Jessica Penne given 18 month suspension for UFC Anti-Doping Violation

January 5, 2018

Jessica Penne has accepted an 18-month suspension from USADA after testing positive for an unspecified steroid.

The issue occurred from an out-of-competition urine test on March 20, 2017.  She tested positive for an “anabolic androgenic steroid of exogenous origin.”

Penne’s testing leads one to wonder why there was not an appeal in this matter:

Although Penne’s sample was initially reported as negative for prohibited substances on the standard out-of-competition testing menu, upon review of Penne’s Athlete Biological Passport, the sample was subsequently flagged for additional analysis due to an increased degree of variability in urinary biomarkers measured in the sample. Sophisticated carbon isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) analysis confirmed the presence of a synthetic anabolic agent in Penne’s sample. Before the reanalysis of her sample was completed, Penne fought at the UFC Fight Night event in Nashville on April 22, 2017, an event sanctioned by the Tennessee Athlete Commission.

Penne identified a supplement that she was to use at the direction of her physician which she believed was the source of the prohibited substance.  Despite identifying the source and accepting the explanation that the supplement was prescribed by a doctor, she was still assessed the 18-month suspension which is a reduction from the 2 year sentence given to most first-time offenders.

Payout Perspective:

One might argue that the suspension is against the belief that mitigating circumstances usually would knock down the length of suspension.  Jeff Novitsky stated this on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast when talking about Jon Jones.  Here, it seems for Penne, a first-time offender, was not given the benefit of the doubt considering her legitimate reason.  The prescribed medication from a legitimate physician should have some semblance of credibility for USADA to take into consideration.  Reducing the suspension to where it is still over a year seems egregious.

UFC Bantamweight flagged by USADA

January 1, 2018

Bantamweight Carls John de Tomas was notified by USADA that he failed a drug test and may be subject to discipline under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  The test was a result of his participation at UFC Fight Night Fresno where a test after weigh-ins yielded the failed test.

Via UFC web site:

Although de Tomas is no longer under contract with UFC, USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. 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. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) also retains jurisdiction over this matter as the sample collection was performed the day before de Tomas’ bout at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs Ortega in Fresno, CA. Accordingly, USADA will work to ensure that the CSAC has the necessary information to determine its proper judgment of de Tomas’ potential anti-doping violation.

Payout Perspective:

de Tomas lost both of his fights in the UFC and missed weight in his company debut.  So, it’s no surprise that he is no longer under contract with the company.  His last reported payout was $10,000 which does not bode well for any kind of appeal if he so chooses to dispute the test results.

MPO Year in Review: No. 2 Jon Jones returns to Octagon and is flagged by USADA (again)

December 31, 2017

In addition to the return of GSP, Jon Jones returned from suspension for his long-awaited grudge match with Daniel Cormier.  However, what we thought was a great redemption story turned into another setback for a fighter that could have been the best ever.

Notably, at the Summer Kickoff press conference in May, UFC fans had turned on Cormier, and in pro wrestling-fashion, Jon Jones became the bad-boy turned crowd favorite.

The promotion of the event was great and everyone was happy that the two made it to UFC 214 without injury or setback.  It was a good fight as Cormier looked much better than their first fight at UFC 182.  However, Jones was able to finish Cormier and gave one of the best post-fight Octagon interviews ever which seemed to tie a bow on the Jones redemption story.  A fight against Brock Lesnar in 2018 seemed like a blockbuster waiting to happen.

But then Jones was flagged by USADA a month later for an in-competition violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  Although his blood tests were negative, his urine tests post-weigh-ins were positive for a banned substance.  His “B” sample was positive for the anabolic steroid and banned substance Turinabol.

The event drew 850,000 PPV buys making it the second-most purchased fight of the year.  But, we learned that Jones had been flagged yet again by USADA for a failed drug test.  Once again, Jones proclaimed his innocence, but just coming off one suspension, Jones faces a stiffer (four-year suspension) one as he might be considered a repeat offender if he cannot clear his name from the failed drug test.

