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Thursday 11, May 2017

  Kelvin Gastelum Gets Reduced Sanction

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Kelvin Gastelum, the American professional mixed martial artist who is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, will receive a reduced suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency following a positive test for marijuana.

USADA announced the six-month suspension of the UFC middleweight was reduced to three months following the completion of a drug awareness program. This means the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17 is eligible to return to competition after his suspension expires on June 10.

Gastelum (13-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) went to Brazil in the UFC Fight Night 106 main event in March and beat local star and former champion Vitor Belfort (25-13 MMA, 14-9 UFC) with a first-round TKO. The win also earned Gastelum his second Performance of the Night bonus award. However, Gastelum tested positive for carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (otherwise known as “THC,” a metabolite found in marijuana) in a sample collected on the day of the event, which took place March 11 in Fortaleza. Currently competing as a middleweight and is ranked #8 in the UFC official middleweight rankings, the Yuma native earned back-to-back victories over Tim Kennedy and Johny Hendricks in 2016 prior to facing Belfort. Gastelum is 8-2 over the course of his promotional tenure.

The potential positive test of Gastelum was announced on April 6 by USADA. Earlier this month, the Superior Tribunal de Justica Desportiva do MMA (STJDMMA), the Brazilian Superior Justice Court of MMA, reached an agreement with the fighter. The win of Gastelum was officially overturned and declared a no-contest, and he was suspended 90 days retroactive to the March 11 test date. Gastelum also was fined 20 percent of his purse. The plea agreement was made in accordance with representatives from USADA, the UFC and Cristiano Sampaio, who oversees operations for Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA, Brazil’s MMA commission).

In a statement, USADA said Kelvin Gastelum accepted a six-month period of ineligibility, which began on March 11, 2017, the date of sample collection. The statement further reads that his period of ineligibility was reduced by three months and is now scheduled to expire on June 10, 2017 based on Gastelum’s successful completion of a USADA approved drug awareness and management program. It also reads that Gastelum’s positive test also falls under the jurisdiction of the Brazilian MMA Sports Court, which has the authority to independently adjudicate the case in accordance with CABMMA’s rules and regulations because the UFC Fight Night event in Fortaleza was sanctioned by the Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA). The USADA statement also reads that Gastelum’s sanction under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy is now identical in length to the period of ineligibility imposed by the Brazilian MMA Sports Court on May 7, 2017 following the reduction to a three-month period of ineligibility.

Gastelum was scheduled to fight Anderson Silva at UFC 212 before the news of his positive test emerged. Silva was pulled from the card as Gastelum would not be eligible in time. Gastelum has expressed his wish to fight Silva in July at UFC on FOX 25 in New York.

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Thursday 12, Nov 2015

  Vitor Belfort Says He Is Ready To Move On

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Vitor Belfort, the Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, has remarked he is ready to move on in his life. The UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament Champion also remarked he is not hiding anything and has always fought with the approval of a commission and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The 38-year-old Belfort has almost served as the de facto face of the testosterone replacement therapy argument. Belfort remarked fourteen men were in the treatment and twelve of them were Americans and the media kind of picked him up because of his success.

In 2013, the Brazilian knocked out Luke Rockhold, Dan Henderson, and Michael Bisping in a span of 10 months but with the help of TRT that is now banned but was completely legal at that time with a therapeutic use exemption. In September this year, it was reported by veteran reporter Josh Gross that testosterone levels of Belfort were significantly elevated before his light heavyweight title bid at UFC 152 against then-champ Jon Jones. In his defense, Belfort said he lives with a clean and clear conscience regarding his use of legally-administered performance enhancing substances. Belfort remarked he is one of the very few fighters who openly accepted they are on TRT and he is not like those who don’t come out and hide. The MMA fighter also remarked he was on TRT for medical reasons.

Belfort has passed five random drug tests ever since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency took over the anti-doping efforts of the UFC this year. He passed four tests since October 1 and insisted he is at peace with his place in the world of mixed martial arts.

