Mir’s TUE request highlight conflict between USADA and state commissions

September 13, 2015

Frank Mir’s request for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for Adderall at UFC 191 brings up the inherent problem with the UFC-USADA anti-doping program and the potential conflicts with athletic commissions.

MMA Fighting reports that Frank Mir had requested a therapeutic use exemption in Nevada for his fight against Andre Arlovski.  According to the UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance, Jeff Novitzky, Mir was granted a TUE for Adderall by USADA.  However, according to the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire, the Nevada State Athletic Commission ruled Mir’s TUE was inadmissible.

The story gets muddled as Novitzky indicates misreporting in Mir’s request for a TUE for Adderall.  Novitzky claims that Mir never submitted a TUE through Nevada as at the time Mir was informed he needed to obtain a TUE with the NSAC, it was too late to obtain such an exemption before his fight.  Instead, Novitzky stated that he told Mir to stop using Adderall.  So, the question is whether or not, Mir’s drug test from UFC 191 will come up positive for Adderall.  As of this writing, those drug test results have yet to come back.

Pugmire was told by NSAC executive director Bob Bennett that USADA is “confusing the fighters.”  In addition, Bennett told MMA Fighting, “The Nevada State Athletic Commission is the only body that can authorize a therapeutic use exemption in the state of Nevada.”  So, what about obtaining one from USADA?

Under the new UFC-USADA anti-doping program fighters can apply for TUEs although that information will remain confidential.  Under the USADA policy for TUE application a fighter may apply for a TUE 21 days in advance of use of the prohibited drug if not scheduled to fight, 90 days in advance of use if scheduled to fight more than 90 days in the future or: “[a]s soon as practicable when the Athlete is scheduled to participate in a Bout with less than ninety (90) days advance notice.”

Notably, the first two application scenarios note that the athlete should notify USADA prior to the use of the prohibited medication.  The last scenario provides a case where the fighter is likely already using the prohibited medication and the fight is in less than 90 days.  One might assume the last scenario are for fighters that may be last minute replacements.  The question is what if in the last scenario, USADA denies the TUE.  If you believe that USADA is out-of-competition testing prior to fights, isn’t possible that Mir could be found for use of a prohibited drug.

In the Mir case, the UFC officially announced the fight on August 1st.  Therefore, if you are in the Mir camp knowing he was using (or wanted to use) Adderall, you had the opportunity to apply with the NSAC at that point and with USADA under it’s “as soon as practicable” standard.

According to this document from the NSAC, the TUE request must be done within twenty days “before he or she needs the approval (i.e., a bout).”  Thus, the timeline for Mir’s exemption would mean that he did not think of applying for a TUE with the NSAC inside of 20 days prior to UFC 191.

One might assume Mir made the TUE application with USADA within 20 days of UFC 191.  Novitsky confirms that he was granted an exemption by USADA in the MMA Fighting article.  But, he advised Mir to stop using the prohibited substance once it was discovered he could not obtain a TUE exemption from Nevada.

Payout Perspective:

We have our first controversy with the UFC-USADA anti-doping program and it underscores the tension between athletic commissions and a third party organization like USADA.  Should Mir be culpable for not ensuring he was cleared of an exemption since he did not know the protocol for allowing such an exemption?  The protocol can be confusing considering that if you are in need of a TUE, you must notify USADA and the commission where you are fighting.  But, what happens if you are denied by the commission but allowed by USADA?  Or, the commission grants the TUE but USADA does not?  Both work independent of one another so this is a definite possibility.  In this instance, Novitsky advised Mir to stop taking Adderall immediately.  But, what happens if the fighter does not apply with USADA but with the NSAC?

It’s the commission that will administer any penalty for a drug violation.  But, could a showing that USADA granted a TUE be seen as circumstantial evidence or information which may be considered in determining a penalty, if any.  Based on the TUE protocol for USADA and NSAC, there are conflicting requirements which we see could confuse fighters.  Realistically, just lobbying commissions to follow USADA protocol is not sufficient.  Time will tell if this gets clarified.

