UFC 244 main event of Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz will go forward

USA Today Sports 1 month ago

LAS VEGAS — One day after it appeared the fight was off, the battle to determine the UFC’s “Baddest Mother (expletive)” is back on.

The UFC announced on Friday night that the UFC 244 main event between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal will go forward.

The bout, scheduled to headline the 500th event in the company’s 26-year history, will take place on Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Thursday, Diaz abruptly announced over social media that he was out of the fight, ostensibly due to a dispute over the results of a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency drug test.

On Friday night, the company noted Diaz had made the results of his test public on Oct. 24, then stated Diaz’s had an atypical finding for traces LGD-4033, or Ligandrol, a selective androgen receptor modulator, in a recent out-of-competition drug test. According to the press release, a tainted batch of organic, vegan multivitamins was the culprit.

The UFC has been working on finalizing changes in their approach to how it handles cases of tainted supplements in their anti-doping policy, which UFC vice president Jeff Novitzky, who oversees the company’s anti-doping program, referenced during a public meeting of the California State Athletic Commission in Los Angeles on Oct. 15.

Novitzky noted the process has been in place since August, and cited several recent cases of fighters who have had their provisional suspensions lifted, most notably welterweight Neil Magny, who was provisionally suspended for the same substance as Diaz. Once it was determined the trace finding came from a tainted supplement, Magny was reinstated with no further punishment.

Like with Magny, the amount of LG-4033 was found to be a similar trace amount, and thus Diaz will not be punished.

“Mr. Diaz has not committed an anti-doping violation, has not been provisionally suspended and is not subject to any sanctions,” the company stated. “Additionally, UFC has been informed by independent experts who have determined that there is unequivocally no appreciable performance enhancing or therapeutic benefit from the significantly limited amount of LGD-4033 that may be present in his system, which is roughly 10,000 times lower than one LGD-4033 therapeutic dose.”

UFC president Dana White, for his part, let his feelings on the subject be known over Twitter:

You can read the entirety of the UFC’s statement on the UFC 244 main event below:

The main event of UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York will proceed as scheduled. 

UFC in an industry leader in anti-doping and we continuously strive and advocate for an effective and fair program for our sport and athletes. From January of 2019, UFC and USADA, along with independent experts and consultants, have been reviewing the UFC Anti-Doping Policy to ensure it remains a reliable and effective tool to combat doping in our sport and to protect UFC athletes that compete in the Octagon.

As early as August 31, 2019, certain significant changes to the UFC Anti-Doping Agency have been agreed on in principle between the UFC and USADA, an as such, have been put into practice. One of the changes is the adoption of scientifically-based decision concentration levels, known as minimum thresholds, for certain prohibited substances where evidence has shown that positive tests of these substances below the threshold are consistent with innocent contamination. A positive sample of an applicable substance below the decision concentration level results is treated as an atypical finding. An atypical finding will result in no violation in the absence of other facts or circumstances that confirm the athlete intended to gain an unauthorized performance enhancing or therapeutic benefit through the use of the substance.

Since August 31, 2019, several UFC athletes have had their provisional suspensions lifted based on the implementation of decision concentration levels, including Neil Magny. Mr. Magny’s provisional suspension was due to a positive sample of containing a prohibited SARM (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator), known as LGD-4033, or Ligandrol, in an amount below the decision concentration level for this substance. Mr. Magny’s atypical finding was reviewed by USADA and it was concluded that no other facts or circumstances were present that would have resulted in an anti-doping policy violation by, or sanction by, Mr. Magny. 

On October 15, 2019, UFC was presented with a unique opportunity to discuss the topic of decision concentration levels in a public forum hosted by the California State Athletic Commission. Attendees at the summit included the California State Athletic Commission, the Association of Boxing Commissions, representatives from other state athletic commissions, members of the mixed martial arts media and anti-doping specialists and scientists. Representatives of USADA and UFC, including Jeff Novitzky, Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance of UFC, discussed recent developments that support implementing decision concentration levels. Mr. Magny. was also granted the opportunity to explain the facts and circumstances of his matter and his support for implementing decision concentration levels. At the summit, the California State Athletic Commission, the Association of Boxing Commissions, and other attendees expressed significant support for incorporating decision concentration levels into their own rules and regulations.

On October 24, 2019, Nate Diaz released a public statement regarding a recent out-of-competition test conducted by USADA. UFC has been notified by USADA that the out-of-competition test concluded that LGD-4033 was present in Mr. Diaz’s sample at an amount below the decision concentration level for this substance. USADA is reviewing the out-of-competition test as an atypical finding. Further laboratory testing conducted by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL), a WADA-accredited lab in Salt Lake City, Utah, has confirmed that two bottles of the same organ, vegan, plant-based daily multivitamin that Mr. Diaz was using were each contaminated with LGD-4033, which the evidence supports results in Mr. Diaz’s positive sample. 

“Mr. Diaz has not committed an anti-doping violation, has not been provisionally suspended and is not subject to any sanctions,” the company stated. “Additionally, UFC has been informed by independent experts who have determined that there is unequivocally no appreciable performance enhancing or therapeutic benefit from the significantly limited amount of LGD-4033 that may be present in his system, which is roughly 10,000 times lower than one LGD-4033 therapeutic dose.”

Upon completion of the revised UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the UFC and USADA will make the policy publicly available.

More on this story as it develops.


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