UFC welterweight accepts 2 year sanction for cocaine use

October 16, 2018

USADA has announced that UFC UK fighter Bradley Scott has accepted a two-year sanction for violating the UFC Anti-Doping Program.  Scott tested positive for cocaine metabolites per an in-competition test.

Via USADA press release:

Scott, 29, tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, as the result of a urine sample he provided in-competition on May 27, 2018, at Fight Night 130 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Cocaine is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Stimulants and prohibited in-competition under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

USADA conducted a thorough investigation into Scott’s case and determined Scott had not provided verifiable evidence regarding the circumstances that led to his positive test. Scott’s two-year period of ineligibility, the standard sanction for a first offense involving a non-Specified Substance, began on July 3, 2018, the date his provisional suspension was imposed.

The former TUF Smashes contestant will not be able to return to the UFC until July 2020.

Payout Perspective:

The finding should be a disappointment for the 29-year-old welterweight who is 3-5 in the UFC and on a 2-fight losing streak.  Arguably, cocaine should not be considered a PED but a recreational drug.  It would be interesting to know if Scott would be required to attend some sort of education regarding the drug to ensure he does not have an issue with the drug.

O’Malley out of this UFC 229 due to failed drug test

October 1, 2018

Despite the fact that the UFC Anti-Doping Policy announced new rules which precludes an announcement from USADA about a failed drug test, Sean O’Malley revealed that he is going through an issue due to a positive showing for a banned substance.

 

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💔 Just a speed bump on the way to greatness.

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O’Malley, an up-and-coming, charismatic bantamweight that came to prominence through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender’s Series announced via social media that he was out of his fight this Saturday at UFC 229 against Jose Alberto Quinonez. 

As the post states, O’Malley believes that the banned substance may be a result of a contaminated substance.  The testing for this will take 30 days although the exact punishment for this is unknown.

Payout Perspective:

This is a blow for O’Malley’s opponent who will not receive a payday this weekend and will have to hope he can get another fight soon.  The problem with that is that the fight would have been a high-profile one for Quinonez.  O’Malley suffers since UFC 229 will likely be the biggest drawing show in the history of the company (if you believe the advance projections from the company).  The up-front transparency from O’Malley is nice since he’s letting us all know about the process and why he’s being pulled from the fight this Saturday.  With the new UFC policy, we will see how other fighters handle their sudden absence from the Octagon.

Anti-Doping Policy will not announce drug test violations until resolution of case

September 30, 2018

ESPN reports that the UFC has made changes to its anti-doping policy wherein USADA will no longer announce fighters that have been put on provisional suspension until there is a resolution of the case.

According to the UFC, it will not announce a drug test failure until the case is resolved.  The rule will prevent putting fighters in false light as drug cheats wherein some of the failed tests are a result of a contaminated supplement.  Thus, some of the athletes did not intend to use a supplement for advantage but received a drug test failure due to something not labeled properly.

As a result of contaminated supplements, several athletes have filed lawsuits against supplement manufacturers and distributors due to serving UFC Anti-Doping Policy suspensions.  In addition, USADA had to address the issue of compound pharmacies when several Brazilian athletes failed drug tests.  These types of pharmacies make their own supplements instead of receiving them from the manufacturer.

One of the reasons for the change is the number of athletes that have failed tests due to unintentional use.

Payout Perspective:

The move is a step in the right direction for the UFC but it will be hard to explain the unexpected disappearance of a fighter from events and/or lack of activity.  This will spur people to believe that there is a violation pending.  But the move seeks to protect athletes from the media and others to jump to the conclusion that the athlete is a cheat.  The amendment was made with little notoriety and apparently without input from the athletes which is a concern for those interested in the rights of the fighters.

USADA forces suspended fighter to take DQ in Muay Thai event

September 29, 2018

As part of being suspended from the UFC as part of violating the UFC’s Ant-Doping Policy, you cannot participate in other combat sports-related activities.  Adam Hunter learned this lesson as he was disqualified from a Muay Thai Competition in June 2017.

Hunter has not even made an appearance in a UFC Octagon as he was suspended prior to his debut in August 2016.  According to the USASDA release, he had participated in the 2017 Ontario Provincial Muay Thai Championships whil serving his two year suspension:

Hunter, 34, initially accepted a two-year period of ineligibility and loss of results in October of 2016 by USADA and the British Columbia Athletic Commission after a sample he provided during an out-of-competition test on August 11, 2016, tested positive for a tamoxifen metabolite, boldenone metabolites, methandienone metabolites, a drostanolone metabolite, and clenbuterol.

