UFC newcomer notified of potential USADA violation

August 18, 2017

Nick Roehrick was notified of a potential UFC anti-doping violation following an out-of-competition taken on August 8th.  Roehrick made his UFC debut in a light heavyweight loss to Jarod Cannonier at the TUF 25 Finale in July.

Roehrick had taken the fight with Cannonier on short notice.  Prior to that, he fought on the regional circuit.

The UFC provided a statement on the notification from USADA.

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Nick Roehrick of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on August 8, 2017.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Roehnick. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward

Payout Perspective:

The 30-year-old faces a 2 year suspension from the UFC.  It will be interesting to see what happens with Roehrick since he just made his debut but the test occurred a month after his fight.  We will see what the response is and whether he will attempt to appeal.

Frank Mir signs with Bellator

August 15, 2017

Frank Mir has announced that he has signed a deal to fight for Bellator MMA.  The former UFC Heavyweight Champion announced his plans via his podcast.

Mir was issued a two-year suspension by USADA after testing positive for a banned substance.  Mir claims the positive test may have been a result of eating kangaroo meat while in Australia.  He fought Mark Hunt in March 2016 in Australia.

Mir announced his release from the UFC contract on July 9th.

He stated that he signed with Bellator because he did not want an exclusive deal.  He stated that his options came down to the Viacom-owned company and ACB, Absolute Championship Berkut.  He stated that he has a broadcast deal with ACB.

He noted on the podcast that he will be paid more in Bellator than he did in the UFC.  He has a 4 fight deal with Bellator.  He stated that his contract includes a “Right of First Refusal” with Bellator with a “Gentleman’s Agreement” that he would be able to solicit offers and fight with other promotions.

Mir’s last reported payout from a UFC fight was his second-to-last fight at UFC 191 where he made $200,000 in a loss to Andrei Arlovski.

Mir noted that he was unhappy with the Reebok deal and would be able to solicit sponsors again.

Payout Perspective:

Mir is 38 years old and has not looked good in his last couple of fights with the UFC.  But, he still is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion that the company can promote.  Mir’s explanation of not wanting tot be pinned down to an exclusive deal with a promotion probably reflects his concern of not being able to maximize his limited time left in MMA.  The good news, is that he will likely make a fluid transition into broadcasting.  In my opinion, he is one of the better analysts of MMA based on his days in the WEC.  It will be interesting to see how Bellator deals with Mir’s two-year USADA suspension.  Based on his suspension, he would not be able to fight until April 8, 2018.  Will the company allow him to fight prior to this or will they utilize him in more of a promotional role until then?

Povetkin-WOB bring up new information in Wilder Meldonium case

July 5, 2017

The attorneys in the Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin/World of Boxing case are at it again with letters to the court sent late last month.  The parties await a pending Motion for New Trial and/or Motion for JNOV but the attorneys for Povetking and WOB are lobbying the Court to consider newfound information.

As you may recall, at trial in February, a jury took little time in siding with Wilder.  The jury decided that Povetkin had ingested Meldonium after January 1, 2016, the sole issue at trial, and Wilder won as a result.  Povetkin filed a Motion for New Trial, or in the alternative, Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict.

In a letter to the Court dated, June 21, 2017, the attorneys for Povetkin and WOB note that a WADA Technical Document dated May 17, 2017 stated that WADA advised that “urinary concentrations of Meldonium below 100 ng/mL “should not be reported” “as an Adverse Analytical Finding.”  The attorneys argue that this was in direct contrast to the opinion of Wilder’s expert which noted that he follows the WADA technical documents.

Povetkin WOB letter to Court 06.21.17 by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

They also note that the WADA laboratory that examined Povetkin’s specimen has had its accreditation partial suspended.  The suspension was announced via WADA press release on June 20, 2017 and Povetkin and WOB argue that this “goes to the heart of this litigation.”  The argument is that the reliance on the accreditation by Wilder’s attorneys and his expert place the verdict into question since these issues have arisen after the verdict.

In response, Wilder’s attorney states that the two issues raised are irrelevant and are a ploy for another “bite at the apple.”  Wilder’s attorney notes that the WADA technical document does not go into effect until September 1, 2017.  Thus, the document does not go into effect until a year and a half after Povetkin’s positive test for Meldonium took place on April 27, 2016.

They also bring back the original question that was posed before the jury at trial earlier this year: “Did Alexander Povetkin ingest meldonium after January 1, 2016?”  This negates the argument of whether or not Povetkin would have tested positive for Meldonium under WADA guidelines.