Belfort is not new to controversies. He tested positive for 4-hydroxytestosterone at Pride 32: The Real Deal on October 21, 2006. The MMA fighter argued that he bought an over the counter supplement that had the illegal substance and also explained that he could have received the drug because of rehabilitative injections given to him by Brazilian endocrinologist Dr. Rodrigo M. Greco. A statement from Dr. Greco was received by the Nevada State Athletic Commission that stated that he had given post-surgical injections containing testosterone to Vitor Belfort. NSAC remarked Belfort would still be guilty of a violation of the banned substances policy even if he was unaware that the medical practitioner did not inform him that injections contained anabolic steroids. Belfort was banned on December 21, 2006 for a period of nine months and was fined $10,000.

The Brazilian mixed martial artist is the #4 contender in official UFC middleweight rankings s of June 29, 2015 and was also the last Cage Rage World Light Heavyweight Champion. He was given the nickname The Phenom after he started competing in the UFC. At the age of 19, he became the youngest fighter to ever score a victory inside the Octagon. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is expected to face Dan Henderson, the American mixed martial artist and former Olympic wrestler, in a rubber match at UFC Fight Night 77 on November 7, 2015.

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Monday 16, Jun 2014

  Chael Sonnen Announces Retirement

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Chael Sonnen Announces Retirement

UFC light heavyweight Chael Sonnen who failed a random drug test from the Nevada State Athletic Commission has announced his retirement from competitive mixed martial arts on June 11, 2014.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) found Sonnen’s sample positive for two illegal substances, Anastrozole and Clomiphene.

Clomiphene is a female infertility drug and is used by athletes and bodybuilders to prevent estrogenic side effects (such as oily skin and gynecomastia) that are associated with the use of anabolic androgenic steroids. Anastrozole (Arimidex) is medically prescribed for treating breast cancer and is used for on-cycle support by athletes while using anabolic steroids.

Sonnen, who last competed in the Light Heavyweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, expressed frustration with the recent rule changes by NSAC regarding Testosterone replacement therapy. Explaining his positive drug test, Chael Sonnen remarked there is a transition period while getting off from TRT and he couldn’t have been more open or more transparent. He added he used perfectly legal substances that are not performance enhancing drugs or anabolic steroids. Sonnen went on to remark that he used the drugs for preventing side effects from getting off Testosterone replacement therapy and also required them for fertility reasons. Sonnen remarked doctors prescribed him Anastrozole and Clomiphene with a hope of stimulating natural testosterone production after TRT was banned by the Nevada Athletic Commission in February.

Sonnen further remarked that his legitimate medical need for estrogen blockers would not allow him to stop taking them, leaving him with no option but to announce his retirement. He thanked his fans, team members, Fox Sports, UFC executives, and Nevada State Athletic Commission board member Bill Brady and also thanked former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, whom he challenged for the title in 2010 and 2012. Sonnen said he wants to thank the single most important opponent he ever had.

In 2009, Sonnen’s career took off after he mocked Silva in public events and media interviews. Sonnen was superior to Silva through four rounds of a title fight at UFC 117 in August 2010 before he submitted to a triangle choke in the final round. After this fight, Sonnen tested positive for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio for which he was fined $2,500 and suspended for one year (until September 2, 2011) by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) though his suspension was later reduced to six months. Sonnen then revealed a diagnosis of hypogonadism and being approved for TRT. A rematch against Anderson Silva remains the highest-grossing UFC event ever held in Las Vegas. It took place at UFC 148 in July 2012 and the event drew an attendance of 15,016 and a live gate of $7 million wherein Sonnen lost via TKO in the second round.

The three-time UFC title contender started his career in May 1997 and was pulled out by the UFC from a light heavyweight bout against Vitor Belfort, scheduled for July 5 in Las Vegas, because of the failed drug test. One of the biggest pay-per-view draws in the UFC, Sonnen (28-14-1), Sonnen hosted “UFC Tonight” with Kenny Florian and also acted as an analyst for UFC live events.

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Saturday 08, Mar 2014

  NSAC Bans Fighters From Using TRT

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NSAC Bans Fighters From Using TRT

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), in a landmark decision, has unanimously approved a motion to ban the practice of awarding fighters a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) in the state of Nevada for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The decision comes in the wake of an ESPN story that covered how high testosterone replacement therapy exemptions are in the MMA world.

This ban on TRT is effective immediately and stretches across the realms of mixed martial arts, boxing, and kickboxing. It includes users who have received TUEs for TRT from the Nevada State Athletic Commission in the past and future applicants for TRT. The NSAC officials urged representatives from fellow athletic commissions to put a similar ban in their states by banning TRT exemptions in their corresponding states.

