Nick Diaz accepts one-year USADA ban…which ends next week

April 9, 2018

USADA announced that Nick Diaz has accepted a one-year sanction for Whereabouts Failures reporting pursuant to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  The suspension is retroactive to April 19th of last year and thus he will be available to fight by next week.

Via USADA release:

USADA announced today that Nick Diaz, of Stockton, Calif., has accepted a one-year sanction for a violation of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy resulting from three unsuccessful test attempts during a 12-month period.

Like all UFC athletes, Diaz, 34, is a member of the UFC Registered Testing Pool and is therefore subject to certain Whereabouts responsibilities, which allow him to be located for out-of-competition testing. Diaz failed to be available for three tests at the locations provided in his Whereabouts Filings. The first two failures occurred in the second and third quarters of 2016, while the third occurred in the first quarter of 2017. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the accumulation of three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period constitutes an anti-doping policy violation.

Payout Perspective:

The announcement could be due to the timing of the investigation and speaking with Diaz’s representatives on the matter.  If not, this sort of announcement is a mockery of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy as the announcement almost coincides with his ability to get back to active status with the UFC.  While its clear that Diaz could not take a fight since he did not report his Whereabouts on three separate occasions in as 12-month span, the length of time it took for the decision seems lengthy.  If it was not due to a delay in fact-finding, one has to wonder why the investigation process and determination of penalty is taking so long.

Canelo withdraws from May 5th rematch with GGG

April 3, 2018

Golden Boy Promotions announced today that Canelo Alvarez has withdrawn from the fight against Gennady Golovkin.  Alvarez was temporarily suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission due to failing a pair of drug tests for the banned substance clenbuterol.

An April 18th hearing was schedule to determine the fate of the rematch between Alvarez and GGG.  The NAC sought to suspend Alvarez for 1 year due to the failed tests.

Alvarez and his promoters made the withdrawal official via conference call with the media on Tuesday.  Alvarez maintained his innocence that he is a clean fighter that does not use PEDs.

Their first fight drew $27 million in live-gate earnings and an estimated 1.3 million PPV buys.  Despite the belief that the NAC would not derail a rematch which drew so well this past September, the NAC took the test failures seriously.

Alvarez claims that the failed tests were due to tainted meat he consumed while training in Mexico.

GGG wants to fight on May 5th and a replacement for Alvarez is taking place.  The event on May 5th is likely to be moved from the T-Mobile Arena to the MGM Grand which is a smaller venue.

Alvarez’s one-year suspension with the NAC will date back to his first positive test on February 17.

Payout Perspective:

This is a shocking development and a blow for boxing fans as many had anticipated this rematch.  Withdrawing from the fight is interesting as it ensures that Canelo will not fight in Vegas until 2019.  We will see if this strains ties between Golden Boy and the NAC if/when Golden Boy decides to promote fights.  While Vegas is the de facto place for big fights, the commission’s stance to file an official Complaint against Alvarez may have the promotion look to New York or another venue for events.  HBO PPV is also a loser here as any replacement for Canelo will not draw as many buys as a the Canelo-GGG II PPV would have produced.

NAC files official complaint against Alvarez

April 1, 2018

ESPN’s Dan Rafael has obtained a copy of the Nevada Athletic Commission Complaint against Canelo Alvarez.  The 8-page Complaint outlines the violations stemming from two failed drug tests for the banned substance Clenbuterol.

Alvarez claims that the findings in his drug tests are a result of tainted meat he likely consumed while training for his May 5th fight in Mexico.  In the past, fighters in boxing and the UFC have been cleared of anti-doping violations due to tainted meat.  Still, the issue is being taken seriously by the NAC which has scheduled a hearing on April 18th.  As a result of the proximity of the hearing to the May 5th rematch with Gennady Golovkin, the huge fight which promises to do as well business-wise and maybe better than last September’s event is in jeopardy.

According to the Complaint, Alvarez failed two urine tests administered by VADA on February 17 and 20th.  The urinalysis was examined by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory finding Clenbuterol in the samples.

Whether or not Alvarez intended to ingest the banned substance is of no significance according to the Complaint as it is the standard rule.  As a result, his license in Nevada has been temporarily suspended until the April 18th hearing.

Canelo Alvarez by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

It’s interesting that there seems to be no urgency in resolving this matter prior to the May 5th event.  With a lot financially at stake, one would think that the parties, including the Commission, would want to expedite the hearing process.  The hearing will be very important and one would think that Alvarez’s lawyers would need to prepare a strategy which would show that it was likely that tainted meat was the cause of the findings.  This might mean providing a daily nutritional regiment for Alvarez which might pinpoint the kind of things he ate which may have caused the findings.

The Interview: Ally Quinney and Sam Erhlich

March 30, 2018

The Interview talks with Florida State University doctrinal students Ally Quinney and Sam Erhlich as they recently presented an upcoming paper at the Sports and Recreation Law Association Conference regarding the privacy concerns with USADA and the UFC anti-doping policy.

