Magny reveals reason for withdrawal from Luque fight

May 14, 2019

UFC middleweight Neil Magny revealed that the reason that he had to pull out of his scheduled bout this Saturday was due to notification from USADA that he was being flagged for a potential violation.

Magny announced via social media that he received an email from USADA that an “out of competition” test on May 5th revealed the banned substance of Di-Hydroxy-LGD-4033.  It is an investigational Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) for treatment of conditions such as muscle wasting and osteoporosis.  Notably, University of Florida quarterback (at the time) Will Grier was suspended for testing positive for the substance.  NBA player (also UF alum) Joakim Noah was banned twenty games for testing positive for the use.

 

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As many of you know, I had to withdraw from my sceduled bout against Vicente Luque on Saturday, May 18th. I want to apologize to him, as I know how difficult it is to lose an opponent days out from a fight. Throughout my MMA career I have been very transparent. I am not afraid to admit when I am in the wrong. On Saturday, May 11, 2019, I recieved an email from USADA stating that I have failed an “out of competition drug test” due to the banned substance “Di-Hydroxy-LGD-4033”. I am fully cooperating with USADA to determine how this substance was found in the sample I provided them on May 5, 2019. I have always been an advocate for the strict drug testing in the UFC, even to the extent of opting for my collected samples to be used for research purposes by USADA. I know without a doubt that I have done everything according to the standards set by USADA. I have faith in USADA that this situation will resolved in a timely manner and that I will be cleared of any wrong doing. To all of my fans and supporters, thank you. I assure you that I have not let you down.

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In the example of Noah, an article reporting on the finding claimed he had unintentional made a mistake and that certain dietary supplements may contain the banned substance.

Payout Perspective:

Due to the rule which precludes the announcement of flagged tests, it was not known why Magny pulled out of his co-main event fight against Vinente Luque.  Like other fighters in this position, Magny decided to make the announcement himself rather than let speculation continue over his status.  He is working with USADA so one would hope that if the finding is through a tainted supplement, he is given the benefit of the doubt like others before him.  Magny’s public reveal of this issue shows his transparency which makes him much more credible with USADA and the fans.

Harris threatens lawsuit against supplement maker/distributor after serving USADA suspension

May 2, 2019

UFC Heavyweight Walt Harris states that he will take legal action against the maker and distributor of a supplement that caused him to be suspended per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

A win over Andrei Arlovski was overturned due to the failed USADA test.  It was discovered that a supplement he ingested was tainted with the anabolic agent LGD-4033.

Harris, speaking to reporters this week ahead of his upcoming fight against Sergey Spivak, he indicated that he was upset about his reputation being damaged.  Issues of jurisdiction remain a question prior to filing of Harris’ lawsuit according to his representatives.

In recent memory, Lyman Good and Tim Means have filed lawsuits against supplement makers and distributors based on their USADA suspensions.  Both cases are still pending New York and New Mexico respectively.

USADA had reduced its mandatory two-year sentence for a first offense to four months due to mitigating circumstances as Harris worked with USADA and was able to pinpoint the supplement which caused the issue. It was Harris’ first offense.

Payout Perspective:

While Harris may have viable claims, the question will be whether he will want to endure the time and cost it will take for him to go through a lawsuit.  Also, is he willing to disclose information about his earnings to recover damages and restore his name?  Harris received just a 4-month suspension and had his win reversed to a no-contest. Damages may be minimal as opposed to the legal costs involved.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

UFC Heavyweight punished four months for banned dietary supplement

April 22, 2019

UFC Heavyweight Walt Harris has accepted a four-month sanction for utilizing a banned substance.  Due to his cooperation with USADA, Harris’ suspension was reduced to just four months and he will be able to return to the Octagon on April 30th.

Via USADA:

Harris, 35, tested positive for LGD-4033 as the result of an in-competition urine sample he provided on December 29, 2018 that was collected by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) at UFC 232 in Inglewood, Calif. LGD-4033 is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy (UFC ADP), which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

Following notification of his positive test, Harris provided USADA with information about a dietary supplement product he was using before and at the time of the relevant sample collection. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label, analysis conducted on both the open and independently sourced, unopened containers of the product by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, indicated that the product contained LGD-4033.

