UFC fighter George Sullivan has accepted a sanction of one year after he was found violating anti-doping policy of the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

The UFC fighter never actually failed a drug test but admitted to using a substance or product with a banned item in it.

In a statement, USADA said that George Sullivan has accepted a one-year sanction for an anti-doping policy violation after declaring the use of a prohibited substance contained in a product that was inaccurately labeled. The statement further reads that Sullivan did not test positive for any prohibited substances but the admission of use of a prohibited substance or product containing a prohibited substance is regarded as an anti-doping policy violation under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

The 35-year-old declared the use of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) on his sample collection paperwork when he described his use of a deer antler velvet product during an out-of-competition test conducted on July 13, 2016.

Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 is a prohibited substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics, and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy that has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. USADA initiated an investigation following the declaration of Sullivan regarding the product declared by him on his sample collection paperwork. Sullivan provided the United States Anti-Doping Agency with information about the supplement product he was referring to when he declared IGF-1.

It was found by USADA that the manufacturer claimed on the product website that each bottle of the product contains an extremely high concentration of IGF-1 although no prohibited substances were specifically listed on the Supplement Facts label. The presence of IGF-1 in the product was confirmed by detailed analysis by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. This product has since been added to the list of high risk supplements maintained on USADA’s online dietary supplement safety education and awareness resource – Supplement 411 (www.supplement411.org).

An athlete’s period of ineligibility for using a prohibited substance may be decreased under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code if the athlete lacks significant fault for the anti-doping policy violation. USADA determined in the case of Sullivan that the UFC fighter’s degree of fault and his forthright declaration of the product at issue justified a reduction to one year from the maximum two-year period of ineligibility.

The one-year period of ineligibility of George Sullivan began on January 31, 2016, the day after his most recent UFC bout. USADA said the first time Sullivan disclosed that he was using the product was back in January, which is why his suspension is retroactive to that date.

The American mixed martial artist competing in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship signed with the UFC in the winter of 2013 after winning the Cage Fury Fighting Championships Welterweight Championship. In his promotional UFC debut, Sullivan fought against fellow newcomer Mike Rhodes on January 25, 2014 at UFC on Fox 10 and won the fight via unanimous decision. Sullivan faced Igor Araújo in his next fight and won the bout via knockout in the second round.

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