WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 6/21: Matt Hughes update, Mayweather-McGregor media tour, George Sullivan-USADA (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Conor McGregor (photo credit Adam Hunger © USA Today Sports)

UFC Welterweight George Sullivan dodged a potentially career-crippling bullet.

USADA announced Tuesday that George Sullivan has been handed a one-year suspension after testing positive for Clomiphene in a January 14, 2017 out-of-competition test. The test was taken as Sullivan was riding out the final weeks of a previous suspension for voluntarily disclosing the use of a banned substance. That suspension was set to expire on January 31.

Fortunately for Sullivan, he was afforded some leniency by USADA and only received a one-year suspension retroactive to the January 14 test. USADA’s statement says that “Sullivan immediately identified a prescription fertility medication as the source of the prohibited substance detected in his sample.” He was facing a potential two-year ban as second time offender.

Because clomiphene is categorized by USADA as a “specified substance” it is subject to lesser sanctions. Had Sullivan failed for an explicitly banned substance, he could have faced as much as a four-year suspension as a second-time offender.

Clomiphene has popped up frequently in in failed tests in the past year. Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar both tested positive for the substance. Jones shortly before his scheduled UFC 200 fight, and Lesnar before and after the fight.

Clomiphene is typically used as a fertility treatment for women to stimulate ovulation. It can also be prescribed to men who suffer from low testosterone as a fertility treatment. The testosterone boost is what makes it appealing as a performance enhancing drug, although USADA determined that Sullivan had a legitimate medical use for the drug.

Sullivan will be eligible to fight again in January 2018. His last UFC fight was a January 2016 loss to Alexander Yakovlev.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: I think Sullivan got off easy here. It should raise eyebrows when a fighter is using a banned substance for a legitimate reason but fails to disclose such use to USADA. While he was still suspended for a year, it’s hard to give a guy the benefit of the doubt when it’s his second violation. It’s not too difficult to obtain a legitimate prescription for a banned substance when your intention is to use it for non-legitimate reasons. Also, when a 35-year-old athlete requires treatment for low testosterone, that should raise a red flag. I wish Sullivan best of luck in conceiving a child and hope to see him back in the cage clean next year.


-Matt Hughes’s sister shared that the family will be working with the Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation on the next steps for his care. “We are working closely with the foundation on the next steps with Matt’s care including having him evaluated by one of the country’s top Traumatic Brain Injury Centers,” the statement read.

-A multi-city tour to promote the Mayweather-McGregor fight is being planned for “late June, early July,” according to Showtime Sports executive vice president Stephen Espinoza on “The MMA Hour.”

-Jacare Souza told Portal do Vale Tudo that he plans to spend some time in Florida to work on his wrestling and may set up a camp independently. “My main goal is to learn wrestling, which is something I really need to improve,” he said (translated by Bloody Elbow). At first, I’m discarding the possibility of training at ATT. If I need a camp, I’m making my own space. My own place.”


-Tecia Torres steps in to replace Amanda Ribas against Juliana Lima at the TUF 25 Finale on July 7 from Las Vegas.

-John Makdessi will replace Claudio Puelles to fight Sage Northcutt at UFC 214 on July 29 from Anaheim.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 6/21: Germaine de Randamie surprised she was stripped of UFC Women’s Title (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

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