Nicco Montano Opens Up About USADA Suspension

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Nicco Montano
Image Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Controversy aside, Nicco Montano will forever be recorded as the UFC’s first ever women’s flyweight champion. The asterisk next to that fact is from Montano being unable to defend her championship due to injury and, in the case of her most recent booking against Valentina Shevchenko last September, severe weight-cutting issues. After being stripped, Nicco Montano experienced first hand the proverb, “When it rains, it pours” when she was then flagged by USADA for ostarine, a banned substance. In a recent interview, the former flyweight champion opened up about the harrowing experience:

“When I heard that I had tested positive for ostarine I was like I have no idea how that would be possible,” Montano told MMAFighting. “All I take is Garden of Life supplements, Onnit supplements and they’re all NSF approved. I was just kind of dumbfounded because I knew I was doing everything right.

“So when it happened, I had no idea what happened and people were asking questions and I really didn’t know what happened.”

The range of emotions soon went from confusion to frustration, Montano recalls:

“We came down to dissecting what could have happened and possible sharing of shaker bottles may have been it,” Montano revealed. “There’s so many things that could have happened because the amount was so tiny, the picograms were so minute, but it was definitely frustrating because I was doing everything was right. All of the supplements I was taking were NSF approved and tested.”

USADA levied a six-month suspension for the violation, with the suspension expiring May 17th. Montano has her next bout booked against Sara McMann at UFC Sacramento in Montano’s UFC bantamweight debut, and Montana is excited to put the trying year of 2018 behind her and get off to a strong, albeit late, start to 2019:

“I’m happy I had the support I do and everybody is learning and growing with USADA that these things do happen. If it happens, it was obviously such a small amount then obviously, I’m not trying to cheat. I’m not trying get one over on USADA.”

“When you get a name, you get a date, you get a place, then it’s set and you have something to look forward to,” Montano said. “You have that face in your mind and you’re grinding everyday to be ready when you’re in front of that person. You’ve got to be ready to go.”

Do you believe Nicco Montano will be able to put 2018 behind her with a victory over Sara McMann in her UFC bantamweight debut at UFC Sacramento?