Earlier this week it was revealed that Yoel Romero, who recently tested positive for a prohibited substance in an out-of-competition test conducted by USADA in fact ingested the substance inadvertently.
The old ‘tainted supplement’ defence is as old as doping allegations themselves which are rarely met with candid admissions of wrongdoing. Romero, however, appears to be caught in a legitimate case of tainted supplements.
The substance Romero tested positive for, Ibutamoren, was not labelled on the supplement he ingested.
USADA reports that their investigation revealed that “testing conclusively confirmed” Yoel was using a “contaminated” supplement. USADA issued the following press release –
“Romero provided USADA with access to the dietary supplement products he was using at the time of the relevant sample collection. Although Ibutamoren was not listed on any of the supplement labels, preliminary testing conducted on one of the products indicated that it contained the prohibited substance. The presence of an undisclosed prohibited substance in a product is regarded as contamination.
At USADA’s request, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, independently obtained and analyzed the contents of an unopened container of the supplement in question. That testing conclusively confirmed that a supplement Romero used was contaminated with Ibutamoren”
Malki Kawa, CEO at first round management, took to Twitter to defend Romero noting that “Yoel did not cheat“. Given the strict liability provisions in the UFC/USADA anti-doping program this is of little consequence and Romero was still sanctioned.
The story may not end here, however, with Kawa, responding as follows to a question whether legal action against the supplement manufacture is contemplated –
If a supplement manufacturer is indeed selling a product containing unlabeled WADA banned substances a lawsuit could have a strong prospect for success. Supplement companies sell their products to athletes, many of whom compete in sports subject to the WADA prohibited list. It would be legally foreseeable that damage can be caused, not just financially, but also to the professional reputation of athletes who become labelled as drug cheats through the inadvertent ingestion of banned substances.
I will continue to report on this issue as this story develops.