Jones tests positive for metabolite of oral Turinabol per VADA test

January 23, 2019

Jon Jones has tested positive for the long-term M3 metabolite of oral turinabol according to drug tests administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency. It appears as though Jones has tested positive for this banned substance, that he will not face any punitive measures per the guidelines of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

As most know, Jones had tested positive for turinabol prior to his fight this past December with Alexander Gustafsson.  However, it was deemed to be as a remnant of turinabol 15 months prior.  Of course, USADA and Jones could not find the pathology of the banned substance in Jones’ system.

It is interesting to note that it was reported that drug test taken by Jones and administered by the California State Athletic Commission after the Gustafsson fight came up negative for turinabol.  Yet, the VADA test came up with the banned substance.

Payout Perspective:

While we have been cautioned not to jump to opinions on this, one has to speculate how Jones’ CSAC test on the night of the fight came up negative for oral turinabol metabolites but the VADA test shows a different result.  Are we to conclude that Jones is an anomaly?  While the UFC claims that another fighter is dealing with a similar situation, the scientific studies behind this show that this does not happen with humans.  The commission and regulators decry that Jones will not be given a free pass for every failed drug test, one has to wonder what to do with Jones except for pressing the media not to report on this.

MMA Payout will continue to monitor this situation.  It will be an interesting situation when Jones appears before the Nevada Athletic Commission as it did not issue Jones a license for his December fight which precipitated the late move.

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.

 

Silva lobbies for return of testosterone therapy

January 12, 2019

Anderson Silva is in favor of USADA drug testing in the UFC despite being flagged for testing positive for a banned substance.  In a recent interview, Silva is advocating for the return of testosterone replacement therapy.

Silva also tested positive for a banned substance at UFC 183 in February 2015.

In an interview with a Brazilian outlet, Silva advocated for the use of “hormonal replacement” therapy.  He stated, “I think, if USADA regulated that, we’d have the sport at a high level, with athletes who have stopped fighting.”

Silva stated that USADA’s presence in testing was a good thing but he believes that the organization needs to review its rules to tailor the testing to the needs of the fighters.

Silva meets Israel Adesanya at UFC 234.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that Silva is advocating for the return of testosterone replacement therapy.  This practice was allowed by commissions if an athlete was able to prove that they suffered from low testosterone.  Athletes would be able to receive hormonal replacement.  But, with the older you get, naturally the more testosterone you would lose.  So athletes would be able to find an end around on this issue and be able to take advantage.  Silva does talk about older fighters able to prolong their careers based on this.  But you have to weigh the practicality of the need versus those that are gaming the system.  While Silva advocating for ways to keep himself going, it would be a detriment to others.

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

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

December 28, 2018

Josh Barnett became the first UFC athlete under the UFC Anti-Doping Program to not receive a suspension of time from fighting after taking his case of a failed drug test to arbitration.  Still, not trusting the drug testing process, Barnett requested his release from the company.

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.

If not for Barnett’s detail in keeping the supplements he took while training, he would have likely been suspended.  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.

After the arbitration determined that the supplement Barnett took was tainted, Barnett sued the maker in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Despite being exonerated, Barnett decided to leave the UFC.  The process showed how long it took for Barnett’s case to be adjudicated.  He had lost time and was the victim of a tainted supplement.  Barnett noted in a Facebook post of his distrust for USADA and its “insistence” to punish him despite Barnett’s belief that they new it was a tainted supplement issue.

Via Barnett’s Facebook Post:

I cannot in good conscience trust them to act in good faith or perhaps may even wish to look to enact some sort of vengeance in an attempt to cancel out my victory against them in arbitration. It’s not the kind of environment that I want to spend the final years of my career in.

This week USADA and the UFC Anti-Doping Program has come into question after it publicly defended Jon Jones after Turinabol had mysteriously returned to his system.  And then, Jeff Novitsky revealed that it was not just one test in December that showed the metabolite, but tests in August revealed the same.  He also stated at Friday’s press conference that the California State Athletic Commission was not privy to the August results.

At least from an outsider perspective, it’s clear that there are fissures in USADA’s system.  Novitsky has indicated that USADA will continue to be the vendor for the UFC Anti-Doping Policy with more tests.  But it is the quality, not quantity of test, investigation and swiftness adjudication that will help see results and satisfaction.

Josh Barnett wins USADA Arb… by on Scribd

Jon Jones enrolls in VADA testing

December 25, 2018

On Monday, ESPN reported that Jon Jones has enrolled into VADA as a result of UFC 232 being moved to California from Nevada.  Previously, Jones had turned down the suggestion by the California commissioners to enroll in VADA.

According to the ESPN story, a condition of Jones receiving his license was enrolling in the VADA program.  Jones is also committed to the UFC Anti-Doping Program conducted by USADA.