While we are letting the due process work itself out, the legacy of Jon Jones is tainted.  Through all of his legal problems, fans have given him chance after chance.  UFC 214 should have been his triumphant return from the brink.  Now, it appears that it will be a longshot that we will ever see Jon Jones in his prime in the UFC again.

MPO Year in Review – Good sues vitamin maker after failed USADA test

December 22, 2017

UFC Fighter Lyman Good sued vitamin maker and the store that sold it as a result of having a USADA test being flagged.  Good was suspended by USADA and pulled from UFC 205 in his native New York.

Via our post in October:

The target supplement is Anavite according to the lawsuit which was filed in New York by his attorney, David Fish.

Good was suspended for violating the UFC Anti-Doping Policy after he failed a random test.  As part of the process, he learned that the drug that may have caused the failed test was Anavite.

Good is requesting restitution, damages, injunctive and other equitable relief.  Good believes that Gaspari Nutrition misbranded the products as “dietary supplements” to defraud consumers into the believing it had superior “dietary supplements.”

Vitamin Shoppe was sued for (among other things) breach of warranty for selling the products “despite assurances of product quality and control.”  The store claims to have safety measures to ensure that the products its sells are of quality.  Good claims that it has failed to provide such safeguards based on the product he purchased from the store.

Upon learning of the flagged USADA test, Good had provided USADA with unopened packages of Anavite to examine at a lab regarding the contents.  The results confirmed Andro in the product.  Andro is a banned substance per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and considered a steroid.  Thus, Good has sued the supplement maker, its owners and the store that sold the product.  The lawsuit indicates the harmful effects of steroids and the fact that Andro is such a substance

This is a first of its kind lawsuit under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and perhaps MMA.  Good can show he was damaged due to the fact that he relied on the representation of the label that Anavite did not contain Andro as it was not on its label as a content and was listed as a “Dietary Supplement.”  He is making a claim against Vitamin Shoppe since it claims to have superior knowledge of these products and should have investigated this product.  The defendants will likely claim a tainted product and that overall, its products do not contain the banned substance.  Moreover, it will claim that there are no damages incurred by Good despite serving a six month sentence.

In products liability cases (lawsuits where the claim is that a product is defective), there is a higher standard on the manufacturer or seller to ensure that the user is not harmed.  In this instance, one could argue Good was not harmed in the sense of physical injury.  He was harmed since he had to ensure he did not ingest a banned substance per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  This will make a very interesting case as it continues.  MMA Payout will continue to follow.

The lawsuit remains in its infancy stages although we might expect a motion to dismiss the case by the defendants and/or a denial of the allegations.  One would think that this lawsuit will be watched by other fighters that may have flagged tests due to using an over the counter supplement that was “misbranded.”

Women’s Bantamweight flagged by USADA for potential violation

December 1, 2017

UFC women’s bantamweight Amanda Lemos has been flagged for a potential UFC anti-doping violation.  The 30-year-old Brazilian has just one fight with the promotion.

Lemos lost to Leslie Smith this past July at UFC Fight Night 113.  Prior to her time with the UFC, she fought in Brazil with the Jungle Fight promotion.


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

Payout Perspective:

The UFC will likely issue its standard comment regarding these notifications.  Lemos fought exclusively in Brazil prior to her fight in Scotland against Smith.

Another UFC Heavyweight flagged by USADA for potential violation

November 18, 2017

UFC Heavyweight James Mulheron has been notified of a potential violation of the UFC anti-doping policy and has been removed from his fight against Cyril Asker next week in Shanghai, China at UFC Fight Night 122.

Mulheron fought just once in the UFC, losing against Justin Willis at UFC Fight Night from Glasgow, Scotland.


The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed James Mulheron of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on November 10, 2017. Due to the proximity of James’s upcoming scheduled bout at UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Gastelum in Shanghai, China on November 25, 2017, against Cyril Asker, Mulheron has been removed from the card and UFC is currently seeking a replacement.

Payout Perspective:

Yet another Heavyweight falls to USADA it appears.  It’s not clear why heavyweights may be susceptible to the anti-doping policy but it appears that this is happening more than other weight classes.  As we know, Anderson Silva was removed from this card because of a potential violation as well.