In addition to their presentation, we discuss the recent Jon Jones hearing and the Josh Barnett opinion.

We discuss an exchange at the December 2016 Congressional Hearing on Mixed Martial Arts between the sponsor of the expansion to the Muhammad Ali Act, Markwayne Mullin and the UFC’s Jeff Novitsky regarding the reinstatement of Brock Lesnar.

Introductions: 1:04

Discussion about Presentation at SRLA:  2:31

Discussing UFC/USADA deal and the privacy concerns: 3:57

Survey re tracking of athletes provided to Fighters by USADA: 7:23

Discussion regarding leaving USADA testing pool:  11:36

Whether USADA is a state actor: 16:47

Does it matter that USADA is a third party:  20:14

Discussion on the Mark Hunt case: 21:21

Why won’t an Antitrust lawsuit work in this case: 31:24

Discussion about Jon Jones hearing: 33:30

Thoughts on Josh Barnett case:  34:30

Amanda Lemos accepts two-year UFC ban by USADA

March 28, 2018

With just one fight in the UFC, Amanda Lemos has been suspended two years by USADA for a violation of the UFC anti-doping policy.

The suspension comes due to a November 8, 2017 failed test after her promotional debut loss to Leslie Smith at UFC Fight Night 113.

Via USADA release:

Lemos, 30, tested positive for stanozolol and its metabolite 16β-hydroxystanozolol following an out-of-competition urine test conducted on November 8, 2017. Stanozolol is a non-Specified Substance 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 Prohibited List.

Lemos’ two-year period of ineligibility, the standard sanction for a first offense involving a non-Specified Substance, began on November 8, 2017, the date her positive sample was collected

Payout Perspective:

A loss for the 30-year-old as she will not be able to return to the UFC until the fall of next year.  Stanozol is used as a performance enhancing drug and its unlikely that the women’s bantamweight had a viable excuse for why it showed up on her test.

Barnett receives only reprimand, no suspension, in USADA Arbitration hearing

March 23, 2018

Josh Barnett became the first UFC athlete to win an appeal through the UFC Anti-Doping Policy as a the opinion issued on Friday gave the heavyweight “no period of ineligibility.”  He only received a public reprimand but no suspension for the flagged drug test.

Josh Barnett wins USADA Arbitration by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd


Barnett tested positive for a banned substance as a result of an out-of-competition sample on December 9, 2016.  The sample tested positive for Ostarine.

Barnett noted that he was routinely taking dietary supplements “to maintain his conditioning as an elite athlete.”  The opinion notes he took 17 supplements prior to providing the sample that came up positive for Ostarine.  Tributestin 750 was one of the supplements that was supposed to contain only Tribulus Terrestris.  Tribulus is not a Prohibited Substance.  “It is claimed to naturally support the production of testosterone among other positive health attributes.”

Through working with USADA, it was discovered through the process of supplement examination that Barnett’s Tributestin was contaminated with Ostarine.  After testimony at the hearing, USADA conceded that the source of the Ostarine found in Barnett’s out-of-competition samples were from Tributestin as the product was contaminated.  With this concession which USADA seemed to admit from the outset and confirmed with Barnett’s testimony, the case “became one of the Applicant being the victim of a Contaminated Product with a Prohibited Substance.”

Barnett’s prior history of failed drug tests was discussed and the matter of whether this was a second infraction of the UFC ADP.  However, the arbitrator determined that a drug sample taken by the California State Athletic Commission

Notably, Barnett, gave the UFC notice that he was taking a “leave of absence” on December 14, 2016.  Two weeks later, his A sample came up positive for Ostarine.

The arbitration hearing took place on March 6, 2018, 14 months after his sample was taken.  The Arbitrator seemed to be persuaded by Barnett’s testimony as he described his detail in trying to make sure that he was compliant with USADA rules.  Notably, after his dealings with the CSAC, he devised a practice of “keeping each original container of any supplement he used and ensuring that a small portion of its content remained and could be analyzed.”  This seemed to sway the trier of fact.

The Arbitrator noted:  “I find this Applicant to be a very meticulous and careful person.  In my experience as an arbitrator of hundreds of doping cases I have never heard testimony from an individual who has taken so much care to record his supplement regime in order to avoid the very problem he is now experiencing.

Payout Perspective:

Barnett’s prior fallout from drug issues was the reason that saved him here.  It was his cataloguing of what he takes plus the samples he had that persuaded USADA.  Could the system be fabricated?  Yes, but the presentation seemed to be compelling to the trier of fact.  So, it was not just cooperation plus providing all of the supplements to USADA, but the original bottles and samples taken which likely ensured that Barnett would not be suspended.  While it was curious that Barnett announced leaving the UFC for a time two weeks prior to his notice of his drug test results, it seemed to be of no consequence in the final conclusion.