Despite signing an Acceptance of Sanction form, Hunter went on to compete in the 2017 Ontario Provincial Muay Thai Championships on June 10, 2017, thereby violating the terms of his sanction. Upon investigating the circumstances of the violation, USADA concluded that Hunter was operating under the mistaken belief that his participation in the event would not be a violation of the terms of his sanction.

After fully considering the circumstances that resulted in his participation in the Ontario Provincial Muay Thai Championships, USADA concluded that Hunter’s level of fault in this matter was low and that an additional period of ineligibility was not warranted. Per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, however, Hunter’s results from the event have been disqualified.

Payout Perspective:

This is the first case where we see USADA reaching outside the UFC.  One would think that you may compete in other sports outside of MMA, but it appears that serving the suspension reaches throughout other sports where drug testing may become involved.  This is tough for Hunter since he’s never fought in the UFC but has been disciplined twice by the organization.

CSAC handed Jon Jones 3 months of community service

September 21, 2018

The UFC 229 press conference took all the headlines on Thursday but what went under the radar was the California State Athletic Commission giving Jon Jones 3 months community service as a result of his drug test failure last July.  USADA doled out a 15-month suspension to Jones on Wednesday after his second arbitration under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

According to MMA Junkie, the California State Athletic Commission called the punishment “agreeable, in concept.” CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster expected an 18-month suspension from USADA and the 3 months of community service was issued to “close the gap.”

An arbitrator in Jones’ USADA case determined that the former UFC light heavyweight did not try to cheat despite having traces of a banned substance in his system.

In February, Jones was fined $205,000 and had his fight license revoked.

No word on when and what type of community service Jones will have to perform.  But its assumed that he could re-apply for a license to fight in California once complete.

Payout Perspective:

The punishment by California should not be too surprising.  Jones has been out of action since July 2017 and the impetus was put on USADA to hand out its punishment.  The surprise was the arbitrator’s 30 month reduction of the guideline suspension per the UFC anti-doping policy.  Couple that with Jones’ remorse…once again, and California probably was not going to tack on anything substantial which would impede Jones’ career any further.

USADA arbitrator reduces Jon Jones suspension, will be back in UFC by October

September 19, 2018

USADA has handed Jon Jones a 15-month suspension for his failed drug test at UFC 214 in July 2017.  The arbitration decision means that Jones will be eligible to fight in the UFC this October.

Jones was represented at his hearing by experienced doping attorney Paul Greene.  He was also represented by Peter S. Christensen of Las Vegas.  Notably, Howard Jacobs was Jones’ attorney at his first arbitration hearing and at the California State Athletic Commission hearing regarding his second failed USADA test earlier this year.  The arbitrator was Richard McLaren.

Final Redacted Award Jones … by on Scribd

Unlike other arbitration hearings, the parties entered into a Joint Stipulated Factual Resolution and Arbitration Agreement.

Despite the fact that Jones was facing the potential of a four-year suspension for his second infraction under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the arbitrator reduced his suspension by 30 months based on Jones’ cooperation with USADA in attempting to determine the cause for his failed drug test.  McLaren could have reduced it down to 12 months but determined that Jones could have done other things to mitigate his risk.

The arbitrator determined that based on the UFC Anti-Doping Violations rules that it need not determine the source of the finding to determine fault.  Therefore, regardless of how the illicit substance ended up in Jones’ system, it is not necessary to how it was ingested for them to determine fault.  But here, the arbitrator determined that Jones’ liability to be minimal.  Although, the arbitrator does suggest that Jones could have done more to prevent the violation, he does not think the infraction aided him in his performance.  “There was absolutely no intention to use Prohibited Substances on the part of the Athlete [Jones],” wrote the arbitrator.

The arbitrator noted that Jones seemed contrite for his wrongdoing.

There is the possibility that the CSAC still may rule on a suspension for Jones.  It has revoked his license and fined him $205,000.  But, it would seem that any further suspension of time from eligibility

Payout Perspective:

A week ago USADA felt compelled to address rumors that it was being paid off to reinstate Jon Jones.  Perhaps now we know the reasons behind the statement.  The ruling seems to be made in a vacuum when looking at the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and Jones’ prior arbitration hearing.  The decision seemed to neglect his prior indiscretions, his mistakes admitted in the first arbitration and his California State Athletic Commission hearing where he readily admitted that his management team falsified documents on his behalf so that he would not have to do the educational component of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  All that being said, Jones had a viable case but the facts seemed to be against him knowing he had a prohibited substance in his system and this was his second drug test failure which would connote a four-year suspension.

