother, who administered both infusions, also received a six-month suspension.

According to USADA, Costa received an IV on June 2, 2017, "of permitted substances, including saline solution and a stomach medication of more than 100 mL per 12-hour period after weigh in for UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil." The same occurred after a weigh in for UFC 217 in New York the following November.

In 2017, IV infusions and/or injections of more than 50 milliliters per six-hour period were prohibited. The only exception is if a fighter received it during a hospital admission, surgical procedure or clinical investigation under the UFC anti-doping policy. In 2018, the rule was changed to no more than 100 milliliters per 12-hour period. USADA banned the use of IVs because "they can be used to enhance performance by increasing plasma volume levels."

Both sanctions were reduced based on "substantial assistance" the Costas provided to USADA.

Costa, of Brazil, is undefeated through 12 professional fights. He is coming off a second-round TKO victory against Uriah Hall at UFC 226 in July 2018.