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.
February 12, 2017
Justino tested positive for the banned substance spironolactone although she claims that a doctor had prescribed it to her. Thus, the reason for the retroactive TUE.
According to the UFC Anti-Doping Program:
USADA will consider late filed or applications for retroactive TUEs; however, the Athlete does so at his or her own risk as USADA makes no guarantee regarding the processing of a TUE under such circumstances. Furthermore, in such instances, the Athlete may be charged up to the full cost for processing the TUE application where such filing, in the determination of USADA, is not attributed to factors outside the Athlete’s control.
Justino’s attorney is Howard Jacobs. He was the attorney that represented Jon Jones in his USADA appeal and subsequent arbitration. Jacobs also represented Brock Lesnar. USADA has requested additional information for Justino’s condition which required the prescribed banned substance.
As we know, the new women’s division is specifically for Cyborg and one would think that she will be granted this retroactive TUE despite the “at his or her own risk” language from USADA. It really makes no difference whether or not the “full cost” for processing the TUE application is assessed to Cyborg as she is much more important to the organization than the simple cost of an application.
February 10, 2017
This week Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin went to trial to determine whose fault it was that cancelled their fight in Russia this past May.
The sole issue to be decided at trial is whether Povetkin took Meldonium after January 1, 2016, the date that it was banned by WADA.
The trial is a battle of the experts with each side arguing about the admissibility of testimony and evidence. The science of determining Meldonium in the system is key. Povetkin admits to taking Meldonium in 2015 as prescribed by a physician. However, he denies taking it after 2016. WADA banned the substance on January 1, 2016.
Four VADA tests by Povetkin leading up to their anticipated fight in April 2017 occurred. Povetkin’s VADA tests on April 7, 8 and 11, 2017 came up negative. However, an April 27, 2017 test showed Meldonium. World of Boxing claims that the Meldonium are traces from his 2015 use.
Trial began this past Monday.
Per a pretrial order dated January 31, 2017, the parties included specifics related to trial including experts. The experts were to have submitted reports, the basis of their testimony, prior to the start of trial. The Wilder legal team retained Anthony Butch, Ph.D. to testify about the testing of banned substances and the result of Povetkin’s tests as it relates to detection of Meldonium. Essentially, Povetkin’s test results reveal he took Meldonium some time between April 11 and his last VADA test of April 27, 2016. They also named Daniel Eichner, Ph.D. as a possible expert to testify regarding the positive test results. He was added after World of Boxing added Dr. Douwe de Boer.
The World of Boxing team included several experts regarding the detection of Meldonium with the conclusion that Povetkin did not take the drug post-January 1, 2016. This included Dr. Boris Simkhovich and Dr. de Boer. Notably, Dr. de Boer was a late addition to the expert list and submitted a report which Wilder’s attorneys opposed.
On Thursday night, attorneys for Deontay Wilder requested to call Dr. Anthony Butch as a “very brief rebuttal witness” as it relates to World of Boxing’s expert, Dr. de Boer. The claim to use Dr. Butch is that Dr. de Boer disclosed an “entirely new theory of the case” during his trial testimony. Additionally, Wilder’s attorneys wanted to call Dr. Boris Simkhovich as a rebuttal witness. However, Dr. Simkohovich was a designated expert of World of Boxing but was not called by the World of Boxing when they put on its case.
The new revelation addresses, according to Wilder’s attorneys, the reasons why Povetkin’s April 7, 8 and 11, 2016 urine samples had no detection of Meldonium but there was detection of Meldonium in his April 27, 2016 test: ion suppression.
Dr. de Boer was a late add as an expert by Wilder’s legal team. The presiding magistrate, Judge Gabriel Gorenstein allowed Dr. de Boer to testify however he would have to submit to a deposition prior to trial as well as having an expert rebut the report.
The testimony from Dr. de Boer suggests due to ion suppression, Meldonium was not detected in the first three tests of April because the method of analyzing (mass spectrometer) did not pick up the Meldonium due to a competing molecule suppressing the Meldonium molecules. But, the April 27th test contained residual Meldonium which it was able to pick up.
The claim is that Dr. de Boer’s theory is based on the late production of Dr. Butch’s raw data. Despite submitting to a deposition, Dr. de Boer was precluded from answering questions about the report at his deposition per instruction from the Magistrate as the two sides butted heads over the issue.
They also wanted to call Dr. Simkhovich as a witness as Wilder’s side believed that his testimony was contrary to that of Dr. de Boer’s testimony which would seemingly show a flaw in World of Boxing’s case.
Attorneys for World of Boxing argue that Wilder’s problems are his own as the Court gave Wilder an option of deposing Dr. de Boer on Feb 1 or 2 or postpone the trial. Wilder opted to go to trial and depose Dr. de Boer. They also argue that Dr. de Boer’s report and data were provided to Wilder’s side prior to the deposition and they could have asked questions about it. They also argue that Dr. Simkhovich cannot be used as a witness as he was not called by World of Boxing and would be inadmissible.
The legal fights over inclusion of expert testimony occurs a lot and certainly each side wants to preserve their right to an appeal if needed. The credibility of the experts will be key and the efforts to rebut testimony is a way for the legal teams to get the last say before a jury.
February 6, 2017
Daniel Omielańczuk has agreed to a “no fault” finding of his positive test for Meldonium this past July. The result is based on a January 2016 out-of-competition test. But, due to the change in WADA policy, he was kept on his last fight in July 2016.
