Today the UFC’s private anti doping partner USADA announced that Bruno Arruda da Silva was handed a 2 year suspension for ingesting boldenone.
Arruda da Silva tested positive for boldenone and its metabolite as the result of a urine sample collected out-of-competition on May 27, 2019.
Arruda da Silva denied wrongdoing and blamed the ingestion on meat contamination. A deal could not be reached with USADA and the alleged violation and punishment went to arbitration for adjudication.
Arbitrator Janie Soublière rejected Arruda da Silva’s defence noting his defence offered nothing more than speculation. In rejecting this defence Soubliere noted as follows:
66. While the Applicant offers a hypothesis that the finding of Boldenone came from contaminated meat, which, as a Brazilian, he eats considerable quantities of daily, he does not provide any corroborating evidence to this effect.
67. Although consideration was given to the fact that contaminated meat could be a possible source of the Boldenone, this possibility is rejected for the following reasons. Firstly, the Applicant fails to provide any details about the meat he consumed, when he consumed it and in which quantities; supporting mitigating evidence that is essential to any such cases. The Applicant also fails to establish that any meat he might have eaten in Brazil was in fact contaminated and failed to identify any possible cattle ranch that might have used Boldenone as a growth agent. Finally, the estimated concentration of Boldenone detected in his sample does not support his hypothesis.
68. If meat contamination truly was a valid theory, the Applicant could have and should have done everything in his power to recollect what he ate in the days prior to his sample collection and attempted to trace any meat he consumed back to the vendor and eventually the breeder, as other have done in his position. No such evidence was presented.
69. In any event, the Respondent has essentially closed the door on this hypothesis by submitting compelling and conclusive evidence and testimony from Dr. Bradley Johnson, a cattle industry expert, which confirms that the Applicant’s argument to the effect that “it cannot be ruled out that boldenone is commonly used in beef cattle in Brazil” is legally insufficient and factually inaccurate with respect to Brazilian beef.
70. Dr. Johnson’s testimony is that Boldenone and other growth promoters are not allowed in Brazil. Dr. Johnson has himself been to abattoirs and cattle ranches in Brazil many times and confirms that Boldenone is prohibited in the production and growth of cattle in Brazil. He also explains that as one of the largest beef producers in the world, 20% of Brazil’s beef is largely exported in the EU, who prohibits the entry of meat containing Boldenone or other growth agents. He affirms that is highly implausible, with a 0.01% margin of error, that a positive finding of Boldenone could come from meat contamination. This is because the Brazilian GDP relies on the export beef market and its Ministry of Agriculture has set up very stringent procedures to ensure that none of its meat producers use anabolic agents.
71. Finally, based on Dr. Johnson’s calculation of the maximum residue limit that might be found in the tissue of cattle after being injected with growth promoters, even if the meat he might have eaten was contaminated, which he says is improbable, the Applicant would have had to consume inordinate amounts of meat in the 24 hours before the test, 2.7 kg to be exact. Dr. Johnson also says he was being quite liberal in his calculation and proceeded on the assumption that 100% of the steroid had been absorbed in the meat,
which is highly unlikely. While all of Dr. Johnson’s calculations are suppositions, they are not baseless speculation, as argued by the Applicant. They are based on scientific knowledge, experience, and his extensive knowledge of maximum residue limits for veterinary compounds used in animal production. Dr. Johnsons’ suppositions and evidence are thus sufficiently compelling for the Arbitrator to conclude that it is implausible that the finding of Boldenone in the Applicant’s urine sample was caused by his ingestion of an inordinate amount of Brazilian meat extraordinarily contaminated with Boldenone.
72. During the hearing, the Applicant alluded to the fact that he also ate meat while in Kazakhstan. However, there is no supporting evidence brought forth that Boldenone is used in cattle production in Kazakhstan, no evidence produced that the Applicant was ever in Kazakhstan and again no details with regards to the amount of meat consumed. The Respondent argues that even if the Applicant had consumed contaminated meat in Kazakhstan two months before his test, no evidence has been submitted to the effect that the Boldenone could stay in his system for 2 months. To the contrary, the consumption would have had to have been in days preceding the test because of the estimated concentration of Boldenone detected and its excretion rates. Thus, this evidence has no probative value.
73. The Respondent relies on USADA v. Blazejack AAA 01-06-0005-1873, where the Athlete also fell short of succeeding in arguing his positive test result was caused by contaminated meat. The Respondent argues that the Applicant needs to provide more than speculative theories. He “must give the Panel some evidence which constitutes probable source of the positive results, the circumstances where that evidence is to be solely the athlete’s denial of intent would be very unusual. “
74. In summary, without submitting clear and convincing evidence supporting his theory that contaminated meat could have been the source of the Boldenone, the Athlete does not meet his evidentiary burden under Article 10.4.2 UFC ADP.