WOB Letter 06.30.17 by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

With respect to the allegations that the UCLA Lab has had its accreditation partially suspended by WADA, Wilder’s attorney argues that the partial suspension does not mean that it cannot continue its regular anti-doping activities and is only for three months.  It stresses that the notice does not even apply to UCLA’s testing for Meldonium, which is central to the issue at trial.  It suggests that this fact would have likely been excluded at trial under Federal Rule of Evidence 403(b) due to the fact that its “probative value” is outweighed by its prejudicial effect.  It also suggests that this new information allows Povetkin/WOB to engage in wild speculation about the case based on assumptions.  For instance, it argues that Povetkin and WOB claim that Wilder’s expert at trial knew about the “impending suspension” which would imply that he was lying under oath.

Payout Perspective:

It has been several months since the attorneys for Povetkin and the World of Boxing have filed its motion for a new trial or trial notwithstanding the verdict without a ruling from the Court.  The latest wrangling are valid if you represent the defendants but the threshold for a motion for new trial would bet that there were significant legal errors.  The issues brought up by Povetkin and WOB seem to be more factual in nature.  Regardless, the bar to have such a motion granted (new trial or overturning a judgment) is high and somewhat difficult because you are asking the Court to overturn its own decision.  Rather, these arguments seem more appropriate for an appeal.  Moreover, the Court does not really have a time limit to decide on this motion whereas an appeal would have had more stringent guidelines.

MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Nick Diaz flagged for USADA Whereabouts violation

June 29, 2017

Nick Diaz has been notified of a potential UFC Anti-Doping Violation for not informing USADA about his whereabouts.

Via UFC.com

The UFC organization has been notified that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Nick Diaz of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from Diaz’s alleged accumulation of three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period. Diaz, like all other UFC athletes, is enrolled in USADA’s UFC Registered Testing Pool and required to file accurate Whereabouts information in order to be located for out-of-competition, no-notice testing.

Despite not having a fight, Diaz is still in the active pool of UFC contracted fighters that must abide by the USADA protocol.  It appears that Diaz has failed to take three tests.

Payout Perspective:

Whether or not you are a fan of Diaz it’s clear that a failure to test is similar to being flagged for a failed USADA test.  Diaz will have to have some excuse.  Perhaps he has some excuse but more likely than not he just did not want to test since he has no pending fight.  This excuse will not work but we will keep you updated.

George Sullivan issued 1 year suspension by USADA

June 20, 2017

USADA announced that George Sullivan tested positive for a prohibited substance and has accepted a one-year sanction for his second violation of the UFC anti-doping policy.

The 36 year old tested positive for clomiphene and its metabolite 4-hydroxyclomiphene.  Sullivan was pulled from his fight at UFC 208 this past February after he was informed of a potential violation from an out-of-competition test from January 14, 2017.  He cited a prescription medication as the cause for the flagged test.  Upon a review of Sullivan’s medical records by USADA, it was determined that he was using Clomiphene Citrate under the care of a physician to treat a medical condition.  The problem was that the use was an “off-label” treatment of the drug (it was a prescription fertility medication) and not approved by the USFDA for use by males.

Since Sullivan was under the care of medical physician, his period of ineligibility was reduced by 1 year.

You might recall that he was pulled from his fight at UFC on Fox 20 in July for disclosing information to USADA and was issued a provisional suspension.

Sullivan is 3-2 in the UFC.  Sullivan’s period of ineligibility is retroactive to his out of competition test on January 14, 2017.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting case since Sullivan previous provisional suspension occurred when he declared a prohibited substance last July.  He was just days away from serving that suspension when he is issued another year’s suspension.  Obviously, the “off-label” use of a drug carries different connotations but is not out of the ordinary with physicians.  Unfortunately, USADA will not yield on these types of matters..

Sonnen and Silva will be drug tested prior to Bellator NYC

June 13, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that Bellator NYC main event participants Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will undergo drug testing prior to their matchup on June 24th.  The drug tests, which have already taken place, will be conducted by an independent third party and will be paid by each athlete.

The New York State Department of State confirmed that each athlete will pay for the costs of the tests.  No mention of the third-party agency that will administer the tests and the nature of the tests or how many.  Scott Coker stated that the results of the tests are expected to return before the bout.

Both Sonnen and Silva have had drug suspensions related to Performance Enhancing Drugs which is the likely reason for the extra emphasis on the main event.

According to the MMA Fighting report, Sonnen was tested four times prior to his fight against Tito Ortiz in California.  It will Silva’s first fight since he was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.  His last fight was in 2013 in Japan.

Payout Perspective:

Drug testing validates the main event and it should be something the promotion should look to do in the future.  For those skeptical about the fight, the drug tests attempt to ensure that both fighters are clean.  Certainly, drug testing for Bellator athletes is a good idea and makes sense for these two.

Casey’s UFC 211 drug test flagged by Texas

May 26, 2017

UFC women’s strawweight fighter Cortney Case tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in an in-competition drug screen at UFC 211 on May 13th.  The test does not mean she took a banned substance as Texas can cite a fighter for elevated T:E levels.