UFC 232, which occurs this Saturday was abruptly changed from Las Vegas, Nevada to Inglewood, California due to an out-of-competition test which was flagged by USADA for metabolites of the same banned substance Jones tested positive for in July 2017.  The UFC and USADA indicated that the test were remnants from July 2017 despite the fact that he had cleared several drug tests between then and now.

Payout Perspective:

Putting aside the PR gaffes going on here with Jones and his lawyer deciding not to let Jones go into VADA testing last week (with the knowledge of the failed out-of-competition test) and now deciding to sign up for it when essentially forced into the program, the question of this event is an issue.  Displaced fighters and fans have really made this event hard to support.  With additional testing, it puts a little more stress on Jones and also brings up the concern that he may not pass a drug test which would make this whole situation another catastrophe with Jon Jones at the center.

UFC 232 moves to LA due to Jon Jones drug test

December 23, 2018

Due to a drug test which revealed metabolites related to Turinabol in an out-of-competition test of Jon Jones, UFC 232 is moving from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada to The Forum in Inglewood, California.  The reason being is due to a licensing issue with the state of Nevada.

An out of competition drug test earlier this month from Jones turned up Turinabol, the same substance that caused his 15-month suspension.  Again, USADA indicated it had no idea where the Turnabol came from and there was some scientific things that were explained by UFC executive Jeff Novitsky.  But, to be honest, not of that really matters.

Why?  Well, what I explained above and from reading multiple reports indicates that Jon Jones had a test flagged for a banned substance.  This also means he failed a drug test.  Brett Okamoto succinctly breaks it down

How a residual amount of the substance can stay in one’s system for over a year is baffling.

USADA does provide an explanation:

Last week the California State Athletic Commission gave approval to Jones for a temporary license despite its concerns with how USADA handled Jones’ case.  Rather than take Jones off the card, it has moved the entire show to another state where Jones has a license.

This did not take into consideration the money expended by fans and athletes for attending the event this Saturday.  The UFC indicated fans will get refunds on the Nevada tickets but it does not account for the hotel and airfare fans had expended.

Payout Perspective:

This is a complete public relations disaster by the UFC.  The only saving grace for the UFC is for Dana White to throw his tantrum similar to the one he gave about Greg Hardy being in the UFC.  Then, he’ll just enlist some folks to shout down those questioning him.  Why one fighter has this much importance and is getting the benefit of the doubt once again reflects that the UFC is built on just a handful of stars.  And those stars take advantage of the UFC just as much as the UFC takes advantage of them.  The good news, is the UFC probably knows that they are going to score on PPV no matter the inconvenience of the fans.

As for the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, USADA is showing its flexibility in dealing with Jon Jones.  Not only has it once again emphasized that this test result was not his fault, it is not sanctioning him.  Yet, it cannot invest on determining why Jones had this in his body in the first place.  Moreover, in discussing this issue, it skirts the issue about Jones failing the drug test which would likely take him off this card.

Notably, California suggested Jones enroll in VADA to clarify any issues with his image.  Jones denied it.  And his opponent this Saturday, Alexander Gustafsson noticed.

He does mean VADA testing above but its clear that he doesn’t believe in Jon Jones’ drug test capabilities.

Jon Jones declines California’s suggestion of VADA testing

December 19, 2018

MMA Junkie reports that Jon Jones is skipping VADA testing despite the recommendation by the California State Athletic Commission earlier this month.  He is scheduled to return to the Octagon on December 29th at UFC 232.

CSAC recently granted Jones a license to fight ahead of next Saturday’s Light Heavyweight showdown with Alexander Gustafsson.  Some of the commissioners at the hearing opined that maybe getting tested by VADA would dismiss any further speculation about Jones using PEDs.

Via MMA Junkie:

As a sweetener, the commission essentially agreed to pay for the extra effort, subtracting the costs of VADA’s fees from a $205,000 fine Jones paid for a positive steroid test at UFC 214 that also cost him his license. Initially, Jones appeared open to the idea of testing. Jacobs later qualified that his client was “agreeable in principle” to VADA but needed to see the fine print of what was required.

Howard Jacobs, Jones’ attorney, told MMA Junkie that there were “some issues” with the CSAC suggestion. VADA is known to many as an alternative to USADA when it comes to athlete drug testing.  It conducts comprehensive “Olympic style” drug testing and passes test results directly to athletic commissions.  It also does not conduct its own results management.

Jones had failed a drug test at UFC 214 held in Anaheim, California in July 2017 which required him to return to the jurisdiction of California to seek a license.

Payout Perspective:

In addition to the NSAC testing, Jones will be subject the standard USADA testing under the UFC Anti-Doping Program.  Declining to the VADA testing can be seen as a hit against his public image but I’m not sure if its too much of a hit considering that most of his strongest critics are MMA fans.  The additional VADA testing can be just intrusive especially if he is still subject to Nevada and USADA.  Also, there is an inference that there were additional strings attached.  Yet, if turns up with another failed test, this could spell the end for Jones.

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