WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/24: Four UFC fighters suspended six-months for ostarine causing Tom Lawlor to speak out, Jon Fitch comes clean on past PED use, Ferguson’s wife drops restraining order, more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Mar 4, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Tom Lawlor flexes his muscles as he wears fake Conor McGregor tattoos during weigh-ins for UFC 196 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Short suspensions

Four UFC fighters have been handed six month USADA suspensions after ostarine, a banned substance appeared in test results. Augusto Mendes, Marvin Vettori, Sean O’Malley, and Nicco Montano. All of the respective suspensions are retroactive back to the date of the failure meaning that all but Montano are able to compete immediately. Montano will be eligible to fight as of May 15.

USADA found that none of the fighters in question ingested ostarine intentionally, thus the abbreviated suspensions. A statement from USADA recognizes that many supplements are contaminated with ostarine and that the trace amounts of the substance found in each fighter’s test are consistent with taking a contaminated supplement.

“USADA’s athlete advisory recognizes the demonstrated prevalence of ostarine in a wide range of supplement products used by athletes (see USADA High Risk List for more than 70 products) and that ostarine has frequently been found as a product contaminant,” the statement read. “The trace amounts of ostarine found in each of the athlete’s samples was made possible by sensitive laboratory detection capabilities. However, as detection windows increase and the potential time between ingestion and detection lengthens, it has become more difficult for athletes to identify a contaminated product that may be the source of their positive test. As a consequence, the investigation period in ostarine cases is frequently relatively long, as has been the case in each of the cases announced today.

“USADA has resolved the following cases, after conducting a thorough investigation and finding no evidence of intentional use, consistent with other supplement contamination cases.”

Former UFC fighter Tom Lawlor was suspended for a full two years after failing for ostarine back in 2016. Lawlor vehemently denied intentional use but was unable to find the source of the banned substance. He asked for and was denied a release from his UFC contract so he could fight elsewhere. Lawlor was subsequently let go about two months before his suspension was set to end. Meanwhile, Lawlor established himself in the independent pro-wrestling scene. He took one fight on the undercard for the Liddell-Ortiz 3 pay-per-view, which he lost via decision, but has otherwise stuck to pro-wrestling since his release.

As news of the four USADA suspensions broke, Lawlor took to Twitter to point out the disparity in how his failure was treated compared to these ones.

“Glad they all got 6 months, I wasn’t so lucky,” Lawlor tweeted. “A quick reminder that the UFC also cut me via email after months of me trying to secure a fight then them stringing me along. I could’ve sat on my ass during those 2 years but instead, I raised my profile outside of MMA and made fans (in pro wrestling).”

Lawlor did not immediately respond to MMATorch after a request for comment, but he made his thoughts on the suspensions very clear on Twitter.

“If I sound bitter it’s because I am, and I don’t give a flying fuck who knows it. Life isn’t fair, but to have a string of people treated differently while I got thrown under the bus is absurd.”

Wednesday Notebook

-Jon Fitch spoke to Luke Thomas on “The MMA Hour” about his previous test failure for testosterone while in World Series of Fighting. “I was thinking, like, why am I holding myself to this standard and making less money and my family’s struggling?” Fitch asked. “Just all kinds of excuses. Any kind of excuse to rationalize why it was okay to cheat against a cheater like (Rousimar) Palhares. And I had no idea what I was doing. It was pure comedy, me trying to use this shit. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even grapple that entire training camp because I was so sore from the injections, because I was doing something wrong. I’m not even sure what I was doing wrong. But yeah, that was probably the stupidest thing and the best thing that ever happened to me.”

-Tony Ferguson’s wife Cristina Ferguson has not renewed the now expired restraining order against her husband. The order was first filed on March 13 and alleged that Tony Ferguson took their two-year-old son and changed the locks on their home. She also alleged he threw “holy water” at her and claimed she was a witch. Cristina Ferguson declined to renew the order at a planned April 5 hearing, and her lawyer, through MMAJunkie said that there are no pending matters in the case.

Dana White told CNN that Zuffa still plans to get into the boxing business. “I am making all my boxing moves after this summer. When this summer is over, you’ll be hearing a lot about what I’m doing in the sport of boxing.” (transcribed by Bloody Elbow)

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