NSAC Chairman Francisco Aguilar said he is comfortable with the information we have before us, and I would welcome and encourage the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) to look at this issue for all commissions in all states across the country. He further added that he believes it is important that there be a standard set, and he thinks we’re not afraid of making that standard known, and then following the discussion after this point in time. Aguilar added he do believe that this is something that gives people an unfair advantage for these actual benefits and said he thinks that it’s unfair for those fighters who are lucky enough to not have to go through the process. Aguilar added it is not fair to them when they have to meet a competitor, who is, somehow, could be (using) an advantage.

The UFC, minutes after the decision of NSAC, made an announcement that it will also ban TRT exemptions moving forward. Dana White tweeted that it is a great day in the sport and he applauded NSAC. The UFC President remarked TRT needed to go away. In an official statement, the UFC said the Ultimate Fighting Championship fully supports the decision made today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the immediate termination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The statement reads we believe our athletes should compete based on their natural abilities and on an even playing field. We also intend to honor this ruling in international markets where, due to a lack of governing bodies, the UFC oversees regulatory efforts for our live events and we encourage all athletic commissions to adopt this ruling. After the UFC announcement, Vitor Belfort has withdrawn from UFC 173 and now Lyoto Machida will fight UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman on the upcoming pay-per-view card, which takes place May 24.

Dr. Don Catlin, a leading anti-doping expert of the MMA testosterone exemptions, said he is on the IOC committee that reviews [therapeutic-use exemptions for testosterone] requests. Catlin said we essentially grant none but in boxing and MMA there is no central control and there is no set of rules that everybody has to follow. Therapeutic-use exemptions for testosterone should be rare, according to U.S. and international anti-doping agencies. They believe such exemptions should be permitted only in dire medical cases such as testicular cancer and Hodgkin’s disease.

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Thursday 06, Feb 2014

  Dana White Supports TRT Ban

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Dana white supports trt ban

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White has called therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy a form of “cheating.”

White has supported the proposal of the Association of Ringside Physicians to eliminate TUE in combat sports.

The Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) recently issued an announcement that decried the practice of athletic commissions granting TUE for testosterone replacement therapy. It was remarked by ARP that the incidence of hypogonadism requiring the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in professional athletes is extraordinarily rare and the use of anabolic steroids such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified. ARP added that the use of any type of steroid, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risk to combat sports athletes and their opponents. It also added that testosterone replacement therapy may give an unfair advantage to a combat sports athlete contradictory to the integrity of sport and the Association of Ringside Physicians consequently supports the general elimination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy.

White’s hard-line stance on TRT is believed to have come after Vitor Belfort’s request for a TRT exemption when he will meet 185-pound champion Chris Weidman this summer. White remarked Belfort drives him crazy and both of them were not on good terms a few months ago.

Velfort is one of the many fighters using testosterone replacement therapy. The UFC fighter has been widely criticized for using the treatment in spite of his tainted history with the abuse of performance enhancing drugs. The Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is #2 in official UFC middleweight rankings as of January 27, 2014.

Popularly known as “The Phenom“, Vitor Vieira Belfort failed a steroid test for testosterone at Pride 32: The Real Deal on October 21, 2006, before his Pride fight in Las Vegas where he lost to Dan Henderson. Belfort tested positive for 4-hydroxytestosterone, an illegal substance and claimed he bought an over the counter supplement containing the substance. He also explained that he may have received the substance as the result of rehabilitative injections administered to him by Brazilian endocrinologist Dr. Rodrigo M. Greco after a surgery for repairing a torn meniscus in his knee in the summer of 2006. Belfort was suspended for nine months from the date of hearing on December 21, 2006 after the Nevada State Athletic Commission said Belfort was still in violation of banned substances policy even if the practitioner did not inform him that the post surgical injections (containing testosterone) contained anabolic steroids. In Nevada, no fighter who has tested positive for anabolic steroids in the past has received a therapeutic use exemption.

Belfort, at the age of 19, became the youngest fighter to ever score a victory inside the octagon. Vítor participated in Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championships and fought against the likes of Alistair Overeem, Bobby Southworth, Heath Herring, Gilbert Yvel, and Daijiro Matsui. On May 18, 2013, Belfort faced final Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and promotional newcomer at UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold and won the fight in the first round via knockout.

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