Augusto Mendes is released by UFC, signs with ACB despite pending anti-doping violation

June 9, 2018

The UFC has granted Augusto Mendes his release according to MMA Fighting.  Mendes was flagged back in March for a potential UFC anti-doping violation.  Mendes has signed with Absolute Championship Berkut of Russia.

Mendes claimed that he would appeal the drug test administered by USADA.  However, with one fight left on his UFC deal, he is no longer with promotion.

It is not clear whether he will compete before his USADA case is resolved.

Payout Perspective:

This signing has gone under the radar and may be something to track considering if ACB decides to honor the potential suspension.  One might infer that they will not considering the signing during this time.  Moreover, the UFC’s willingness to let him out of his contract may mean that it will no longer pursue disciplinary action against him but place the burden on other regulatory bodies to decide.  This is a similar situation to the Cro Cop/Bellator issue where a fighter finds alternative ways around the USADA suspension.  We will see what happens and if going to an organization that does not honor an anti-doping violation in another promotion, this may be a strategy by some that will look to circumvent the process.

Werdum flagged by USADA for anti-doping violation

May 22, 2018

The UFC announced on Tuesday that Fabricio Werdum has been notified of a potential anti-doping violation by USADA.  The flagged test is from an out-of-competition test taken on April 25th.

Werdum’s last fight was a knockout loss to Alexander Volkov at UFC Fight Night 127.  Werdum took to social media to proclaim his innocence stating that he’s always been careful with everything he takes.

Werdum’s flagged test comes just a day after he was announced to fight in the UFC’s debut in Moscow this September at UFC Fight Night 136.  With the adjudication process for USADA, it’s unlikely he will be cleared in time.

Payout Perspective:

Werdum’s claim that there was some error in the testing and that he’s always been careful brings into question how much fighter’s detail what types of supplements they are taking and where they are from.  The two-year penalty for the 40-year-old Werdum might spell the end of his career.

USADA open to explaining UFC anti-doping cases

April 26, 2018

USADA has indicated that it may be open to “reasoned decisions” when it comes to resolution of cases with a UFC fighter.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart told MMA Junkie that the agency would be open to providing the underlying facts of a case and provide context for how and why an agency makes the decision.  This would address questions about the reasons behind a resolution of a matter as well as acceptance of a suspension.  Currently, the standard procedure under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy is for USADA to provide a short press release confirming basic facts, a summary of the evidence (e.g., a failed urine test) and the sanction imposed.

The potential to provide more information would provide transparency behind the program and alleviate concern from fighters about USADA.  Of course, the new process would mean more time and resources spent to author these reports.  Also, the UFC has not chimed in on this either.

Payout Perspective:

If “reasoned decisions” would make fighters more willing to work with USADA and feel less threatened about the process, it should happen.  Of course, the time and resources spent to do this would mean additional costs borne upon Zuffa.  This would likely cut into the operational expenses of the company and one might infer you’d see this recouped in other ways.  But, the USADA policy is not going away and anyway to alleviate any concerns with fighters should be looked into.

Compounding pharmacies cause of 3 UFC fighters’ failed USADA tests

April 23, 2018

Junior dos Santos, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Marcos Rogerio de Lima have accepted six-month USADA suspensions after their supplements were traced back to compounding pharmacies that allegedly sold tainted supplements.

Compounding pharmacies prepare their medications onsite according to specifications contained in a written prescription instead of receiving their drug inventories like retail pharmacies and drugstores.

Via USADA release:

Despite their claims, the compounding pharmacies, located in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, sold contaminated supplements to Junior dos Santos Almeida and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who each tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, and Marcos Rogerio de Lima, who tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide and anastrozole. These substances are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

After testing supplements the athletes provided to USADA, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City confirmed the presence of multiple prohibited substances in the products. Through an ongoing investigation, USADA independently sourced supplements from the compounding pharmacies, which the Salt Lake City laboratory confirmed were also contaminated with hydrochlorothiazide, anastrozole, and several additional prohibited substances. Autoridade Brasileira de Controle de Dopagem (the Brazilian national anti-doping agency) and law enforcement agencies in Brazil assisted USADA’s investigation.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the athletes and international authorities in getting to the bottom of this situation, as it will hopefully prevent these problems from occurring in the future,” said Travis T. Tygart, CEO of USADA. “It’s unacceptable that these compounding pharmacies produced contaminated supplements for the public. And it’s another unfortunate example of why athletes must use extreme caution if using nutritional supplements. All too often, supplement products contain undeclared substances, including prohibited drugs, that can be dangerous to an athlete’s health. We are doing all we can to ensure that these types of suppliers are held accountable for introducing dangerous products like these into the marketplace.”

The contaminated products rule set forth in the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and the WADA Code provide the opportunity for a reduction in the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility if it is established that the positive test resulted from the use of a contaminated product.

“The rule recognizes that supplements can be a risk and also guards against unfounded and unfair reductions by requiring a thorough investigation of all claims of ‘contamination.’ The rule also ensures that athletes are not overly penalized when they have been diligent in what they use, and when it is proven the source of the positive is from a contaminated product, like in these cases,” Tygart said.

Following USADA’s investigation, Almeida, De Lima, and Nogueira, who all used compounded supplements at the direction of their respective physicians or nutritionists, each accepted reduced six-month periods of ineligibility that ended upon the resolution of their cases. As such, the athletes are immediately eligible to return to competition.

Given the evidence that compounding pharmacies can pose a threat to the health and safety of Brazilian athletes, as well as the public at large, USADA will continue working with law enforcement and regulatory agencies in Brazil to investigate the operations of the offending pharmacies.

Payout Perspective:

This is another example of the issues with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  While there is an overarching standard that the athletes are responsible for what they ingest, this case shows that this standard may be unfair.  JDS was taken off of a fight against Francis Ngannou at UFC 215 in September 2017, giving 8-10 months of unwanted inactivity to clear his name.  It does appear that there was cooperation from all 3 fighters in order to avoid an arbitration to oppose the ruling.  Yet, the time off, more than a 6 month suspension, cannot be regained.

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.

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.

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