Magomedov and Tukhgov accept 2-year sanctions for violating UFC Anti-Doping Policy

February 15, 2018

Ruslan Magomedov and Zubaira Tukhgov have accepted two-year sanctions for violating the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  They will be eligible to fight in the UFC in September 2018.

Both fighters accepted two-year suspension as a result of out-of-competition positive tests on September 7, 2016 revealing ostarine in their systems.

Tukhugov also tested positive for ostarine in an out-of-competition test on October 29, 2016.  USADA indicated that since the second positive test resulted from a sample that was collected before he was notified of his first positive test, they were treated as a single violation.

Via USADA:

Following notification of their positive tests, both Magomedov and Tukhugov claimed they had tested positive due to their use of a contaminated supplement, which USADA was unable to confirm at that time to justify a reduction from the maximum two-year period of ineligibility for a non-Specified Substance.

Magomedov and Tukhugov subsequently exercised their right to have their cases submitted to a neutral arbitrator for resolution.

Magomedov’s and Tukhugov’s cases were consolidated, allowing for a single presentation of the athletes’ defenses to the independent arbitrator. During a multi-day hearing, the athletes presented testimony and submitted evidence in an attempt to support their supplement contamination claims and request for a reduced period of ineligibility. Nevertheless, after two days of testimony, USADA informed Magomedov and Tukhugov that it was still unwilling to consider a reduced sanction because it did not believe supplement contamination was a valid explanation for their positive tests. Thereafter, and before the conclusion of the hearing, USADA and the athletes reached an agreement to resolve the case, with Magomedov and Tukhugov each accepting a two-year period of ineligibility and agreeing to contribute a total of $10,000 toward the costs of the arbitration proceedings.

Magomedov’s and Tukhugov’s two-year periods of ineligibility began on September 26, 2016, the date the first of the athletes’ provisional suspensions was imposed.

Both Russian fighters train out of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose.

Payout Perspective:

The settlement at time of arbitration likely means that the fighters’ case was not going well and the threat that an unfavorable ruling could have meant more of a penalty for both.  A two-year suspension means that they will be able to fight starting this September.  The arbitration hearing was the fourth of its kind under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  The athlete has never won an arbitration hearing since the policy was put in place.

Jon Jones CSAC hearing set for February 27th

February 14, 2018

The California State Athletic Commission will have a hearing in Anaheim on Tuesday, February 27th to address an appeal from Jon Jones’ doping violation and license suspension from UFC 214.  The agenda posted by the CSAC website confirmed the hearing.

Jones was suspended after winning the UFC Light Heavyweight title in Anaheim this past July.  An in-competition drug test revealed a positive test for the banned substance Turinabol.

In addition, Jones will have another USADA arbitration hearing to determine the failed drug test.

Jones’ manager, Malki Kawa indicated that a resolution should occur by the end of March.  He also told MMA Fighting’s Luke Thomas that there is a “95-percent chance Jones will fight before the conclusion of 2018.”

Perhaps being positive, Jones has posted training videos on his social media account.  So, maybe there’s some good news for the former champion.

Payout Perspective:

This case has been lingering for a while.  We note that the next CSAC meeting after February is in May so if there is no resolution in a couple weeks, barring a special meeting.  I am not sure how Kawa believes Jones can be back before the end of 2018.  As a second-time offender, the UFC Anti-Doping Policy can hand down a 4-year ban to Jones.  His team denies he knowingly took the substance but even if that’s a mitigating factor, the team seems confident Jones will just receive a 1-year suspension.  Yet, he’d have to navigate both the CSAC and USADA hearings.  Jones seemed confident last time he was suspended, we will see if he has a better case this time around.

Bantamweight accepts one-year sanction from USADA for banned diuretic

February 5, 2018

Carls John de Tomas has accepted a one-year sanction for testing positive for a diuretic prohibited by the UFC anti-doping policy.

The Filipino fighter tested positive for furosemide on December 8, 2017 before his bout at the UFC Fight Night event in Fresno, California.

Via USADA:

Furosemide is a Specified Substance in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

De Tomas’ one-year period of ineligibility began on December 29, 2017, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. The athlete’s positive test also falls under the jurisdiction of the California State Athletic Commission, which has also sanctioned De Tomas with a one-year suspension and a $2,500 fine.

Pursuant to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, all UFC athletes serving a period of ineligibility for an anti-doping policy violation are required to continue to make themselves available for testing in order to receive credit for time completed under their sanction.

The 21-year-old lost to Alex Perez at UFC Fight Night 123 on December 9th.

Payout Perspective:

It was just the second fight for De Tomas in the UFC which may be another reason to wonder if fighters just starting in the UFC are more susceptible to failing a drug tests due to lack of knowledge or education of the UFC anti-doping policy.  De Tomas was also fined $2,500 by the California State Athletic Commission which is harsh for a fighter that just made $10,000 from his loss.