Overall, I don’t think UFC fans mind that Jon Jones is coming back sooner than later to the octagon.  Its just the matter that the policy seemed to bend over backward and then look away from the way it adhered to its policy with other fighters.  Its true that Jones will be suspended 15 months before coming back to the UFC, but this was his second strike and with a history of reckless disregard for the rules this shows flexibility for athletes that can produce the company revenue.

Fabricio Werdum given 2-year suspension by USADA for use of trenbolone

September 11, 2018

USADA announced that UFC Heavyweight Fabricio Werdum was given a 2-year suspension due to a positive test of a prohibited substance.  The former UFC Heavyweight Champion tested positive for trenbolone and its metabolite epitrenbolone following an out-of-competition urine test on April 25, 2018.

As his first offense, Werdum was given a 2-year period of ineligibility.  It is the standard sanction for a non-Specified Substance.  Trenbolone is an androgen and anabolic steroid of the nandrolone group.  The use of the prohibited substance allows for rapidly building muscle.

The 41-year-old’s suspension began on May 22, 2018 and will be able to return to the UFC on May 22, 2020.

Payout Perspective:

The penalty almost forces Werdum into retirement from action as he will be 43 years old when he is eligible to return.  Obviously, with 44-year-old Mark Hunt fighting this week, it’s not out of the question for Werdum to return after suspension but his age will definitely be a factor.  It’s surprising that Werdum did not appeal the decision or seek some sort of mitigating factor which one may conclude that he was guilty of the infraction.

With USADA suspension almost over, UFC releases Tom Lawlor

August 13, 2018

The UFC has released Tom Lawlor from his UFC contract.  Lawlor, who is serving a 2-year UFC Anti-Doping Policy drug suspension is currently working as a pro wrestler.

Lawlor accepted a 2-year suspension after he failed a test for Ostarine on October 10, 2016.  Despite an exhaustive look into what may have caused the test, Lawlor decided not to make a formal appeal.

Lawlor will be off of suspension on October 10, 2018.  However, since he’s been away from MMA, he’s embarked on a pro wrestling career to keep him busy.

According to the report on F4Wonline.com, where Lawlor also is a co-host of a weekly show, he had asked for his release when being suspended but the company refused until today.

In addition to news of Lawlor being released, the UFC released Gleison Tibau.  He was the second UFC athlete to be put on provisional suspension as a result of the UFC’s anti-doping policy.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps if there is any good news for Lawlor is that he’s been able to focus on his wrestling career and travel the country doing shows and making an income.  It might be the best situation if he wanted to be a UFC champion, but it elevated his name in the world of pro wrestling.  We will see if Lawlor will seek out Bellator or another promotion to continue his MMA career.

Ferreira files lawsuit against supplement makers and supplier for allegedly causing USADA suspension

July 29, 2018

Carlos Diego Ferreira Neves has filed a lawsuit against supplement vendors, manufacturers and suppliers which resulted in the lightweight being suspended for 17 months.

The lawsuit filed last month In the District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas states that Defendants spiked “360 Lean, a “dietary nutritional supplement” with ostarine while also misleadingly adding a prohibited substance known as 7-Keto® DHEA, causing Plaintiff to suffer severe injuries after being banned from the UFC.”

Ferreira notes that the label of 360Lean did not accurately list 7-Keto® DHEA and later changed its description in subsequent batches. The lawsuit states, “[R]epresenting that the supplement contained, 7-Keto®, without indicating the product contained a hormone was wholly deceptive, misleading, and fraudulent.”

7-Keto® DHEA and Ostarine are banned substances and 360Lean was placed on the USADA High Risk List in Februar 2017 “after testing of Lot Number 9004637 revealed the presence of 7-Keto® DHEA and ostarine.

In September 2016, a sealed unopened bottle of 360Lean was sent to a WADA accredited lab where Plaintiff discovered that he had unknowingly and through no fault of his own ingested ostarine from the product 360Lean.  Ferreira was charged with a UFC Anti-Doping Violation in November 2016.

Ferreira is suing Zinpro and Impact Labs as the developers, manufacturers, marketers and distributors of 360Lean.  Vitamin Shack & Shakes sold the 360Lean product.