Although not stated in the report, there is an over the counter supplement known as Ligandrol which claims to build muscle mass.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that this is another case of where the athlete just didn’t know that a banned substance was in the supplement because it was not on the label of ingredients.  Fortunately for Harris, he has served his short suspension without losing out on any fights as it was unlikely he’d have come back this soon after his December fight.

UFC lightweight returns from six-month USADA suspension from contaminated supplement

April 11, 2019

UFC lightweight Mairbek Taisumov has accepted a six-month suspension from USADA for testing positive for a prohibited substance.  Taisumov indicated that the failed test was likely due to a contaminated dietary supplement.

Stanozolol metabolites were found in an in-competition urine sample he provided at UFC Fight Night in Moscow, Russia this past September.

Via USADA release:

Following notification of his positive test, Taisumov provided USADA with information about dietary supplement products he was using before and at the time of the relevant sample collection. USADA obtained open packages of the dietary supplements and collaborated with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to source unopened packages from Russia. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement labels, product analysis conducted on both the open and independently sourced, unopened packages of the products by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, indicated that they all contained stanozolol.

The 30-year-old’s period of ineligibility began on October 8, 2018 when he was put on his provisional suspension.

Payout Perspective:

 Taisumov did not miss too much time as he is able to return to the Octagon this month.  The contaminated product was verified by the WADA-accredited lab reflecting that the supplement did not indicate on the label that it had a banned substance, yet it did.  An issue that punishes the fighter despite reading product labels.

Lifetime ban issued to UFC heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov

April 1, 2019

USADA announced its first lifetime ban as a result of violations of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy as UFC heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov was issued the sanction for his second and third violations.

 

The 32-year old was 3-0 in the UFC but his last fight was in October 2015 as he posted a unanimous decision win over Shawn Jordan.

 

Previously, Magomedov received a two-year sanction from USADA for the presence of ostarine in a September 2016 test.  He had claimed that he was using a contaminated supplement but USADA could not confirm this allegation.  The case (along with that of Zubaira Tukhgov) were consolidated and went to arbitration where USADA prevailed.

Via USADA press release:

Magomedov, 32, received a second violation after he tested positive for methyltestosterone metabolite 17α-methyl-5β-androstan-3α, 17β-diol, as well as stanozolol metabolites 3’-hydroxystanozolol-O-glucuronide, 16β-hydroxystanozolol-O-glucuronide, and stanozolol-N-glucuronide, as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on October 10, 2018. Methyltestosterone and stanozolol are non-Specified Substances 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 (WADA) Prohibited List.

Magomedov refused to take a sample collection from a request by a doping control officer during an out-of-competition test on February 5, 2019.  As indicated by the release, the refusal or failure to submit to a sample collection without compelling justification is grounds for a doping violation.

Payout Perspective:

This is the harshest penalty doled out by USADA as Magomedov is now permanently gone from the UFC unless he appeals the decision.  One might infer that his refusal to take the February 5, 2019 random drug test meant that he was concerned that he would test positive and instead of submitting to a test he decided not to do it.

Court dismisses all but one claim in Mark Hunt’s lawsuit against the UFC

February 14, 2019

In a 28-page order filed on Thursday, the United States District Court of Nevada dismissed all but one of UFC fighter Mark Hunt’s claims in his lawsuit alleging among its claims breach of contract, fraud and RICO Violations against the UFC.

The Order dismissed White and Lesnar in the lawsuit  leaving just the UFC as the lone defendant.  For background of the case, you can go here.

An analysis of the Motion to Dismiss hearing is here.

Order on Motion to Dismiss by on Scribd

The Court had allowed Hunt the right to amend his Complaint to include further details supporting his claims under RICO Act violations and fraud. However, the Court was not persuaded by Hunt’s amended and supplemental complaint.

In total, 9 out of the 10 claims in Hunt’s lawsuit were dismissed.

The Court determined that Hunt’s claims under the state and federal RICO statutes failed because either the allegations were “non-cognizable damages or failed to plead facts to show” a proximate cause to his financial losses.

