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.

Rothwell notified of potential USADA violation

March 8, 2017

UFC Heavyweight Ben Rothwell has been notified of a potential UFC Anti-Doping Violation as USADA has flagged an out-of-competition sample from February 6th.  Rothwell was scheduled to face Fabricio Werdum at UFC 211 on May 13 in Dallas.

Per the UFC Anti-Doping policy, Rothwell is provisionally suspended pending the USADA investigation.

MMA Fighting obtained a statement from Rothwell which indicates he has been under the care of a physician and is “trying to overcome a medical illness.”

The UFC issued its standard statement when a fighter is provisionally suspended by USADA.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that we may have another case where a fighter will need to seek out a retroactive TUE due to the fact they ingested something that is on the prohibited list.  We’ll see if USADA is responsive.

Villante receives retroactive TUE exemption

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

Lawlor accepts two-year USADA suspension

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:

Payout Perspective:

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.

Cyborg cleared to return

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.

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

For the second time, Lesnar retires from UFC

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

Cyborg requests retroactive TUE

February 12, 2017

Cris “Cyborg” Justino is requesting a retroactive Therapeutic Use Exemption  according to an ESPN report.  Justino’s out-of-competition drug test was flagged by USADA this past December.

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

USADA declares “no fault” finding for fighter’s use of meldonium

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

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