- NASTULA TESTS POSITIVE AGAIN

October 30, 2006
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by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
In addition to testing positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone after his October 21st Pride fight in Las Vegas, Pawel Nastula also tested positive for three banned stimulants.

Last week, both Nastula and Vitor Belfort tested positive for anabolic steroids, and with the stimulant test results coming in on Monday, Nastula has also tested positive for the banned stimulants phenylpropanolamine, pseudoephedrine, and ephedrine.

All of the other tested fighters passed their tests for banned stimulants, including Belfort.

Nastula, who won a gold medal in Judo at the 1996 Olympic Games and started his MMA career in 2005, lost to Josh Barnett by submission on the Pride card. Prior to his drug test results coming back, Nastula had already been medically suspended indefinitely by the Nevada State Athletic Commission until MRIs and a doctor clear possible injuries to his right ankle and knee.

Ephedrine is a commonly used dietary supplement/weight loss aid, but it was made illegal as a dietary supplement in the United States in 2004 due to a number of ephedrine-related cardiovascular health problems and deaths. Among many other things, ephedrine is often used as a stimulant, and it is among the banned stimulants for which the Nevada State Athletic Commission tests.

Pseudoephedrine is in the same family as ephedrine from a chemical standpoint, but pseudoephedrine is far more commonly used due to its prevalence in over-the-counter cold remedies, allergy medications, and nasal decongestants.

Pseudoephedrine has been the subject of much controversy in recent years due to the fact that it is one of the key ingredients in the making of methamphetamine, and easy access to pseudoephedrine at any drug store has fueled the rapidly rising methamphetamine problem in the United States. While Nastula was not taking methamphetamine (he would have tested positive for it if he had been taking it), the benign form of pseudoephedrine found in cold and allergy medicines is, in and of itself, a banned stimulant under the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s regulations.

Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is also chemically related to ephedrine and is commonly used as a decongestant, and like ephedrine, it has been linked to numerous health issues. While ephedrine’s health risks are primarily cardiovascular, PPA has been linked to strokes, and the Food & Drug Administration is in the process of making PPA illegal in the United States. Like ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, PPA is a banned stimulant under the regulations of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

The nine fighters who tested negative for any banned stimulants after Pride’s October 21st event were Fedor Emelianenko, Mark Coleman, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Kevin Randleman, Josh Barnett, Dan Henderson, Phil Baroni, and Yosuke Nishijima.

Taking into account all unarmed combat sports (MMA, boxing, and kickboxing), Nastula and Belfort were the 21st and 22nd fighters to test positive for banned substances since 2000 in the state of Nevada. Ironically, when Kimo Leopoldo failed a drug test following his UFC fight against Ken Shamrock in 2004, he tested positive for the same four substances as Nastula: nandrolone, phenylpropanolamine, pseudoephedrine, and ephedrine.

As with Vitor Belfort, who tested positive for the anabolic steroid 4-hydroxytestosterone, Pawel Nastula will have a disciplinary hearing in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission at a date to be determined and will be subject to a possible fine and/or suspension. Suspensions from the NSAC are honored worldwide by any organization that has NSAC sanctioning, including Pride.