UPDATED:  We should add that while USADA has its own penalties for violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policies, the state regulatory body (i.e., commission) would hold a hearing if a fighter were to violate the state drug policy.

14 Responses to “Mir’s TUE request highlight conflict between USADA and state commissions”

  1. BrainSmasher on September 13th, 2015 2:38 PM

    Mir knew what he was doing. The only body with official authority is the state athletic commissions. USADA has no authority. They are only a testing company who will report findings to the UFC who gives their testings weight or credibility. If Mir tests positive for a drug the commission give him a TUE for then I’m sure the UFC would not punish him. USADA is for testing people when the commission is not and finding drugs the commission hasn’t allowed.

    Mir knows who the real authority is and who he should have cleared his drug with. Why he is getting on that drug so close to a fight and can’t wait until after the fight raises a lot of questions imo.

  2. Fight Fan on September 13th, 2015 5:57 PM

    This clown is still wanting his juice huh? Years later same story, Mir is a prime example of what is wrong with the ufc and all the drugs fighters are using.

  3. saldathief on September 13th, 2015 7:01 PM

    ******* give it up and retire wtf, oh wait he has no money from years of being a pro mma fighter!!!

  4. d on September 13th, 2015 9:33 PM

    If you actually bothered to watch that fight, FF, you would have realized there is no way on Earth, Mir was juicing. He looked arguably worse than he ever did in his life. Adderall is not juice.

  5. Fight Fan on September 14th, 2015 7:58 AM

    He should hang it up then, but he’s just looking for a pay check.

  6. d on September 14th, 2015 11:02 AM

    Well, he won his prior two fights by ko, and had he won that fight, he’d probably be only 1 win away from a title fight, so I can see why he’d take it.

    Maybe you should have watched the fight at my local Buffalo Wild Wings- they had the fight and they didn’t have the May-Pac fight there.

  7. Fight Fan on September 14th, 2015 1:51 PM

    No biggie the fight still did 4.4 mil in sales without that BWW.

  8. d on September 14th, 2015 7:28 PM

    Na, those are lies.

  9. Fight Fan on September 14th, 2015 10:26 PM

    you’re the only one disputing it.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/mayweather-pacquiao-pay-per-view-estimates-5-million-buys-2015-5

    Where are your sources at d? just like that Zuffa loan don’t write checks you can’t cash

  10. d on September 15th, 2015 5:36 AM

    I’m sure there are plenty of other people disputing it. The promotion for Mayweather-Pacquaio is also claiming they grossed 500-600m and that Mayweather made 250-300m. Numbers that are literally impossible to be true considering what the ppv providers get from their cut. They have no credibility. These same people have a long track record of lying.

    They won’t tell you this at your local BWW’s.

  11. Fight Fan on September 15th, 2015 8:13 AM

    Can you show me someone else disputing it? It was the biggest PPV ever.

  12. d on September 15th, 2015 3:15 PM

    Can you show me anyone who has access to their books? Floyd Mayweather also said he made 250-300m from a fight that grossed around 300m. Stephen Espinoza, Bob Arum, Floyd Mayweather, and Leonard Ellerbe have all been proven liars on ppv numbers in the past. Get me someone with credibility to validate their claims. You can’t because they inflated the number.

  13. Fight Fan on September 15th, 2015 10:00 PM

    D, every news outlet is reporting it that way. They have the proof behind the buys of various outlets. We’re not talking showtime etc, we’re talking the sat, cable companies etc. The fight was the biggest PPV ever lol and each person paid at least 1OO$ not including the bars that paid thousands.

  14. d on September 16th, 2015 4:12 AM

    Every news outlet involved is reporting a chain article. They are sourcing Floyd Mayweather, Ellerbe, Arum, and the rest of the promotion. There was no independent investigating done. Zero proof.

    Also, each person did not pay at least $100. The sd buy cost for comcast and the satellite cost were $90. Plus, as I noted before, many bars passed on it due to its excessive costs. Bars like Buffalo Wild Wings passed on signing a national contract, instead only a few paid the excessive fees.

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