- NUMEROUS MMA DRUG TEST FAILURES IN CALIFORNIA

April 2, 2007
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by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
Welterweight UFC star Diego Sanchez is far from the only fighter to have a positive drug test in California that was not publicly disclosed at the time. MMAWeekly has obtained documentation indicating that nearly two-dozen MMA fighters have failed drug tests in the state of California over the past year without the drug test failures being publicly disclosed at the time.

Sanchez tested positive for marijuana following his December 13th victory over Joe Riggs in the main event of UFC Fight Night 7, but it wasn’t until a March 22nd report by Carlos Arias of the Orange County Register that Sanchez’ drug test failure was publicly announced or disclosed.

When asked why the UFC did not acknowledge Sanchez’ drug test failure on its web site, as it has for all other UFC drug test failures over the past year, the UFC did not respond.

When asked why the California State Athletic Commission did not previously disclose or announce Sanchez’ positive drug test, CSAC Executive Officer Armando Garcia said to MMAWeekly, “No one made any requests for public records on it.” Garcia also said that the CSAC would make information about any positive drug tests in the future readily available to media outlets.

The California State Athletic Commission has now provided MMAWeekly with a complete list of every MMA fighter who has tested positive for any banned substance in the state of California since the first legal MMA events were held in California in March 2006. Many of these drug test failures have not previously been publicly disclosed in any media outlet.

Legally, this information is public record; there is no right to privacy or confidentiality for any fighter who tests positive for any banned substance. If a fighter takes a banned substance and tests positive for it, he or she can expect to be fined or suspended, and for the drug test failure to be publicly disclosed.

In addition to 31 professional boxers in the same time period, 23 mixed martial artists tested positive for banned substances in the past year, and the complete list of these fighters can be found below.

Over the past year in the state of California, the punishments have been a three-month suspension and $500 fine for any fighter who tests positive for marijuana; or a six-month suspension and $1,000 fine for any fighter who tests positive for any banned substance other than marijuana (or a combination of marijuana and other banned substances). These punishments escalate for repeat offenders.

In a neighboring state, Nevada, drug-related suspensions are taken on a case-by-case basis, but in general the suspensions have been six months for any fighter who tests positive for marijuana; or eight to twelve months for any fighter who tests positive for any banned substance other than marijuana.

There are many fighters who don’t fight more often than once every three months under normal circumstances, so a three-month suspension for these fighters may or may not change their fighting schedule in any tangible way.

You may notice in the list below that not a single fighter tested positive for steroids over the past year in California. This is because there has been no steroid testing in California over the past year. This will change in April 2007, according to CSAC head Garcia, who said, “No steroid policy has ever been in place in California. Obviously, I was not satisfied by this.” Starting in April, a total of approximately 25 fighters per month will be tested for steroids in California, and any fighter who tests positive for steroids will be suspended for six months and fined $2,500.

The list below is in chronological order, with each item containing the date and name of the event, the name of the fighter who tested positive for a banned substance, the substance(s) for which the fighter tested positive, brief notes on the substance(s) if warranted, and the length of the fighter’s suspension (which is consistently three months for marijuana and six months for anything other than marijuana).

California State Athletic Commission Positive Drug Tests for MMA Fighters

-March 10, 2006: Strikeforce; Cesar Gracie tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-May 13, 2006: International Cage Fighting Organization; Tim McKenzie tested positive for Benzodiazepines (frequently found in anti-anxiety drugs and muscle relaxants); suspended for 6 months

-June 3, 2006: Extreme Wars 3; Anthony Ruiz tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-June 9, 2006: Strikeforce Revenge; Harris Sarmiento tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-June 15, 2006: WEC 21; Joe Hurley tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-June 15, 2006: WEC 21; Ryan Healy tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-June 17, 2006: Invincible- Fists of Fury; Randal Limond tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-July 1, 2006: Gladiator Challenge 51; Emmanuel Newton tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-July 15, 2006: Total Combat 15; Shawn Bias tested positive for Benzodiazepines (frequently found in anti-anxiety drugs and muscle relaxants); suspended for 6 months

-July 22, 2006: World Fighting Alliance; Bas Rutten tested positive for Hydrocodone (prescription painkiller), Morphine (prescription painkiller), and Diphenhydramine (antihistamine with common brand name Benadryl); suspended for 6 months

-July 22, 2006: World Fighting Alliance; Lodune Sincaid tested positive for Cannabinoids/Marijuana Metabolite; suspended for 3 months

-August 12, 2006: Warrior Cup; Chuck Booz tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-August 18, 2006: Pangea Fights 2; Aaron Brink tested positive for Cannabinoids (substances found in cannabis) and Benzodiazepines (frequently found in anti-anxiety drugs and muscle relaxants); suspended for 6 months

-August 19, 2006: California Xtreme Fighting 3; Mike Penalber tested positive for Amphetamine; suspended for 6 months

-August 19, 2006: Total Fighting Alliance; Jesse Romero tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-September 30, 2006: Chaos in the Cage; Paul Mince tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-September 30, 2006: Xtreme International Kombat; Ty Montgomery tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-October 26, 2006: Valor Fighting; Jamiah Williamson tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-November 4, 2006: Cage Combat Fighting Championships; Joe Hurley tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 6 months as a repeat offender

-November 4, 2006: Total Combat 18; Shad Smith tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-November 17, 2006: Beatdown in Bakersfield; Ricco Rodriguez tested positive for Benzoylecgonine (major metabolite of cocaine) and Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 6 months

-December 13, 2006: UFC Fight Night 7; Diego Sanchez tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

-February 17, 2007: Cage Combat Fighting Championships; Nate Loughran tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months

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