A portion of the USADA news release reads:
Omielanczuk, 34, tested positive for meldonium as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on January 21, 2016. Meldonium is a non-specified substance that was added to the WADA Prohibited List in 2016. It is in the category of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the WADA Prohibited List.
During USADA’s investigation of the case, Omielanczuk presented evidence establishing that his use of meldonium was limited to a three-week span, from mid-August to early September 2015. Omielanczuk and his advisors confirmed that Omielanczuk did not resume his use of the substance after September 2015 because they became aware that the substance would be added to the WADA Prohibited List in 2016, and subsequently banned under the UFC Anti-Doping Program.
After a thorough review of the case, USADA concluded that the extremely low meldonium concentration in the athlete’s urine sample, combined with the available documentary evidence and the athlete’s explanation of use, was consistent with ingestion prior to the substance being officially prohibited on January 1, 2016. Accordingly, based on the results management guidance offered by WADA for cases involving meldonium, Omielanczuk will not face a period of ineligibility for his positive test.
Perhaps coincidence, but the Wilder-Povetkin case we’ve been following suggests that Povetkin used Meldonium for a two-week period in August-September 2015. As that case starts, it’s clear to see that the substance is hard to regulate. Fortunately, for Omielańczuk, it looks like he won’t miss any time off from the UFC.
February 6, 2017
World of Boxing has submitted a rebuttal expert to address the additional “raw data” supplied by the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory.
The report is from Biochemist Dr. Douwe de Boer. Dr. de Boer reviewed the information including the rebuttal expert report from Wilder’s expert. Importantly, it includes review of Povetkin’s VADA urine drug tests from April 8,9, 10 and 27th.
The sole issue at trial is whether Alexander Povetkin took Meldonium post-January 1, 2016. Wilder claims he did. Povetkin argues that the finding of Meldonium occurred in 2015 prior to the WADA ban.
The anticipated theory of the case is that the negative drug tests of April 8-10 and the positive drug test of April 27th for Meldonium show that Povetkin took the drug after his April 10 test.
However, Dr. de Boer concludes that “the so-called “negative” results for Meldonium in some of the urine samples collected does not mean that no Meldonium is present.” He asserts that a possible concentration was “sometimes below” the limit to detect it. He claims that some of the samples were “not negative,” but merely “not adverse.” He concludes that based on the low values “of a logical pharmacokinetic profile, its unlikely Povetkin took Meldonium post-April 11.
So, it will be a battle of experts at trial. Dr. de Boer suggests that Povetkin had Meldonium in his system from his physician prescribed use prior to the WADA ban. But, the tests that revealed it to be negative actually had Meldonium in them. Thus, Povetkin’s expert argues that there would be no inconsistency in the tests as the Meldonium that showed up in the April 27 test was not new. We should see how this theory plays out this week.
February 4, 2017
Meldonium is the key issue when attorneys for boxer Deontay Wilder and his promoter Lou DiBella square off against Alexander Povetkin and his promoter World of Boxing. In the latest filings, Wilder’s attorneys claim that Povetkin’s side withheld a damaging email it sent to VADA regarding Povetkin’s testing.
Now, Wilder’s attorneys are seeking to introduce the evidence to reveal that in production of documents an email was withheld.
The crux of the issue that will go to trial next week is whether Alexander Povetkin took Meldonium after the official WADA ban on the substance January 1, 2016. Wilder’s attorneys claim Povetkin took the banned substance after January 1 thus the reason the heavyweight pulled out of an anticipated fight in Russian in May 2016. Povetkin’s claim is that he took the drug prior to January 1, 2016 as prescribed by his physician and prior to the ban. They plan to introduce evidence and testimony that Meldonium can take time to leave the system.
One of the big issues will be a series of VADA drug tests on Povetkin. Tests in April 2016 reveal Povetkin had negative tests from April 7, 8 and 11 but a latter test on April 27 detected Meldonium.
Wilder’s attorney provided the court with a supplemental expert report which analyzed raw data from the tests. Povetkin’s attorneys are fighting to include a rebuttal expert report which suggests that the raw data analyzed shows that Povetkin may have had Meldonium in his system during the April 7, 8 and 11 tests.
The anticipated working theory is that Wilder will argue that the negative tests in early April plus the April 27 test show that Povetkin took the drug post April 11, 2016.
Povetkin rebuts this theory with the argument that the negative tests actually show the possibility that the fighter had Meldonium in his system at the time.
Perhaps damaging the Povetkin side is the withheld email which is purportedly from a representative of the World of Boxing, Dmitry Ivanov, to VADA’s Margaret Goodman which reads:
I would like to discuss with you about tests. In Spain it were t[h]ree times tests. It is too much. ***Recently I wrote about our best time table for.
Cause you know it will be very important fight in our career and we need have the best preparation and limit tests in order not to negative result.
We are really can’t have a tests every other days.
Hope you understand me in this issue. * * * Help to us make preparation in the good regime. * * *
p.s. I am sorry about my English. Hope you understand me right.
Wilder’s attorney claim that this email shows that World of Boxing is trying to conceal something by requesting that Povetkin’s drug tests are limited.
Povetkin’s attorneys have yet to respond.
If there is such thing as a hot document, Wilder believes that this is one that fits its theory of the case “like a glove” as it wrote to the court on Thursday of last week. It’s likely we’ll see the introduction of more dueling expert reports and rebuttals. How much will the court allow before the trial starts will be up to the court.