UFC Heavyweight accepts 1 year USADA ban

February 1, 2018

UFC Heavyweight James Mulheron has accepted a 1 year suspense from the UFC.  Mulheron tested positive for clomiphene and its metabolite.

 

Mulheron just had one fight in the UFC, a loss at UFC Fight Night 113 this past July in Glasgow, Scotland.  Prior to that he fought primarily in England.  He was scheduled to fight again at the UFC event in China this past November but an out-of-competition test was flagged and he was taken off the card.

Via USADA:

Mulheron, 29, tested positive for clomiphene and its metabolite, hydroxyclomiphene, following an out-of-competition urine test conducted on November 10, 2017. Clomiphene is a Specified Substance in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

Clomiphene is not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the male population, as its use has not been thoroughly studied for safety and efficacy. Clomiphene also indirectly promotes the secretion of testosterone. Increasing testosterone, especially when combined with strength training, has been demonstrated to increase fat-free mass, muscle size, and strength in males, potentially leading to performance enhancement in sport.

Mulheron’s one-year period of ineligibility began on November 17, 2017, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. As a result of his positive test, Mulheron was removed from the Card for the UFC Fight Night event in Shanghai, China, scheduled for November 25, 2017.

Payout Perspective:

The one-year ban seems as though Mulheron got off the hook fairly easy considering most of his MMA career occurs in England.  Even if he does not fight this year, Mulheron will need only wait until next fall to fight again.  The flagged tests seem to capture a lot of first or second time fighters which may be a result of lack of education on the program or a fighter not realizing the demands of drug testin.

Light heavyweight flagged by USADA

January 25, 2018

Coming off of a victory last month in his debut with the organization at UFC 219, Michal Oleksiejczuk was put on provisional suspension after an in-competition test was flagged for a potential banned substance.

Oleksiejczuk defeated Khalil Rhountree via unanimous decision.

Via UFC.com:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Michal Oleksiejczuk of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected in conjunction with his recent bout against Khalil Roundtree at UFC 219 in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 30, 2017.

Payout Perspective:

Bad news for the 22-year old who was 12-2 prior to entering the UFC.  The report does not indicate the banned substance so we will wait and see if he will mount a defense.

Rivera issued 4 years ban for submitting false evidence to USADA

January 21, 2018

Francisco Rivera was handed a 4-year suspension from the UFC for “aggravating circumstances” stemming from a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  The arbitrator determined that Rivera knowingly took clenbuterol and attempted to falsify evidence to conceal the wrongdoing.

A USADA arbitrator issued the ruling on Friday.

USADAv.rivera Award by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The arbitration is a result of a flagged urine sample taken from Rivera on July 23, 2016.  The A and B samples contained clenbuterol, a Prohibited Substance that is not a Specified Substance.  At the time, Rivera was preparing for a fight on July 30th

Notably, at about the same time, UFC welterweight Li Jingliang avoided punishment for a positive test of clenbuterol when it was determined that it was due to consuming contaminated meat in China.  Hoping to obtain the same outcome, Rivera claimed that it was possible that the positive finding was due to consuming meat at a family barbecue in Mexico.  In order to bolster his alibi, he produced a receipt from a Costco, a falsified bank statement and two falsified witness statements claiming that he was in Mexico visiting family.

As part of the investigation, USADA sent a representative from New York to Los Angeles to accompany Rivera to a local Chase bank branch to obtain a bank statement to confirm the authenticity of the receipt.  However, Rivera did not show up and when his attorney attempted to contact him, the fighter did not respond.  At that point, his attorney threatened to withdraw from representation due to his failure to show up at an agreed time.  USADA informed the arbitrator of what had happened and soon thereafter Rivera emailed USADA stating he was in Mexico.  It was later determined that he was actually in San Diego.

In order to save himself, Rivera claimed that his attorney had falsified the information in the Arbitration Brief.  But, the Arbitrator did not buy it.  Even though there were circumstantial facts, the Arbitrator notes the short notice of his bout in mid-June, the proximity of time (July 23) that the test was taken to his fight on July 30th and the nature of the finding led to the conclusion that Rivera used clenbuterol to lose weight while maintaining strength and endurance.

The Arbitrator found that Rivera did not meet his burden to show that the period of ineligibility should be reduced to less than two years based on the alibi that he used tainted supplements or ate tainted meat from Mexico.

 

The Arbitrator notes that USADA does not cite a definition for “aggravating circumstances” in its Arbitration brief which is meant to enhance a punishment.  Also, the UFC Anti-Doping Policy does not define “intentional” for purposes of the “aggravating circumstances” definition.  This might provide a sliver of hope for Rivera if he determines to appeal the 4-year sentence.  Yet, the Arbitrator found sufficient evidence to add on 2 years to the requisite 2 for a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

The good news for Rivera was that the Arbitrator noted that the parties bear their own attorney fees and costs.  Certainly, the flight for USADA to go from NY to LA to meet Rivera could have been an expensive cost for Rivera.