April 10th NAC hearing to determine Canelo-GGG II after Alvarez temporarily suspended

March 23, 2018

ESPN reports Canelo Alvarez has been temporarily suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission after testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.  A hearing on April 10th will determine the fate of the rematch between Canelo and Gennady Golovkin.

Alvarez tested positive for clenbuterol in random urine tests conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association in Mexico on February 17th and February 20th.  Per commission regulations, the suspension was issued.  Alvarez claims that the positive tests were from eating contaminated beef due to a substance included in cattle feed because it helps reduce fat and increase lean muscle mass.  The substance is banned in the United States.

After the positive tests, the commission has required that Canelo take more tests as well as submit to questioning at the April 10th hearing.

The rematch with GGG set for May 5th is in jeopardy based on the commission findings next month.

Payout Perspective:

Cynically, we all feel that the commission will not step in the way of a fight that drew 1.3 million PPV buys and a gate of over $27 million.  If the commission granted Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor to change the size of their boxing gloves a couple weeks prior to the fight, I think your hotel reservations for Cinco de Mayo weekend are safe.  While the two positive tests may be of concern, I would think that Canelo and his camp will be able to devise a good explanation (backed by some evidence) regarding the positive tests.

Bantamweight flagged for potential USADA violation

March 20, 2018

UFC bantamweight Augusto Mendes has been notified by USADA regarding a potential violation from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 7, 2018.  His upcoming fight with Merab Dvalishvili at UFC Fight Night 128 has been scrapped.

Per the UFC.com web site:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Augusto Mendes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 7, 2018.  Due to the proximity of Mendes’ upcoming scheduled bout at UFC FIGHT NIGHT: BARBOZA vs. LEE in Atlantic City, New Jersey on April 21, 2018 against Merab Dvalishvili , Mendes has been removed from the card and the UFC is currently seeking a replacement.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Mendes. 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 35-year-old last fought in April 2017 in a loss to Aljamain Sterling at UFC on Fox:  Johnson vs. Reis.  He is 1-2 in the UFC but also an accomplished BJJ player.  This is Mendes’ first flagged test which could lead to a 2-year suspension.

Calvillo claims loss of Body Armor sponsorship after positive test for marijuana

March 20, 2018

Cynthia Calvillo claims that Body Armor dropped her as a sponsor as a result of her drug-test failure for marijuana at UFC 219.  Calvillo is serving a 6 month suspension from USADA and was given an additional 3 months from the Nevada Athletic Commission for the infraction.

In an interview Monday on The MMA Hour, Calvillo admitted to the use of marijuana which led to a drug test failure after her loss to Carla Esparza.  Calvillo was doled a 6-month suspension by USADA for a test that was over the allowable limit for marijuana and its metabolites.  However, the Nevada Athletic Commission gave her a 9-month suspension and fined her 15% of her fight earnings from December’s bout.

Calvillo stated in her interview that she was told that her usage on Christmas Eve prior to her December 30th fight would be fine.  Calvillo holds a medicinal marijuana card.  In California, where she resides, marijuana use is legal for medicinal and recreational purposes.  However, it is still a banned substance per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy guidelines and the Nevada Athletic Commission.

She believes that her sponsorship with Body Armor was rescinded due to the suspension.

Payout Perspective:

Calvillo’s loss of a sponsorship is unfortunate for the budding star.  It shows that there are companies that may be conservative with the people it chooses to represent it in public.  Notably, Kobe Bryant, the former NBA star was on trial for sexual assault, is a big investor in the company.  Yet, many companies have moral clauses which they may sever a sponsorship due to infractions like this.  Thus, its upon Calvillo to ensure that she does not get into any issues like failing a drug test.

NAC give Calvillo 3 more months in addition to USADA suspension

March 14, 2018

Cynthia Calvillo received an additional three-month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission per MMA Junkie.  She was fined 15 percent of her disclosed $41,000 purse ($6,150) in addition to $436.08 in attorney’s fees.

USADA suspended Calvillo six-months for an in-competition drug test at UFC 219 that revealed marijuana metabolites in excess of the allowable limit of 180 ng/mL.  However, she was still subject to discipline from the NAC

She must now submit a clean drug test for steroids and diuretics 30, 15 and three days prior to receiving another fight license in Nevada.

Under the USADA suspension, her discipline would have been able to be reduced by three months if she had taken a drug education course.

Payout Perspective:

The additional suspension identifies an issue with double jurisdiction.  Even if Calvillo were to complete an approved drug course from USADA, thus reducing her suspension, the question of whether she can apply for a license in Nevada sooner may be in an issue. According to the Junkie article, she cannot apply for another license until September 30th.  Or, can she fight within 6 months in any state aside from Nevada?  The additional 3 months and fines also reflect the stance Nevada has on the use of marijuana which in itself is controversial.

 

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