George Sullivan “shocked” by UFC on Fox 20 removal, USADA says he declared use of “high risk” supplement

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

George Sullivan is speaking out after he was pulled from Saturday’s UFC on Fox 20 event, saying he was shocked by the decision and that he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong.

“As anyone that knows me or follows me on social media is aware, I am an outspoken advocate for keeping MMA clean of PEDs. I was shocked when I was told that I could not fight this weekend,” Sullivan wrote on Facebook. “I did not fail a test. I was pulled from the card due to a natural supplement being on my list of supplements that I voluntarily disclosed to USADA. This supplement has been on my list that I have disclosed to both the UFC and USADA prior to my previous fights. I have been tested for PEDs countless times in my career by different testing authorities, including USADA. I have never tested positive for any banned substances. I want to thank everyone that supports me. I plan to do whatever it takes to clear my name. I am confident that my name will be cleared.”

While Sullivan believes he did nothing to warrant being removed from the event, USADA refutes that he’d previously disclosed use of one specific supplement they claim is on their “high risk” list.

“Given that the athlete has publicly addressed this matter, USADA can confirm that it has initiated an investigation following Mr. Sullivan’s declaration of a high risk ‘dietary supplement’ during an out-of-competition sample collection on July 13, 2016,’ USADA wrote in a statement (via “At no time prior to last week had Mr. Sullivan made this declaration during a USADA sample collection. As of now, USADA has not concluded that a policy violation was committed and Mr. Sullivan has not been notified of a potential anti-doping policy violation. Nonetheless, given Mr. Sullivan’s declaration, and the strong possibility that the product he declared contains a prohibited substance, USADA will continue to thoroughly investigate the matter.”

Penick’s Analysis: The problems here are two-fold, and both sides have issues for which to answer. The first is that Sullivan shouldn’t have been pulled without an actual violation occurring. Even if the supplement in question is on the “high-risk” list of supplement, barring a failed test he should have been allowed to fight and get paid. Second, on Sullivan’s end, if his test winds up coming back positive because of taking that supplement, then he’s at fault for not taking the time to check the list of substances put on that list by USADA. It’s readily available for all fighters, and does not take long to check what products you’re planning to take against the list. Just taking any supplement off the shelf and not checking it against a list of banned or high-risk substances or having it separately tested leaves a fighter open to failure with no one to blame but themselves.

[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]

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