Grant Dawson flagged for potential anti-doping violation

November 11, 2017

UFC Featherweight Grant Dawson has been notified of a potential UFC anti-doping policy violation related to an October 18, 2017 test.

Dawson, 23, has yet to debut with the organization.  He was one of the fighters to win UFC contracts on Dana White’s Contender Series this summer.

Payout Perspective:

Dawson is the second fighter from the Dana White Contender Series to be flagged by USADA.  Zu Anyanwu was flagged for an out-of-competition test the same day as Dawson.  This might be one of those issues where the fighter used a supplement without knowing the contents.  Both probably started in the protocol and was not primed for the testing.  Of course, we will need to see what the substances that were flagged before making that determination.

Anderson Silva flagged for potential anti-doping violation

November 10, 2017

Anderson Silva has been flagged by USADA for a potential UFC anti-doping violation.  He has been pulled from his upcoming fight against Kelvin Gastelum in Shanghai, China on November 25th.

An out-of-competition sample collected on October 26, 2017 was flagged by USADA.  Due to the proximity of his fight which happens in 15 days, he has been removed from the bout and the UFC is looking for a replacement.

You may recall that Silva failed a drug test from his fight with Nick Diaz at UFC 183.  Silva claimed the failed test was related to a tainted sexual performance drug.  Silva served a one-year suspension and a fine of $380,000.

Payout Perspective:

This is disappointing news for Silva and the UFC.  The company had hoped it would make a splash in its debut in China.  Silva is a big name in MMA and has international appeal.  But, with his name off of the card, it will be hard in a short turnaround to find a replacement for headliner Kelvin Gastelum.  For Silva, its another mark against his great career.  We will see what Silva’s response will be on this issue.  We will also see if USADA will treat Silva’s prior offense as a prior bad act as his previous drug test occurred prior to the UFC anti-doping policy.

Anyanwu latest UFC Heavyweight to be flagged by USADA

November 4, 2017

Heavyweight Zu Anyanwu was notified of a potential UFC anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on October 18th.  As is standard, he has been provisionally suspended from the organization.

Anyanwu was one of the fighters signed to a UFC contract after appearing on Dana White’s Contender Series on Fight Pass.  In his UFC debut, he dropped a split-decision to Justin Ledet.

The UFC released its standard statement when USADA notifies it about a flagged test:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Azunna Anyanwu of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on October 18, 2017.

Payout Perspective:

Anyanwu is the latest heavyweight to be flagged for a potential violation.  Ion Cutelaba was taken off of UFC 217 due to a violation from a test at about the same timeframe as Anyanwu.  Carlos Felipe was flagged this past September.  In addition, Junior, Dos Santos, Ben Rothwell and Josh Barnett have been flagged by USADA.  It would be interesting to look at the circumstances surrounding each of their drug test failures.

Heavyweight removed from UFC 217 for potential anti-doping violation

November 3, 2017

UFC Heavyweight Ion Cutelaba has been taken off of tomorrow’s UFC 217 event due to a potential anti-doping policy violation per the company.

USADA launched an investigation into Cutelaba because of a voluntary disclosure made during out-of-competition sample collections on October 18th and 19th.  He has been put on provisional suspension and his bout with Gadzhimurad Antigulov is off.

The UFC released its standard statement which reads:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Ion Cutelaba of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from its investigation into voluntary disclosures by Cutelaba during an out-of-competition sample collections on October 18 and October 19, 2017. USADA has provisionally suspended Cutelaba and his fight against Michal Oleksiejczuk has been cancelled from the November 4, 2017, UFC 217 fight card.

Payout Perspective:

With every fighter making weight on Friday, everyone had thought that all fights would go on without a problem.  But, Cutelaba’s removal takes away one fight from UFC 217.  It also means that we will not see the Hulk at the ceremonial weigh-ins.  For the 23 year old, the issue appears to be something that was disclosed on his form and one would hope that it might be clarified and/or mitigated.

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