The Court specifically took aim at Hunt’s loss to Lesnar at UFC 200.  The Court did not agree with Hunt that due to his loss to Lesnar, it proximately caused ancillary injuries to Hunt including cancelled promotional events post-UFC 200 costing him over $90,000 in appearance fees, a “dip” in his social media popularity and diminished advertising fees as well as a loss of licensing fees and sales for his personal clothing brand.   Here, the Court could not side with Hunt and believed that his RICO allegations failed for lack of proximate cause as they were “fatally speculative.”

In response to Hunt’s arguments that it could introduce expert testimony at a later stage of litigation to show the causation, the Court cited to precedent which stated that “it does not mean that the mere possibility of expert testimony down the line can rehabilitate allegations that insufficiently establish proximate causation.”  Moreover, the Court concludes that his claims cannot prove that Hunt would have beaten Lesnar if he was not doping.

As for the allegations related to White and the UFC, the Court infers that Hunt relates his claim to the removal of his fight from UFC Fight Night 121 (“referred to as UFC 121 in the order”) after he wrote an article claiming to suffer from slurred speech and other maladies he attributes to fighting.  The Court found fatal defects in the pleading as this was the portion of his claim in his Supplemental Complaint.  But he did not provide sufficient notice to the defendants.  Nevertheless, the Court dismissed the claim as it believed that the costs he attributed to training camp as not financial losses that do not constitute damage to “tangible property” under the RICO statute.

The lack of proximate cause also proved fatal for Hunt’s claims against White for alleged “aiding and abetting” and common law fraud.  Here again the Court refers to the lack of evidence linking White’s representations including the claim Lesnar was being tested by USADA with the alleged doping scheme.

The Court also dismissed Hunt’s breach of contract claim because he was paid for his fight against Lesnar at UFC 200.  In addition, the Court states that since Hunt’s damages relate to items that occurred after his loss, and not his contracted pay, the claim must be dismissed.

The Court determined that Hunt’s unjust enrichment claim must also fail because it stems from his contract with the UFC.  He received what he was owed in the contract and there is no compensation for Hunt’s perception that his services exceeded the scope of the contract.

Hunt’s battery and aiding and abetting claims fail because he consented to the fight with Lesnar.  Moreover, there was no evidence that Lesnar did anything outside “the range of the ordinary activity,” in an MMA bout.  The Court cites to a California case in which a pitcher intentionally threw a pitch at a batter’s head which injured the batter.  The Court sided with the pitcher stating that while throwing at a batter’s head is “forbidden by the rules of baseball,” it “is an inherent risk of baseball.”  By analogy, the Court states that even though Lesnar tested positive for a performance enhancing drug, there was no evidence submitted which revealed that he did something outside the scope of an MMA bout.  Thus, there is no battery claim against Lesnar.

Finally, the civil conspiracy claims must fail because the Court dismissed Hunt’s fraud and battery claims.  Since the underlying claims were dismissed, there cannot be a conspiracy claim.

The Court also authorized the remaining parties (i.e., UFC and Hunt) to attend a settlement conference.  In all likelihood, the parties will settle.

Payout Perspective:

In all likelihood, this case will be over after the settlement conference.  Cases for breaches of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing in contract have a low likelihood of victory for the plaintiff.  Based on the Court’s opinion which dismissed Hunt’s case for lack of proximate cause to his claims, it would only be a matter of time before Hunt’s last claim is dismissed.  This is an unfortunate result for Hunt.  While it’s clear that the allegations were tied together by a thread, it’s clear that he was tired of being put in the Octagon with opponents that failed drug tests. While Hunt may have had several good points in his lawsuit, the Court did not find anything of legal substance to keep the case afloat.  MMA Payout will keep you posted if there would be an appeal.

6 month USADA sanction for UFC flyweight

January 15, 2019

UFC flyweight Jennifer Maia accepted a six-month sanction for violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy after she tested positive for a contaminated dietary supplement.

Per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy:

Maia, 30, tested positive for furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide, and the thiazide metabolite 4-amino-6-chloro-1,3-benzenedisulfonamide (ACB), following an out-of-competition test conducted on August 16, 2018. These substances are Specified Substances in the class of Diuretics and Masking Agents and are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

During an investigation into the circumstances of her case, opened and sealed containers of a dietary supplement she was using at the time of the August 16, 2018 sample collection, and that she declared on her doping control form, were sent to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Brazil for analysis. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label, the analysis revealed that both contained the prohibited substances for which Maia tested positive. Accordingly, this product has been added to the High Risk List of supplements maintained on USADA’s online dietary supplement safety education and awareness resource – Supplement 411 (www.Supplement411.org). Further, USADA reminds athletes that dietary supplement products marketed for weight loss carry significant risk to contain prohibited prescription medications, such as diuretics.

Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code, the determination that an athlete’s positive test was caused by a contaminated product may result in a reduced sanction. The sanction for a doping offense resulting from the use of a contaminated product ranges from a reprimand and no period of ineligibility to a two-year period of ineligibility.

Maia’s period of ineligibility began on August 31, 2018.  Maia has had just one fight in the UFC, a loss to Liz Carmouche in July 2018 in Boise.  Prior t that, she was the Invicta FC Flyweight Champion.

Payout Perspective:

This is another situation where a contaminated supplement yields a sanction despite the fact the fighter had been forthcoming with the information for USADA.  It was clear based on the investigation that the supplement she took was contaminated.  Moreover, the supplement was not on the “high risk” list of supplements.  And while her suspension was reduced from two years to six months, it would seem that she would not have to serve any penalty based on the facts.

 

Paying $250K NAC fine still on list of things to do before Brock Lesnar returns to UFC

January 8, 2019

Will Brock Lesnar be returning to the UFC this year?  If so, he’ll need to pay his $250,000 fine assessed by the Nevada Athletic Commission for two failed drug tests from his participation at UFC 200 in July 2016.

Lesnar re-entered the USADA testing pool in July 2018 and after a period of ineligibility per USADA rules, he would be able to return to the Octagon by January 8th to compete.  Of course, Lesnar is not scheduled to fight on a card in the first half of the UFC year, but its anticipated that he’ll return in the heavyweight division at some point.

But the Nevada Athletic Commission is holding him on an indefinite suspension for the failed tests and unpaid fine.  In order for Lesnar to apply for a license to fight, he’ll need to pay the fine as well as submit clean drug tests at certain benchmarks prior to his next fight.

Lesnar last fought Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in July 2016.  An in-competition test revealed the banned substance clomiphene in Lesnar’s USADA tests.  The WWE superstar retired from the UFC in December 2016 but then returned to the USADA pool in July 2018.

Payout Perspective:

Probably nothing to worry about here since Lesnar will need to adhere to drug tests, etc. prior to returning to the UFC.  One may think that a July 2019 showdown against Daniel Cormier take place during International Fight Week.  Another alternative could see him face Jon Jones if the new light heavyweight champion decides to move up a weight class.  Regardless, when Lesnar returns to action, he’ll need to pay his fine to obtain his NAC license. And, of course, pass his USADA drug tests.

Drug maker in Lyman Good lawsuit moves to dismiss case for alleged destruction of evidence

January 5, 2019

The supplement company that UFC fighter Lyman Good has sued for allegedly causing him to fail a USADA drug test is now moving for his case to be dismissed because the evidence is no longer available.

Defendatns Gaspari Nutrition, Inc. and Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals filed the Motion to Dismiss on December 14th claiming that Good or his lawyer intentionally destroyed the supplement that was the cause of his flagged drug test.  Good faced a two-year ban for violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy but it was reduced to six months as he was able to pinpoint the source of the failed test.

Good tested positive for a banned substance in an October 14, 2016 out-of-competition test.

According to legal filings, Good was able to deduce that he had added two supplements since his last USADA test which came up negative for any banned substances.  One of these was Anavite sold by Gaspari Nutrition and made for Gaspari Nutrition by Hi-Tech.

Attorneys for Gaspari Nutrition and Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals claim that Good did not name Anavite as one of the thirteen substances that he was ingesting at the time of his failed USADA test.   They also cite that the bottle of Anavite that he used which failed the drug test is gone.  He first claimed he gave it to his attorney but his attorney later denied this.

Dismissing the case is a sanction premised upon the spoliation of evidence.  It is not a necessity that the Court dismiss the case, but it’s the defendant’s contention that either Good knowingly destroyed the bottle of Anavite, gave it to his attorney who claims he no longer has it and/or misplaced the evidence.

