Prior to his return from ban, Sullivan flagged for potential USADA violation
January 27, 2017
UFC lightweight George Sullivan became the first fighter to potentially become a two-time offender of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. He was flagged for a potential banned substance from an out-of-competition test on January 14, 2017.
At the time, Sullivan was serving a one-year ban due to declaring he took a prohibited substance prior to his fight at UFC on Fox 20 in July, 2016. He was given a provisional suspension. He professed his innocence in a Facebook post. Prior to his test of January 14th, he had never tested positive for a banned substance.
In another Facebook post, he stated that he was taking a male fertility drug and that was the reason for the flagged test. Sullivan claims that he is having his doctor provide the necessary information to USADA.
A portion of the UFC’s statement regarding Sullivan reads:
Sullivan is currently serving a one year suspension under the UFC Anti-Doping Program, for his use of a product containing the prohibited substance Insulin Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1). Sullivan was due to end his current suspension on January 31, 2017, and compete on the UFC 208 card in Brooklyn, New York, against Randy Brown. However, USADA has provisionally suspended Sullivan based on the new potential anti-doping violation, and the UFC has removed Sullivan from the UFC 208 card. The UFC is currently seeking a replacement to face Randy Brown.
Bad timing for Sullivan since he was due to get off of his one year ban and was scheduled to fight. This would be the second time that he’s prepared for a fight and then been pulled. Dependent on the prohibited substance, Sullivan’s transparency could mitigate some time from any suspension he may serve from this new finding. Regardless of what substance it may be, I don’t foresee USADA allowing this test to pass without another suspension. The question is whether this second suspension would carry a longer time away from the octagon.