March 30, 2017
UFC Flyweight Matheus Nicolau received a one-year suspension from USADA . The Brazilian fighter tested positive for the banned substance anastrozole.
Nicolau was flagged by USADA for an anti-doping violation in November 2014 and was forced to withdraw from UFC Fight Night 100. The flagged test was a result of an out-of-competition test taken on October 13, 2016. Nicolau’s suspension is retroactive to the date of his flagged test.
Anastrozole is an aromatase inhibitor and its intended use is to treat breast cancer in women. The substance lowers estrogen hormone levels and is sometimes used as a kickstart for testosterone production. This would infer that he utilized the drug for some type of performance enhancing drug.
At just 24 years old, a year suspension should not sting Nicolau’s career. But, the circumstances surrounding the year suspension still hurts as he claims that there were only traces of the banned substances which could not provide any performance enhancing effects. Thus, he believes it to be from a contaminated supplement although he was not able to pinpoint it. Perhaps that’s the reason for the one year suspension while most others carry a mandatory two.
March 22, 2017
UFC welterweight Viscardi Andrade was issued a two-year suspension from USADA after testing positive for stanozolol and its metabolites, 163-hydroxy-stanozol and 3’-hydroxy-stanozol following an out-of-competition test.
Andrade, 33, was a contestant on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. He had a 3-1 record in the UFC including a win in his last fight in Brisbane, Australia.
Andrade’s period of ineligibility began on March 20, 2016, a day after his last bout and when the results of his out-of-competition test were discovered. The flagged test occurred on March 7, 2016.
Via USADA’s announcement:
Andrade’s two-year period of ineligibility began on March 20, 2016, the day after his most recent bout, a victory, at the UFC Fight Night event in Brisbane, Australia, on March 19, 2016. Per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, an Anti-Doping Policy Violation occurring during, or in connection with, a bout may, upon the decision of UFC, lead to disqualification of all the athlete’s results obtained in that bout. Here, because Andrade’s violation resulted from a sample collection that occurred prior to his bout, all information surrounding Andrade’s positive test and sanction has been provided to UFC to make the determination concerning his competition results.
Since there is no athletic commission in Australia and the UFC regulates itself there, the UFC will determine whether Andrade’s win will be overturned.
It doesn’t appear that Andrade will appeal this ruling. Stanozol is an anabolic steroid used in PEDs and is banned from use per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. The discovery of his out-of-competition test also reveals the continuing issue with the drug policy in that tests prior to a fight are not known until after the fight takes place. This is an overarching issue that should be addressed.
March 17, 2017
MMA Fighting reports that three UFC fighters have failed drug tests and have been sanctioned in the state of Texas. However, USADA has not sanctioned the fighter for their use of marijuana.
Niko Price, Curtis Blaydes and Abel Trujillo tested positive for marijuana in -competition drug tests for UFC 104 in Houston, Texas this past February. The three were fined $1,000 and suspended 90 days by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
USADA only suspends fighters for cannabis if their drug tests come back with more than 150 ng/ml of the substances metabolites per spokesperson Ryan Madden. The rule is from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.
The issue of marijuana is an interesting subject considering the debate on its use varies depends on who you speak with at the time. Notably, Nate Diaz was seen using a vape pen with cannibidiol oil but was not reprimanded by USADA. Diego Brandao was suspend for 9 months when a fight-night drug test turned up marijuana matabolites. A 90-day suspension from Texas likely does not impact Price, Blaydes or Trujillo’s careers but the fine does hurt their pocketbooks. The inference we get from USADA’s lack of invovlement is that the use was not over the requisite amount.
March 14, 2017
Attorneys for World of Boxing and Alexander Povetkin have filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law and/or a new trial this past Friday. The hearing is scheduled for April 21, 2017 before the trial court judge in New York.
A jury determined that Povetkin took the banned substance Meldonium after January 1, 2016. It was the sole issue determined at trial.
World of Boxing and Povetkin attorneys intimated that they would be moving for either an appeal or this relief stating issues with the decision and conduct of Wilder’s attorneys.
