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.

Abreu given a 4-year suspension by USADA for second violation

May 5, 2017

Ricardo Abreu has been given a four-year sanction by USADA for his second anti-doping policy violation.  Abreu is serving a suspension when he was notified of another potential anti-doping violation.

In his second test, Abreu tested positive for 19-norandrosterone (19-NA), the main metabolite of nandrolone, from an out-of-competition test taken this past December 21.

In February, news came out about the second test which led to this second violation.  Abreu cited depression as one of the reasons for his downfall.  He is said to be retired from MMA.

Payout Perspective:

The news today serves as a mere formality for Abreu who states he is retired from MMA.  He was going through personal issues at the time of both positive tests so this might have led him to use these PEDs.  If he were to return, he would have to serve out the 4-year suspension.  At 33, I do not think this is likely to happen.

Mir handed 2-year suspension for USADA violation

April 22, 2017

USADA issued an official 2 year sanction to former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir stemming from multiple positive tests for a prohibited substance.  The tests came from an in-competition test on March 20, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 85 in Brisbane, Australia.

The 38 year tested positive for a long-term metabolite of dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT).  It is also known as oral turinabol.  It is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  He was provisionally suspended on April 8, 2016.

Via USADA release:

Upon learning of the positive results of the sample analyzed in Tokyo, USADA had all previously collected stored samples for Mir reanalyzed at the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah (SMRTL), which had also recently implemented methodology for the detection of newly identified long-term DHCMT metabolites. As a result of the additional analyses, SMRTL discovered that an out-of-competition sample Mir provided on February 5, 2016, which had previously been reported to USADA as negative for the presence of prohibited substances, was also positive for the same long-term DHCMT metabolite found in Mir’s in-competition sample.

Mir had claimed that the positive result may have come from Kangaroo meat which he ate prior to his fight.

Payout Perspective:

The results likely bring an end to Mir’s career in the UFC.  It also reflects the need for fighters to be vigilant of what goes in their bodies.  Mir does not recall what he may have eaten abroad and does not know if USADA would truly travel to Australia even if he were to list each meat.  Regardless, the finding without any defense or mitigating circumstances meant that Mir will be assessed the 2-year sanction.

Gastelum flagged by USADA for marijuana metabolites

April 6, 2017

The up and down career of UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum has taken another blow as USADA has informed him of a potential violation stemming from marijuana metabolites above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL from an in-competition test.

The UFC statement reads in part:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Kelvin Gastelum of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation involving Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (“Carboxy-THC”) which is a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected in conjunction with his recent bout in Fortaleza, Brazil on March 11, 2017.

Gastelum defeated Vitor Belfort on March 11, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 106 in Brazil.  Gastelum was scheduled to face Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in June.  It’s likely that this fight is off since he must go on provisional suspension per the anti-doping rules.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear from most people that I have heard from that this should not be a violation.  While marijuana is not necessarily banned, registering over 180 ng/mL from a test is a violation.  It appears that there may not be an easy alibi for Gastelum.  We will see how USADA handles this in terms of whether there are mitigating circumstances (he’d have to show he bears no fault or negligence for marijuana in his system or a reduction based on degree of fault) for Gastelum’s use.  If not, he’s facing a 1-year suspension.

For Gastelum, this is a terrible setback for a career in which he’s battled weight but seemed to have found his stride at 185.

UFC Heavyweight, Ledet, receives 4 month sanction from USADA

April 5, 2017

USADA announced that Justin Ledet accepted a four-month sanction after testing positive for a prohibited substance from a contaminated supplement per its UFC Anti-Doping web site.

The sanction is retroactive to January 12, 2017, when the out-of-competition test was taken.  Ledet


Ledet, 29, tested positive for 5α-androst-1-ene-3α-ol-17-one, a metabolite of 1-testosterone and 1-androstenedione, following an out-of-competition test conducted on January 12, 2017. 1-testosterone and 1-androstenedione are non-Specified Substances in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Following notification of his positive test, Ledet provided USADA with an open container of a dietary supplement product he was using at the time of the relevant sample collection, which he had also declared on his sample collection paperwork and researched before using. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label, preliminary testing conducted on the contents of the open container indicated that it contained the anabolic agent 1-androstenedione. The presence of an undisclosed prohibited substance in a product is regarded as contamination.

Payout Perspective:

A couple days earlier Lyman Good received a 6 month sanction for a tainted vitamin.  It appears that Ledet received 2 months shorter due to the fact that he was able to produce the dietary supplement and declared it on his collection paperwork.  The short suspension, which ends, this month reflects the fact that it pays to disclose the information and keep track of everything that goes in your body.

Good suspended 6 months by USADA for tainted supplement

April 2, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that UFC welterweight Lyman Good will receive a six-month suspension due to a tainted product in an out-or-competition test.

According to Good’s attorney, the banned substance was in a tainted vitamin.  No official announcement has been issued by USADA as of this date.

Good was taken off the UFC 205 card this past November due to an out-of-competition test from October 24, 2016.  The suspension is retroactive to October 24th and thus he should be available to fight for the promotion later this month.

Payout Perspective:

The suspension is in line with Tim Means and Yoel Romero as they were both able to trace back a supplement that they took which contained the banned substance.  On the other side, Tom Lawlor was unable to pinpoint the source of the banned substance that was in his failed test and is serving a two-year suspension.

UFC Flyweight receives one-year suspension from USADA

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

Welterweight receives 2-year ban from USADA

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

Texas sanctions 3 UFC fighters for marijuana use

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

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