In a disappointing blow for one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s brightest young talents, Sean O’Malley announced over the weekend he had been pulled from the UFC 229 card against Jose Quinonez after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) flagged him for a failed drug test.
“Sugar” revealed the decision by USADA via social media although he didn’t go into too many specifics on the nature of the violation. O’Malley was a recent guest on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, and went into greater detail.
“It’s called ostarine. I guess that’s the one that catches everyone that is kind of in all these random pills,” he said. “I feel like there has to be a new rule implemented or something because this has happened too many times.”
It’s unfortunate timing for the 23-year-old, who was returning to the Octagon for the first time since injuring his leg in his impressive win over Andre Soukhamthath back in March. The fight against Quinonez at UFC 229 would have marked the first in an upgraded contract.
“It’s just not fair because I was about to go make a six-figure payday, my stock was about to go up and I was going to go knock this dude out in the first round. I am getting punished for something I didn’t do intentionally,” he added, while revealing caffeine pills could be at the root of the problem.
“I’m really hoping it’s these caffeine pills I took. I didn’t think anything of it. Obviously the ingredients on the caffeine pills are all USADA-approved, but what wasn’t in the ingredients is what I popped for, so it sucks.”
O’Malley said he found out about the failed drug test 10 days ago but wanted to come clean to his fans as to what was happening in the background as the UFC’s new policy is not to reveal which fighters have been flagged, or for what substances, until the case has been completed.
“I had this guilty feeling in my stomach not to tell my fans why I am not fighting. No one knew, no one was releasing that I wasn’t fighting,” he said. “So I felt the need to. I am not too worried about people thinking I’m on steroids or trying to cheat. It’s just not me. I think the fans know deep down that I am not trying to cheat.”