Exonerated after USADA arbitration, Barnett sues supplement maker

April 10, 2018

Josh Barnett has sued the supplement maker that he took which led to a finding of a banned substance by USADA. Barnett prevailed at arbitration with USADA which did not suspend the UFC Heavyweight any amount of time.

Barnett has sued BIOKOR, LLC, which does business as GENKOR, N101, Inc. and owners Mark Wilcox and Alex Lasbroas individually in the Superior Court of Los Angeles.

Despite proving that he did not knowingly take a banned substance, it took over a year for the process of investigation to take place.  The arbitration took place in early March.  Barnett was suspended for a December 9, 2016 infraction which was determined to be ostarine.

Fortunately for Barnett, he kept a detailed accounting of supplements which led to the finding that a supplement by the name of Tributestin purchased at a store in Los Angeles contained ostarine although it was not labeled on the product.

Barnett has sued for Negligence, Strict Products Liability, Breach of Implied Warranty and Breach of Express Warranty.

Payout Perspective:

Lyman Good, Yoel Romero and now Josh Barnett have sued supplement makers after they were flagged by USADA for findings of banned substances.  The claim is that the supplements were tainted and did not contained the banned substance on their label.  These lawsuits will be interesting to keep track of as this may be defense for a fighter flagged by USADA.

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.

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.

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.

 

Cro Cop’s end around his USADA drug suspension

March 10, 2018

Should Cro Cop have served his USADA suspension in full?

Bellator announced that Mirko Cro Cop would be facing Roy Nelson at Bellator 200 in London on May 25th.  Cro Cop “retired” in November 2015 in lieu of serving a two-year ban for violations of the UFC’s anti-doping program.  Cro Cop admitted to the use, attempted use and possession of human growth hormone following an out-of-competition test.  He was eventually released from the company.

But, Cro Cop did not retire, and in fact fought for Rizin FF in Japan.  Despite the inference that the USADA ban would be honored by other promotions and athletic regulators, it has not happened.

According to an MMA Junkie article, it’s still unclear on whether there will be an issue with Cro Cop obtaining a license.  Association of Boxing Commissions and Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation president Mike Mazzulli noted that he still considers Crop Cop “in the process of being licensed, and therefore subject to immediate drug tests.”  Yet, that does not answer the question about the USADA suspension.  Mohegan will be the regulator for Bellator in May for the London event.  It’s not clear as to if a fighter sits out a sanction but fights in an unregulated promotion, then comes back after the time of the sanction if they must adhere to the remaining time suspended.

Mazulli assumes that if they are able to drug test Cro Cop, the commission is likely to view the suspension served.

Payout Perspective:

Cro Cop’s suspension was issued in 2015 and since its March 2018, one might argue that the USADA suspension has been served.  Or has it?  Cro Cop was active during the two-year period in which he was supposed to be inactive.  So, we see the end-around with drug testing.  While one might not think this is an issue, it could come to a head with Bellator as more and more past-UFC fighters become available.  There is no consistent, regulatory drug-testing protocol or policy in place to deal with these issues.  While it is a product of the UFC’s proactive drug testing policy, Bellator must address what it will do in these grey areas.  Or, if it will not do anything at all.

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