UFC releases statement on Islam Makhachev’s USADA violation, scratch from UFC on Fox 19

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

The UFC has released a statement confirming reports that Islam Makhachev has been pulled from tomorrow’s UFC on Fox 19 event from Tampa, Fla.

The statement addresses the current controversy surrounding the substance for which Makhachev was flagged, Meldonium, which has led to a rash of drug test failures for Russian athletes due to its prevalent use in the country, including tennis star Maria Sharapova.

Here’s the UFC’s statement:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Islam Makhachev of a potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation involving Meldonium, a prohibited substance, stemming from a recent out-of-competition sample collection. In accordance with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, Makhachev has received a provisional suspension, and has been removed from his scheduled bout against Drew Dober from Saturday’s card in Tampa, Florida.

The UFC Anti-Doping Program follows the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List of Substances, which is updated yearly. Meldonium was recently added to the WADA Prohibited List, which went into effect on January 1, 2016. WADA recently announced that they are currently conducting further studies of the substance which may influence how cases involving Meldonium are evaluated. In order to ensure Makhachev receives full and fair due process, USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will consider all relevant information before making any determinations.

Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.

Penick’s Analysis: What’s unfortunate about the lack of studies that went into putting Meldonium on the banned list is it’s entirely possible that he stopped taking it before it was banned; the studies are unclear on how long it stays in an individual’s system, and they aren’t clear on its effects either. Pulling Makhachev now when he could eventually have some type of exoneration in the future may not wind up as the best look for USADA or the UFC.

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