Defendants identify issues with Good’s previous Complaints which had factual errors as reasons which bring his reputation and veracity into question.  They note that after he failed the October 2016 USADA test, he had a duty to preserve the bottle of Anavite as evidence.

Payout Perspective:

In Good’s Opposition Brief due January 18, 2019, his attorney (and manager) David Fish, will have to address why he should not be disqualified as Good’s lawyer in this case.  Fish represented Good when working with USADA to determine the reasons for the flagged drug test.  Since Good indicated that he gave the bottle to his attorney but he stated he does not have it, the question of what happened to it is being raised by Defendants.  While this is a clear case of shifting the blame and issue, Defendants may have a viable argument since the attorney might have to be called as a witness.  As an attorney and officer of the court, if he had the bottle, he would have to provide it to the other side.  Good states that the bottle of Anavite was tainted with the banned substance.  Defendants want to access the bottle to determine for themselves.

The Court does not have to dismiss the case if the bottle of Anavite is not present, but they could choose another sanction in lieu of this if it is determined that the destruction was done on purpose or negligently.

MMA Payout will keep you updated.

MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 2 – Jon Jones returns to the UFC with controversy

December 31, 2018

Jon Jones returned to the UFC on Saturday night at UFC 232 at The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Forum in Inglewood, California.  He had a masterful performance in decimating Alexander Gustafsson was marred as we know.

Jones tested positive for Turinabol, the drug that caused his previous suspension.  It showed up in an early December test and later revealed to be in tests in August of 2018.  Despite these finding USADA and the California State Athletic Commission were adamant that they not destroy Jon Jones’ career due to failing a drug test.  CSAC did not know of the August tests prior to giving Jones his license back which seems all the shadier since USADA and the UFC knew of these findings but did not provide them to Andy Foster.

The CSAC required that Jones register with VADA to fight in California.  It was intimated at the hearing that California would pay for his enrollment.  Foster had chartered a plane to drug test Jones prior to his CSAC hearing.  But, the drug test was at a non-WADA authenticated drug lab in San Dimas, California according to an MMA Fighting report.

The event was moved on Sunday of fight week to LA from Vegas.  The cost to do this was $6 million according to Dana White at the pre-fight press conference in LA on Thursday.  Flights were chartered, a building was secured (how long in advance would be interesting to know) and schedules were rearranged.  The underlying innocent victim of this was the fans that flew to Vegas or were flying to Vegas and had booked hotel rooms.  They were out money and lost out.

The good news is that the SoCal fans, who lost a UFC event in January when the company postponed its January 26 PPV event, came through with a sellout at The Forum.

As for the drug tests, picograms were used as a talking point to show the small amount of banned substance in his system stating that this could not have yielded any performance enhancement.  This, in itself, would seem like a faulty argument if your goal is for zero tolerance of banned substances.  Still, this was the talking point shoved down the media’s throat.  And yet, when a journalist asked a question of Jones and his tests, the former and now current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion called for “better journalism.”

Similarly, he left an interview with TSN because it was “killing his vibe.”  For both instances of blissful ignorance, he apologized.

Jeff Novitsky did the media rounds on Joe Rogan and then one on Friday before the event.  While both were fine, it revealed a lot of issues with the UFC Anti-Doping Program.  Notably, it was clear that the UFC and USADA were defending Jon Jones.

Also of importance, the conclusion was that the UFC needed to move the fight to save the PPV.

Notwithstanding the issues with Jones (and we probably won’t know about his in-competition tests for a while), its clear that a showdown with Daniel Cormier is inevitable.  Despite Cormier relinquishing the Light Heavyweight title the day before the fight and retiring soon, it’s clear that the two are on a collision course.  It will be a big PPV fight but the questions will remain about Jones.

10. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 10 – The UFC Antitrust Lawsuit rolls on

9. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 9 – NLRB denies Leslie Smith claims against Zuffa

8. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 8 – Golden Boy promotes first MMA event

7. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 7 – DAZN enters sports streaming market

6. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 6 – Josh Barnett “wins” at USADA arbitration, but still leaves promotion

5. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 5 – PFL debuts

4. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 4 – ONE making moves, signs media deal with Turner

3. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 3 – UFC signs media rights deal with ESPN

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