Under Federal Civil Rule of Procedure 50, Judgment as a Matter of Law is a motion that can be made during trial or after. Essentially, it requests the judge take the decision out of the hands of the jury citing that the other party has not proven its case, and as a matter of law, should rule in favor of the moving party.
Under Federal Civil Rule of Procedure 59, a Motion for New Trial, may be requested any time within 28 days after the jury verdict. It may be granted if there was a serious erroneous result or a miscarriage of justice.
The motion is long and outside the bounds of the page length for a motion and the attorneys have asked attorneys to file extra pages. The attorneys for World of Boxing and Povetkin claim that the jury verdict was not based on the evidence, the testimony of one of Wilder’s experts should not have been relied upon, the timing of the trial did not allow for all the questions to be answered and the purported misconduct of Wilder’s attorney.
The motion goes before the trial court judge which makes it somewhat hard for the moving party because they are arguing that the judge did not oversee their trial properly and thus must do it again. These motions would be quicker than an appeal although it would seem that they are exhausting all options. MMA Payout will return later with a substantive look at the claims.
March 8, 2017
UFC Heavyweight Ben Rothwell has been notified of a potential UFC Anti-Doping Violation as USADA has flagged an out-of-competition sample from February 6th. Rothwell was scheduled to face Fabricio Werdum at UFC 211 on May 13 in Dallas.
Per the UFC Anti-Doping policy, Rothwell is provisionally suspended pending the USADA investigation.
MMA Fighting obtained a statement from Rothwell which indicates he has been under the care of a physician and is “trying to overcome a medical illness.”
The UFC issued its standard statement when a fighter is provisionally suspended by USADA.
It appears that we may have another case where a fighter will need to seek out a retroactive TUE due to the fact they ingested something that is on the prohibited list. We’ll see if USADA is responsive.
February 25, 2017
UFC light heavyweight Gian Villante was issued a retroactive therapeutic use exemption by USADA which clears him of a potential anti-doping violation.
Via USADA release:
Villante, 31, declared the use of a Breo Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/vilanterol) inhaler during an out-of-competition urine test conducted on January 18, 2017, and subsequently tested positive for vilanterol. Vilanterol is a prohibited substance in the category of Beta-2 Agonists and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Following his disclosure, USADA advised Villante that absent a valid TUE, the use of the inhaler was prohibited under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Thereafter, Villante submitted a TUE application documenting that his physician prescribed a 14-day course of the inhaler to treat conditions associated with airflow restriction and asthma.
Notably, the same day that Villante was granted the TUE exemption, Tom Lawlor, who beat Villante, agreed to a two-year suspension.
Villante’s reasons for the retroactive TUE is the purpose of the retroactive exemption. From the story, it sounds as though he did what he was supposed to do in declaring the use of the prohibited substance and followed up with the physician prescription and application for the retroactive TUE. Obviously, the best practice may have been to contact USADA ahead of time for the exemption rather than apply retroactively.
February 25, 2017
UFC’s Tom Lawlor has accepted a two-year suspension from USADA after a positive out-of-competition test for the banned substance ostarine. Lawlor will be out until October 10, 2018.
The out of competition test took place on October 10, 2016.
Lawlor, 33, did not make a formal attempt to appeal the flagged test which put him on provisional suspension.
Via the USADA release:
Ostarine, also known as MK-2866 and Enobosarm, is a non-FDA approved selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) which is illegally sold in the United States and globally as a performance-enhancing substance. Ostarine is not currently available as a prescription medication in any country, and its unauthorized use may carry serious side effects. Nonetheless, ostarine has been found as a declared and undeclared ingredient in many dietary supplements sold in the United States, which has prompted the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warning letters to specific dietary supplement manufacturers stating that ostarine is an unapproved new drug and that selling the drug is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).
Lawlor responded to the two year suspension on twitter with his lab results:
Anyone that knows how to analyze lab results, go ahead and have some fun=) Career ending levels of ostarine! pic.twitter.com/JgIH8qONLb
— Tom Lawlor (@FilthyTomLawlor) February 25, 2017
It’s a tough suspension for the popular 33-year-old although it seems that he may be embarking on a pro wrestling career. Without a formal appeal, it might seem that despite the levels found in his test were low, the probability of a successful appeal was as low.
