UFC Lightweight Islam Makhachev Not at Fault for Positive Drug Test, USADA Says

By Tristen Critchfield Jul 27, 2016

UFC lightweight Islam Makhachev was cleared of any wrongdoing for a positive drug test earlier this year, according to a statement from the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

Makhachev was pulled from a proposed bout against Drew Dober at UFC on Fox 19 after he tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in an out-of-competition drug screening. According to Wednesday’s release, the Dagestani fighter ingested the substance “without fault or negligence.”

Meldonium only recently appeared on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances, and athletes can avoid punishment it if is established they took it prior to Jan. 1, 2016.

“During USADA’s investigation of the case, it was discovered that Makhachev underwent a radiofrequency ablation procedure for frequent ventricular arrhythmia in December of 2014. In November of 2015, Makhachev’s physician recommended that Makhachev incorporate meldonium, a non-prescription medication, into his follow-up treatment plan and as a preventative measure against a potential relapse,” the USADA statement read. “Makhachev then used meldonium for four weeks, from late November to late December 2015. USADA confirmed that Makhachev discontinued use of the substance prior to January 1, 2016, because he was aware that the substance would be added to the WADA Prohibited List and banned under the UFC Anti-Doping Program.

“After a thorough review of the case, USADA concluded that the extremely low meldonium concentration in the athlete’s urine sample, combined with the athlete’s explanation of use, was consistent with ingestion prior to the substance being officially prohibited on January 1, 2016. Based on the latest guidance offered by WADA on June 30, 2016, for cases involving meldonium, Makhachev will not face a period of ineligibility for his positive test.”

Makhachev had a provisional suspension lifted earlier this month, making him immediately eligible to return to UFC competition. The Las Vegas-based promotion recently booked him to face Chris Wade at UFC Fight Night in Hidalgo, Texas, on Sept. 17. Makhachev suffered his first loss in 13 career bouts in his last outing, losing via first-round TKO to Adriano Martins at UFC 192 this past October.


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