USADA lifts provisional suspension on Islam Makhachev after documentation given for meldonium use

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

WADA controversy involving the heart medication meldonium and its widespread use in Russia has led USADA to lift a provisional suspension on lightweight Islam Makhachev, according to a report from

The drug was placed on WADA’s banned list in January despite the organization not having enough information on how long it stays in an athlete’s system. Because of that, it’s possible athletes who have tested positive for the drug could have stopped usage when it was banned and still tested positive.

Makhachev submitted full paperwork to USADA showing his prescribed usage of the drug after a heart procedure in 2015. Though not FDA approved for use in the U.S., meldonium is “reportedly capable of providing clinical benefit for those suffering from heart conditions, such as low blood flow to the heart and angina” according to USADA’s own listing for the drug.

The 24-year-old was pulled from a fight with Drew Dober in April after his positive test came back, but with him providing proper documentation on his medical use of the drug, USADA has lifted his suspension and cleared him to return pending WADA completing their research on the drug.

Penick’s Analysis: Makhachev is getting off light compared to some of the other athletes in his home country. Maria Sharapova has been banned from tennis for two years due to her failed test for meldonium, and it’s been a widespread problem for Russian athletes after WADA added it to the banned list. Makhachev could yet face discipline based on the findings of research on the drug, but for now he’s cleared to get back in the cage.

[Photo (c) Troy Taormina via USA Today Sports]

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