February 17, 2017
USADA has granted Cris “Cyborg” Justino a retroactive exemption after a December 2016 out-of-competition test discovered a banned diuretic in her system.
Justino will now be next in line to face newly crowned featherweight division champ Germaine de Randamie.
The drug which Justino’s test was flagged for spironolactone, which was to treat fertility issues according to the Brazilian fighter.
I am extremely happy that USADA took the time to carefully review the detailed TUE application that I submitted,… https://t.co/QsjnvedqYP
— #UFCRIO (@criscyborg) February 17, 2017
From the USADA release:
Upon notice of her positive test, Justino immediately identified a medication prescribed by her physician for the treatment of a common endocrine disorder as the source of the prohibited substance detected in her sample. She also participated in multiple interviews with USADA’s investigative team and consented to USADA interviewing her physician as well.
After a thorough investigation of the circumstances that preceded her positive test, which included a comprehensive review of Justino’s documented medical history, USADA accepted Justino’s explanation that her use of Spironolactone began in late September, following her bout at UFC Fight Night Brasilia, and was in accordance with her physician’s recommendation for the treatment of a legitimate medical condition. Nonetheless, because Spironolactone is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, USADA advised Justino that her use of the medication without a valid TUE violated the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Accordingly, Justino applied for a TUE to authorize her use of the medication, with retroactive effect.
Justino could have faced a 2-year suspension.
All indications looked as though this was going to happen. Dana White made public statements about Cyborg possibly returning soon. Fortunately, she can come back immediately. Look for her to face de Randamie for the featherweight title. Of course, if she is unable to go due to her hand injury, the UFC will have to find a suitable opponent in the feather weight division.
February 14, 2017
Brock Lesnar has retired from the UFC according to multiple reports and first reported at MMA Fighting. Lesnar notified the company on Tuesday.
Lesnar was serving a 1 year suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission and USADA. If he returns to MMA, he will have to serve the rest of the suspension.
The suspension was issued after Lesnar settled with the NSAC and USADA issued a 1 year suspension for failing an out-of-competition test and an in-competition test for UFC 200 this past July.
In addition to the suspension, he was fined $250,000 which is 10% of his reported $2.5 million purse for his win over Mark Hunt. Currently, Hunt has filed a lawsuit against Lesnar, Dana White and the UFC.
Lesnar is scheduled to appear at Wrestlemania on April 2nd.
With Lesnar retiring for the second time (his first was after his loss to Cain Velasquez after UFC 121) in the UFC, it means that he will no longer be tested by USADA and included in the UFC Anti-Doping Program. We shall see if Lesnar will decide to return but if he does its likely he will be tested heavily by USADA and given no waiver.
February 13, 2017
A jury in New York took just 32 minutes to determine that boxer Alexander Povetkin took meldonium after the substance was banned on January 1, 2016 per ESPN.
The 9-person jury, which included a chemist, made the decision on Monday after a 3 day trial in which both boxers attended.
Despite the verdict, there might be an appeal. A letter dated February 12, 2017 by World of Boxing’s attorneys cited “gross and extensive misconduct” during the trial. The letter was filed prior to Monday’s jury verdict we presume.
If there is no appeal, it appears that Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella will receive a portion of the money still in escrow. Wilder was due $4.5 million to fight Povetkin while there was a $715,000 bonus for the winner. The attorney for Wilder and DiBella believes that the judge will release the funds.
While its early, one would have to expect a Motion for New Trial and/or an appeal from World of Boxing based on the letter from their attorneys. Still, the basic theory of the case by Wilder was that there were 4 VADA drug tests in April. The first 3 did not show any traces of meldonium but the fourth one did. Thus, he must have taken the banned substance after the third test. World of Boxing argues that despite the negative tests, Povetkin had meldonium in his system from 2015 and it just was not picked up by the tests.
We will now see how much more legal fees World of Boxing will want to invest in this case. MMA Payout will keep you posted.