Can a UFC Release Stop USADA Anti-Doping Consequences? Maldanado May Find Out

In an interesting development recently released UFC fighter Fabio Maldanado reportedly admitted to using DHEA, a substance banned by the UFC/USADA Anti Doping Policy, during his last UFC fight in November 2015.  Maldanado is quoted as follows –

I was in my final UFC stretch and they had random tests, I was using DHEA, because the doctor told me it’s good for men past 32, it’s good for your skin and your hormones.

Given this admission can Maldanado be penalized by USADA for the apparent anti-doping violation?  The answer is yes and the only remaining question is whether USADA will pull the trigger given the fighter’s release from the promotion.

As the Mirko Filipovic saga demonstrated, an admission of an anti-doping violation can be enough, in and of itself, to trigger sanctions under the policy.

The next question is does USADA’s jurisdiction end once a fighter is no longer under contract with the UFC?  The answer is no when it comes to violations that took place while under contract.

Secton 7.9 of the Anti-Doping Policy states that “If an Athlete…ceases to be uder contract with the UFC before any results management authority over the Athlete at the time the Athlete committed an Anti-Doping Policy Violation, USADA as authority to conduct results management in respect of that Anti-Doping Policy Violation.”

Maldanado is scheduled to fight Fedor Emelianenko in St. Petersburg, Russia, in a heavyweight match, on June 17.  The promoters of the bout apparently have not bothered with any anti-doping measures.  While the Russian promotion is under no obligation to honour a USADA suspension Maldanado may be exposed to fines under the Anti-Doping Policy over and above any potential USADA imposed suspension.

This will be the first test case to see if USADA is prepared to use their powers to go after released fighters.  They can do so at any time up to 10 years following an asserted violation with Article 17 of the Policy reading as follows –

No Anti-Doping Policy Violation proceeding may be commeneced against an Athlete…unless he or she has been notified of the Anti-Doping Policy Violation as provided in Article 7, or notification has been reasonably attempted, within 10 years from the date the violation is asserted to have occurred“.


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