USADA announced on Tuesday that UFC athlete George Sullivan has tested positive for a prohibited substance and accepted a one-year sanction for his second anti-doping policy violation.
Sullivan, 36, tested positive for clomiphene and its metabolite, 4-hydroxyclomiphene, following an out-of-competition urine test conducted on January 14, 2017. Clomiphene is a Specified Substance in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
Upon notification of his positive test, Sullivan immediately identified a prescription fertility medication as the source of the prohibited substance detected in his sample. After a thorough review of the case, including the examination of medical records provided by the athlete, USADA confirmed that Sullivan’s positive test was caused by Clomiphene Citrate, which he was using in a therapeutic dose under the care of a physician to treat a medical condition. The prescribed use of the medication by Sullivan is considered an “off-label” treatment, as Clomiphene Citrate is not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for use by males.
Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete’s period of ineligibility for using a prohibited substance may be decreased if the athlete lacks significant fault for the anti-doping policy violation. In this instance, USADA determined that Sullivan’s degree of fault was reduced because his use of Clomiphene Citrate was under the care of his physician for a documented medical condition. Accordingly, Sullivan received a reduction to one year from the standard two-year period of ineligibility that could have been imposed for a second offense involving a Specified Substance.
Sullivan’s one-year period of ineligibility began on January 14, 2017, the date his positive sample was collected. As a result of his positive test, which was announced by UFC on January 26, 2017, Sullivan was removed from the Card for the UFC 208 event in New York, N.Y., that was held on February 11, 2017.
Sullivan’s previous sanction stemmed from having declared the use of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) on his sample collection paperwork when describing his use of a deer antler velvet product during an out-of-competition test conducted on July 13, 2016. IGF-1 is a prohibited substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics, and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Following Sullivan’s declaration, USADA initiated an investigation regarding the product declared by Sullivan on his sample collection paperwork, eventually determining that a one-year suspension beginning on Jan. 31, 2016, the day after his most recent UFC bout, was appropriate.
In accepting his recent sanctioning for a second violation, which stems from a January 14, 2017, sample collection, Sullivan will not be eligible to return to the Octagon until January 14, 2018. He will have been out of the Octagon for at least two years before he can once again return to competition.
Pursuant to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, all UFC athletes serving a period of ineligibility for an anti-doping policy violation are required to remain in the USADA registered testing pool and make themselves available for testing in order to receive credit for time completed under his or her sanction.