UFC middleweight contender Yoel Romero has successfully managed to negotiate his two year suspension from the sport down to six months after proving that a drug test he had failed was due to a tainted supplement he had taken.
Romero had tested positive for the banned substance Ibutamoren (classed as a Growth Hormone Secretagogue) following his split decision victory over Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza at UFC 194 in December which had led to his lengthy ban from the sport.
However, USADA have now confirmed that Romero’s camp were able to provide them with a dietary supplement he had taken during his fight camp that contained Ibutamoren even though it wasn’t listed in the ingredients.
That proved to be enough for USADA to agree to reduce his suspension, which means he’ll now be available to compete again as early as July 12th.
Read more from USADA’s full statement below.
“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. The product has since been added to the list of high risk supplements maintained on USADA’s online dietary supplement safety education and awareness resource – Supplement 411 (www.supplement411.org).
Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code, the determination that an athlete’s positive test was caused by a contaminated product may result in a reduced sanction. The sanction for a doping offense resulting from the use of a contaminated product ranges from a reprimand and no period of ineligibility, at a minimum, to a two-year period of ineligibility, at a maximum.
Romero’s period of ineligibility began on January 12, 2016, the date on which he was provisionally suspended from competition. Because USADA was able to confirm, based on a negative fight night test result, that Romero’s use of the contaminated supplement began after he competed at UFC 194 on December 12, 2015, his competitive results from that event were not disqualified.
”This case clearly demonstrates some of the dangers inherent to supplement use,” said USADA’s Special Advisor on Drugs and Supplements, Dr. Amy Eichner. “When considering whether to incorporate supplements into a training plan, it is vitally important that athletes exercise the upmost care in order to avoid making a decision that could endanger their eligibility, reputation or general health and wellness.”