Former UFC flyweight champion Nicco Montano and highly regarded bantamweight prospect Sean O'Malley were among four fighters to receive six-month suspensions from USADA after testing positive for the banned substance ostarine.
In addition to Montano and O’Malley, UFC fighters Augusto Mendes and Marvin Vettori also received six-month sanctions. After conducting thorough investigations in each case, USADA found no evidence of intentional use of ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator sold as a performance-enhancing substance. Ostarine is often found as an undeclared ingredient in many supplements and can be difficult for athletes to identify as the source of their positive test. All four UFC athletes’ positive tests were determined to have resulted from contaminated substances.
The case resolution for each of the aforementioned fighters is as follows:
-Augusto Mendes, 36, of Glendale, Ariz., tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on March 7, 2018. He accepted a six-month period of ineligibility that began on March 20, 2018, the date he was provisionally suspended from competition.
-Marvin Vettori, 25, of Mezzocorona, Italy, tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on August 24, 2018. He accepted a six-month period of ineligibility that began on August 24, 2018, the date he was provisionally suspended from competition.
-Sean O’Malley, 24, of Phoenix, Ariz., tested positive for ostarine following out-of-competition tests conducted on September 5, 2018 and December 8, 2018. His two positives were treated as a single, first violation because the amount of ostarine in both samples is consistent with ingestion prior to September 5, 2018. He accepted a six-month period of ineligibility that began on September 19, 2018, the date he was provisionally suspended from competition.
-Nicco Montano, 30, of Albuquerque, N.M., tested positive for ostarine following an out-of-competition test conducted on October 25, 2018. She accepted a six-month period of ineligibility that began on November 15, 2018, the date she was provisionally suspended from competition.
Mendes had a proposed bout with Merab Dvalishvili at UFC Fight Night 128 canceled due to his anti-doping violation and hasn’t competed in the Octagon since losing a decision to Aljamain Sterling at UFC on Fox 24 in April 2015.
O’Malley, meanwhile, had a clash with Jose Alberto Quinones scrapped at UFC 229 due to his own pending sanction. “Suga” last appeared at UFC 228 in March 2018, when he outpointed Andre Soukhamthath to improve to 10-0.
Neither Montano nor Vettori lost fights due to their respective violations. Montano claimed the inaugural female strawweight belt with a win over Roxanne Modafferi at “The Ultimate Fighter 26” finale but was stripped of the title after a failed weight cut forced her to pull out of the matchup with Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228. Vettori is coming off a split-decision loss to current interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC on Fox 29 in April 2018.
USADA’s statement on the case is below:
USADA announced today that four athletes have accepted six-month sanctions for violating the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy after testing positive for trace amounts of ostarine consistent with supplement contamination.
Ostarine is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. Ostarine, also known as MK-2866 and Enobosarm, is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that is illegally sold worldwide as a performance-enhancing substance. Ostarine is not currently available as a prescription medication in any country, and its unauthorized use may carry serious side effects. Nonetheless, ostarine has commonly been found as a declared and undeclared ingredient in many dietary supplements. More information about the risks of ostarine can be found through a USADA athlete advisory.
USADA’s athlete advisory recognizes the demonstrated prevalence of ostarine in a wide range of supplement products used by athletes (see USADA High Risk List for more than 70 products) and that ostarine has frequently been found as a product contaminant. The trace amounts of ostarine found in each of the athlete’s samples was made possible by sensitive laboratory detection capabilities. However, as detection windows increase and the potential time between ingestion and detection lengthens, it has become more difficult for athletes to identify a contaminated product that may be the source of their positive test. As a consequence, the investigation period in ostarine cases is frequently relatively long, as has been the case in each of the cases announced today.
USADA has resolved the following cases, after conducting a thorough investigation and finding no evidence of intentional use, consistent with other supplement contamination cases.