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.
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.
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:
Anyone that knows how to analyze lab results, go ahead and have some fun=) Career ending levels of ostarine! pic.twitter.com/JgIH8qONLb
— Tom Lawlor (@FilthyTomLawlor) February 25, 2017
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.
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.
I am extremely happy that USADA took the time to carefully review the detailed TUE application that I submitted,… https://t.co/QsjnvedqYP
— #UFCRIO (@criscyborg) February 17, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
February 12, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
February 3, 2017
UFC middleweight Ricardo Abreu has retired from MMA after receiving another notice of a possible violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Abreau, already serving a 2-year ban, admits that he’ll probably fail this test and is leaving the sport. He cites depression as one of the reasons for his downfall.
A portion of the UFC statement on Abreu’s second flagged test reads:
The UFC organization was formally notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Ricardo Abreu of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection taken on December 21, 2016.
Abreu is currently serving a two-year suspension under the UFC Anti-Doping Program, after the anabolic steroid metabolites 19-norandrosterone (19-NA) and 19-noretiocholanolone were detected in a sample collected from Abreu on June 3, 2016. Under his current suspension, Abreu is not eligible to return to competition until July 1, 2018.
According to MMA Fighting, Abreu suffered from depression and his decision to retire is to focus on his health and his family.
Based on the backstory, it appears that Abreu was going through some financial uncertainty as well as career issues. This might be the excuse for the reason he took PEDs. Still, that should be no excuse as he put himself and others in danger by taking them.
February 2, 2017
UFC Heavyweight Justin Ledet has been notified of a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. Ledet’s fight this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 103 had been taken off the event.
The UFC statement on Justin Ledet:
The UFC organization was formally notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Justin Ledet of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on January 12, 2017.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed.
Consistent with all previous potential anti-doping violations, additional information or UFC statements will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Ledet was 2-0 in the UFC.
January 27, 2017
UFC lightweight George Sullivan became the first fighter to potentially become a two-time offender of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. He was flagged for a potential banned substance from an out-of-competition test on January 14, 2017.
At the time, Sullivan was serving a one-year ban due to declaring he took a prohibited substance prior to his fight at UFC on Fox 20 in July, 2016. He was given a provisional suspension. He professed his innocence in a Facebook post. Prior to his test of January 14th, he had never tested positive for a banned substance.
In another Facebook post, he stated that he was taking a male fertility drug and that was the reason for the flagged test. Sullivan claims that he is having his doctor provide the necessary information to USADA.
A portion of the UFC’s statement regarding Sullivan reads:
Sullivan is currently serving a one year suspension under the UFC Anti-Doping Program, for his use of a product containing the prohibited substance Insulin Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1). Sullivan was due to end his current suspension on January 31, 2017, and compete on the UFC 208 card in Brooklyn, New York, against Randy Brown. However, USADA has provisionally suspended Sullivan based on the new potential anti-doping violation, and the UFC has removed Sullivan from the UFC 208 card. The UFC is currently seeking a replacement to face Randy Brown.
Bad timing for Sullivan since he was due to get off of his one year ban and was scheduled to fight. This would be the second time that he’s prepared for a fight and then been pulled. Dependent on the prohibited substance, Sullivan’s transparency could mitigate some time from any suspension he may serve from this new finding. Regardless of what substance it may be, I don’t foresee USADA allowing this test to pass without another suspension. The question is whether this second suspension would carry a longer time away from the octagon.
January 25, 2017
In its second arbitration since the institution of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy,UFC Fighter Felipe Olivieri was handed a two year suspension after he was provisionally suspended for an Anti-Doping Policy Violation on March 10, 2016.
The decision can be found here.
The suspension is due to a failed out of competition test on January 11, 2016 while he was training Brazil. Notably, Olivieri’s brother died 5 days prior to the test occurring. Also of note, the test results were not discovered until after his January 30, 2016 fight against Tony Martin in which he lost by 3rd Round TKO. He took an in-competition test that night and those results were negative.
On March 4, 2016, the results of the A sample from the January 11th test came up positive for the presence of methyltestosterone metabolites, 5alpha-tetrahydromethyltestosterne and 5betatetrahydromethyltestosterne. On March 29, 2016, the B sample came back positive for 5alpha-tetrahydromethyltestosterne and 5betatetrahydromethyltestosterne.
Among his defenses, Olivieri challenged the accreditation of the lab that analyzed the tests as on June 24, 2016, WADA issued a press release announcing that it had suspended the accreditation of the Rio Laboratory “due to a non-conformity with the International Standard for Laboratories. Olivieri’s legal counsel argued that the samples had been mishandled by the lab staff and the chain of custody had been compromised citing the WADA suspension.
Under objections from Olivieri’s attorney, a Utah lab confirmed the results from the Rio Lab. Of course, Olivieri’s attorney claimed that the samples were already compromised and they could not render a conclusive result.
The arbitration panel stated that the fact that the suspension occurred in June 2016 and the results of the test happening on March 2016 does not negate the results. The panel noted the Utah lab had confirmed the Rio Lab’s results.
In the end the arbitrators determined Olivieri had failed to provide an acceptable explanation of why there was a positive result for testosterone. There were no mitigating circumstances and thus the “appropriate sanction” per the arbitrator was a 2 year suspension which will end on March 9, 2018.
This is the second arbitration result that yielded a result favorable to USADA. While Olivieri’s attorneys had procedural arguments to the reasons for his drug tests, they did not provide the ultimate answer for the arbitrator which was why Olivieri had the presence of testosterone androgens in his system. Perhaps his attorney was seeking a possible reduction of a two year suspension for the 31 year old fighter. Unfortunately for Olivieri, not only will he have to serve a suspension, he is out of pocket the legal fees necessary to challenge his Anti-Doping Policy Violation.