Per MMA Fighting, Casey had a testosterone-to-epitestosterone ration of 5.4:1.  Per Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) rules anything over a 4:1 ratio is flagged.  The report also notes that she is under suspension for three months on the American Boxing Commission database which results from a failed drug test in Texas.

Payout Perspective:

The sample from Casey will be further tested via isotope-ratio mass spectrometry to determine if the elevated levels came from testosterone.  If that is the case, Casey would be disciplined.  Again, we are left here to look at the disclosure forms prior to the fight.  Casey did not disclose any substance that might elevate her T:E levels which might have mitigated the fighting.  Since nothing was disclosed, a finding via the isotope test of testosterone would mean a suspension.

USADA has not been in contacts with TDLR regarding the test since there has not been a potential anti-doping policy violation at this time.  We once again see the potential conflicts between the promoter, its third-party administrator and commissions.  Here, Casey will likely be fined and possibly suspended by Texas.  Unless there is a banned substance, she may not be suspended at all.

Gastelum’s USADA suspension reduced to 3 months

May 12, 2017

Kelvin Gastelum has accepted a 3-month suspension from USADA as a result of an in-competition sample finding of marijuana.  However, Gastelum will be ready to fight this summer and a rumored bout with Chris Weidman may headline July’s UFC on Fox event in New York.

Originally, Gastelum was suspended 6 months but it has been reduced to 3 months.  Gastelum defeated Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night 106 in Brazil in March.  He settled with the Brazilian Sports Court adjudicating the failed drug test in Brazil in which the middleweight paid 20% of his fight purse (in an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour he refrained from disclosing how much the fine was) and the decision was reversed to a no-contest.  He was also handed a 90-day suspension although he has vowed never to fight in Brazil again.

The USADA suspension runs concurrent with the Brazilian court penalty.  It was reduced by USADA as he completed a drug awareness program.

Payout Perspective:

The reduction seemingly makes everything right (except for the 20% purse fine) as Gastelum does not have to sit out a great length and does not have to spend money on an appeal of the decision.  We should know on Friday when Gastelum is fighting although headlining a UFC on Fox event should be a nice present for the trouble he has gone through with the finding.  Obviously, Gastelum must be aware of the USADA rules with the finding of marijuana metabolites so he has to be careful.

Penne flagged by UFC for potential USADA violation

May 11, 2017

Jessica Penne has been flagged by USADA after re-analysis of a sample that was previously cleared.  It is the first time that USADA has identified a UFC fighter based on a re-analysis based upon by the contents of a biological passport.

Penne, who lost her last fight in April, is facing a potential UFC anti-doping policy violation due to a prohibited substance detected in a March 20th out-of-competition sample.

A biological passport tracks a variety of biomarkers after sample collection.  USADA began to compile this on UFC athletes it tested since the inception of the program in 2015.  A biomarker is an objective measure that is evaluated as an indicator of normal biological processes, pathogenic processes or pharmacological responses to a therapeutic intervention.  It allows an agency like USADA to evaluate an athlete’s levels of specific blood and hormonal values over time and determine if there are changes.  Penne’s sample was flagged for further analysis “due to an increased degree of variability in urinary biomarkers.”  The re-analysis revealed a prohibited substance.

Payout Perspective:

It is unknown what the prohibited substance may be but the re-analysis based on the biological passport is a reminder that USADA continues to track your profile over time.  Here, it appears that Penne would have not been flagged had it been her first test with the UFC.  But, over time, one could see a change.  We will see what this possibly could mean for the 34 year old fighter.

Gastelum accepts settlement for failed drug test

May 8, 2017

Kelvin Gastelum has taken a settlement offer to resolve a finding of marijuana metabolites in his system.  As a result, he was docked 20 percent of his fight purse, suspended 90 days retroactive to his fight against Vitor Belfort in Brazil.

Gastelum KO’d Belfort in the first round this past March.  His drug test sample that night was positive for Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabonol (Carboxy-THC) that was above the 180 ng/mL allowance by WADA standards.

The Superior Tribunal de Justica Desportiva do MMA (STJDMMA) confirmed that Gastelum’s victory has been overturned and ruled in no contest.  The Brazilian court worked with USADA and CABMMA to broker the settlement which likely means he will not receive an additional penalty from USADA.

As of Monday morning USADA has not produced an official statement on Gastelum.

Brazilian outlet Combate was the first to announce the settlement.

Payout Perspective:

Gastelum has stated that he will no longer accept fights in Brazil.  Obviously, paying for training camp to fly to Brazil and then getting fined 20% of your fight purse would do that to a fighter.  He was originally scheduled to face Anderson Silva in Brazil this June but was taken off the card when the positive drug test came out.  The 90 day suspension is almost up for Gastelum so that’s good news for him.

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