Payout Perspective:

This was a case that USADA is using as an example of what happens if you attempt to beat the system.  The attempts by the 36-year-old Rivera to falsify evidence is not only against the rules, it may have put the attorney in trouble for the claim that he attempted to falsify evidence in a proceeding.  Even if it was not in court, an administrative hearing likely carries the same ethical penalties for misrepresentation and falsifying evidence.  The punitive nature of the 4 years is warranted in this case considering the circumstances of the investigation with Rivera not showing up at an agreed upon meeting at a bank and admitting to falsifying the bank records.  Of course, the underlying was that Rivera attempted to use the banned substance to make weight for a fight he was taking on short notice which was also the last fight on his contract.  So, there was pressure to win in his last fight.  The fact he took it on short notice may be a consequence of needing the money.

Calvillo flagged by USADA for marijuana metabolites

January 17, 2018

USADA has flagged Cynthia Calvillo following an in-competition test taken in conjunction with her fight at UFC 219 last month.  The test showed traces of marijuana metabolites exceeding the decision limit by USADA.

Calvillo lost a split decision to Carla Esparza in a battle of strawweight contenders.  It was her first loss of her professional career.

Via UFC’s statement on Calvillo:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Cynthia Calvillo 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 her recent bout in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 30, 2017, UFC 219: Cyborg vs. Holm.

Payout Perspective:

What a bad turn of events for the 30-year old Calvillo who may negotiate with USADA for a reduction of her suspension.  You might recall that Kelvin Gastelum was given just a 90-day suspension after he was flagged by USADA in April 2017.  This could be a blow for a promising star and the UFC’s strawweight division.  We shall see if she will receive a light sentence similar to Gastelum.

Yoel Romero sues supplement maker that caused USADA suspension

January 16, 2018

Forbes reports that Yoel Romero has filed a lawsuit for negligence against Goldstar Performance Products in New Jersey Superior Court.  Romero is blaming the supplement maker for his USADA positive drug test for Ibutamoren which the middleweight served a 6-month suspension.

Romero used the product Shred Rx.  It appears that the supplement was used to help in the weigh-cutting process.

According to a description on the company web site:

‘Shed RX is an extremely powerful herbal diuretic designed to help the body dramatically eliminate excess water retention from beneath the skin. This maximum strength botanical formula also supplies the proper balance of vital electrolytes, which can help maintain muscle performance and muscle fullness. So if you are looking to get ready for that big show or just need to lose a few pounds of water weight for the beach or special event, then Shed RX is the product for you!

The supplement contained “approximately 5 micrograms per capsule” of Ibutamoren according to his complaint.

When his suspension was announced, it was noted that Romero took a contaminated supplement.  Based upon the Forbes retelling of Romero’s complaint, it appears that he had informed USADA of the drug believed to have caused the flagged test and an independent purchase of the product revealed that the capsules contained “approximately 12 micrograms [of Ibutamoren] per capsule.”  The supplement did not list this ingredient on the supplement which is the reason for the lawsuit.

Romero has a fight set with Luke Rockhold for the UFC middleweight interim title on February 10 at UFC 221.

Payout Perspective:

This is the second such lawsuit involving a supplement as Lyman Good sued a vitamin makerhe took and the store that sold the product due to a failed USADA test.  It will be an interesting case considering the lawsuit is based on negligence rather than strict liability.  Under a theory of negligence, Romero must prove that he was owed a duty as a customer to rely on the supplement’s list of ingredients and that the company failed to provide its customer with this information causing injury.  In products liability involving strict liability cases, there need not be a finding of fault, only that the defendant was responsible.  It appears that Romero is claiming that the company was careless in allowing the inclusion of the banned substance.  There are several defenses here.  But, look for the supplement maker to defend this case claiming the lack of foreseeability in that Romero would have taken such product and causing his claimed damages.

Brazilian strawweight, Ribas, accepts USADA 2-year suspension

January 10, 2018

24-year-old Brazilian strawweight Amanda Ribas accepted a two-year suspension from USADA for violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  Her Octagon career has stalled before it even started.

The suspension comes from an out-of-competition test on June 7, 2017 as she was training for the TUF Finale in Vegas on July 7, 2017.  Ribas tested positive for Ostarine.  It is a non-specified substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  According to the press release, “Ostarine is not currently available as a prescription medication in any country, and its unauthorized use may carry serious side effects.”

Payout Perspective:

Prior to her signing with the UFC Ribas was 6-1 in her professional career with 4 KOs and 2 submissions.  In the new year, it will be interesting to see how much of an effort that UFC and USADA does with incoming fighters with education on supplements.  While its not known what occurred with Ribas, there have been several fighters that have been flagged before or immediately after their UFC debut.

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.

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