The lawsuit states a variety of causes of action including negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warrantied and fraud against Zinpro Corporation and Impact Labs.  Ferreira also claims that the Defendants are guilty under the theory of strict liability for products liability.

Ferreira First Amended Petition by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The store where Ferreira purchased 360Lean has filed a cross-claim against the Zinpro and Impact Labs for allegedly misleading consumers with its label.

Payout Perspective:

This is the fourth lawsuit since the UFC Anti-Doping policy was implemented where a fighter has sued a supplement maker, manufacture and distributor.  Josh Barnett, Yoel Romero and Lyman Good also filed lawsuits against supplement makers and the places where they purchased the alleged tainted goods which caused them to receive suspensions as a result of the findings.

In products liability cases (lawsuits where the claim is that a product is defective), there is a higher standard on the manufacturer or seller to ensure that the user is not harmed.  In this instance, one could argue Ferreira was not harmed in the sense of physical injury.  He was harmed since he had to ensure he did not ingest a banned substance per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  The question will be whether the Defendants knowingly misled consumers with the amendment of its description on the label.  This will make a very interesting case as it continues.  MMA Payout will continue to follow.

He says he’s not, but should Anderson Silva sue USADA?

July 25, 2018

On Ariel Helwani’s show this past Monday, Anderson Silva stated that he would not take legal action after USADA determined that his failed drug test came from a compounding pharmacy.  But, a legal action could facilitate a change to the current UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

The former middleweight champ said he has lost 4 sponsors as a result of his absence from the Octagon.

Silva’s statement of losing sponsors could be a claim for damages in a lawsuit against USADA and Zuffa.   Based on the USADA ruling, it absolves Silva of wrongdoing in the matter as he ingested a contaminated supplement.  He unknowingly took a supplement from a pharmacy that made the supplement in-house rather than receiving it from the actual manufacturer.  The issue of “compounding pharmacies” has come up with several tests that were flagged by USADA.  This includes Junior Dos Santos and Antonio Rogerio Nogueria.  All have been reinstated after an investigation revealed the source of the failed test.

In a lawsuit, the broader problem is that Silva would likely have to bring an action against USADA and the UFC for its policy.  Since Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC is the organization that unilaterally (very important) implemented the policy, you would need to sue them.  Certainly, a daunting task for any fighter considering the lawsuits pending regarding Mark Hunt and the ex-UFC athletes in the antitrust lawsuit.

But, Silva would have been a great plaintiff to disrupt the current state of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  Granted, his UFC 183 NAC drug test failure was embarrassing to his legacy, but he has maintained a popularity with most MMA fans.  Stepping in on short notice to face Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 was legendary because it was clear that he was not in shape to go in and fight but did it to help the company.

So, why sue the company that he has been a part of for years?

The UFC Anti-Doping Policy has flaws and there is no way that they can be amended since contracted athletes have no leverage to influence policy.  Project Spearhead among other entities have attempted to organize but those efforts are still pending.

A lawsuit which would include USADA and Zuffa would bring attention to the perceived unfair policy developed by the organization.  While the intent of the policy is for the greater good of the sport in that it prevents the use of performance enhancing drugs, athletes have complained about the testing measures and the collection process.  Josh Barnett, who successfully defended himself at arbitration over a failed drug test, left the UFC due to the lack of trust he had in the process.  Despite the fact athletes may absolve themselves of wrongdoing, athletes are immediately put on a provisional suspension pending adjudication which takes a lengthy amount of time to complete.

Moreover, the standard for which athletes must prove their innocence is a huge obstacle considering that the UFC Anti-Doping Policy operates on a presumption that the athlete is responsible for anything he or she ingests.  Thus, the issue of compounding pharmacy or taking a tainted supplement already makes the athlete culpable.

A lawsuit is a long, arduous process that costs a lot of money.  Silva is 43 and would like to fight before his time is up.  So, not filing a lawsuit is prudent to finish his career in the UFC.  But, his legacy could be more than this if he were to take legal action.  It would be likely that a lawsuit would necessitate a response short of a trial. Meaning, the USADA and Zuffa would want to solve the issue prior to judicial resolution.  The loss of sponsors, assuming they were due to in-ring inaction rather than another issue, may be a viable claim for lost wages due to an unfair system.

Legal action is not always the way to resolve disputes, but at the present time if athletes want a change to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, filing a complaint might be the way to do it.

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