'Cyborg' drug denial sticks to familiar script

March, 29, 2012
3/29/12
2:14
PM ET
Dundas By Chad Dundas
ESPN.com
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Cris Justino, Marloes CoenenEsther Lin/Forza LLC/Getty ImagesMarloes Coenen, right, wants nothing more than to avenge her loss to Cris Justino.
The unknown persons responsible for encouraging Cristiane Santos to take steroids have been eliminated.

That’s her word: "eliminated."

This according to the former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion herself in a video statement released this week, roughly 10 days before she’ll appeal a one-year suspension for a positive drug test after her Dec. 17 win over Hiroko Yamanaka at an event in San Diego.

As mea culpa videos go, this one is actually pretty good. A genuinely remorseful-sounding Cyborg acknowledges her mistake, says she knows it is her responsibility to monitor the supplements she takes during training and references the hit to her reputation in the wake of the positive test.

Her words are obviously scripted, but don’t come off overly rehearsed. She doesn’t read from a prepared statement; at least, not one we can see. In any case, she speaks for a little less than three minutes and since it’s all in Portuguese with English subtitles, it ultimately might be difficult for non-speakers of that language to gauge her sincerity.
[+] EnlargeCris Santos
Dave Mandel/Sherdog.comCristiane Santos is proving to be more adept at defending herself in the cage than arguing her case.

Even if the video itself is well done though, the content essentially falls back on the same familiar and well-worn tropes we’ve been hearing since Major League Baseball’s steroid scandal put performance enhancing drugs front and center more than a half decade ago.

Santos says she has never knowingly used steroids and points to her track record of passing commission administered drug tests as proof.

Sounds familiar, right?

She blames an unidentified member of her camp for supplying her with a substance “that was supposed to help [her] lose weight” and appears as surprised as everyone else that she came back positive for “steroid metabolites” consistent with stanozolol, a drug linked to some of professional sports’ highest profile PED scandals.

“I have eliminated certain people from my training camp,” Santos says. “I am taking monthly drug tests at the same laboratory that the [California State Athletic Commission] uses to show that I do not take steroids.”

As explanations like this so often do, things take on an unmistakable cloak and dagger vibe. Hard not to, with verbiage like that.

Is Santos being honest? In 2012 it doesn't really matter, as very few people will believe her, no matter what.

The unnamed traitor in Cyborg’s camp now joins Alex Rodriguez’s conniving cousin, Manny Ramirez’s prescription-happy doctor and Barry Bonds’ “flaxseed oil” peddling trainer, Greg Anderson, on the list of people who have allegedly tricked unsuspecting pro athletes into taking performance enhancing drugs.

For years, in fact, we’ve heard wild tales of shadowy, mostly anonymous third parties scoring totally unknown and unrequested “supplements” for their talented friends and family members. Whether consciously or not, the athletes in these situations paint themselves as naive and trusting patsies who simply wash down or inject whatever they’re given without ever thinking to ask what it is or to wonder if there might later be a problem.

Of course, this line of defense leaves only two options: Either the athlete is lying or the athlete is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Just in case it’s the latter -- just in case Santos is telling the truth -- here is a training tip for all you professional athletes out there, from a guy who earns his living pushing keys and making phone calls and who, just a week shy of turning 34, feels like he could really use a Manny Ramirez-style doctor's note right about now: If someone you’re later not willing to name provides you with a mysterious substance they claim will magically cure what ails you, don’t take it.

And if you do take it, don’t bother trying to explain -- or appealing your steroid suspension.

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