BREAKING NEWS: MMAWeekly has learned that Vitor Belfort and Pawel Nastula tested positive for banned substances after their respective fights on Pride’s “Real Deal” card this past Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has confirmed that Nastula tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone, while Belfort tested positive for 4-hydroxytestosterone, which is also legally defined as an anabolic steroid and banned in Major League Baseball and other sports.
Belfort, a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, lost to Dan Henderson by unanimous decision on the Pride card. Nastula, who won a gold medal in Judo at the 1996 Olympic Games, lost by submission to Josh Barnett on the card.
All of the other fighters who were drug-tested on the Pride card passed their drug tests.
As with all cases of a fighter testing positive for banned substances, Belfort and Nastula are entitled to have a disciplinary hearing in front of the athletic commission at some point in the coming months, where they can be represented by counsel and argue their cases if they so choose.
Both fighters face possible suspensions and/or fines, but the athletic commissions do not have any mandatory minimum suspensions for steroid violations, so it’s also possible for a fighter to fail a drug test and not be suspended at all.
For as long as a particular fighter is suspended in the state of Nevada, companies that are licensed to promote events in the state of Nevada are strongly discouraged from using that fighter anywhere in the world, which includes Pride’s events in Japan. On this subject, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer told MMAWeekly, “I would expect a licensed promoter to respect any and all NSAC suspensions.”
These positive drug tests come in the wake of the Nevada State Athletic Commission increasing the amount of fighters that it drug tests after any given MMA event, while still falling short of drug testing all fighters. The drug testing is the responsibility of the athletic commission, not the responsibility of Pride, the UFC, or any other specific MMA promotion.
The normal pattern in recent years has been for two-to-six fighters to be drug tested after an MMA event in Nevada. However, ten fighters were drug tested on a random basis after their fights at Pride: The Real Deal, which is largest amount at any Nevada-based MMA event in the past several years. One week earlier at UFC 64, seven fighters were drug tested (four fighters in title fights, and three fighters on a random basis).
The eight Pride fighters who were drug tested and passed their tests are Fedor Emelianenko, Mark Coleman, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Kevin Randleman, Josh Barnett, Dan Henderson, Phil Baroni, and Yosuke Nishijima. The other six fighters on the Pride card were not drug tested.
All seven of the fighters who were drug tested at UFC 64 passed their tests. Those fighters are Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian, Clay Guida, Justin James, and Junior Assuncao. The other nine fighters on the UFC 64 card were not drug tested.
According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the steroid test for any given fighter costs $154.50, the drug screen (which also tests for recreational drugs) costs $78.90, and the stimulant test costs $45.00, so the total cost of drug testing one fighter is $278.40.
The NSAC spent a total of $2,784 on drug testing for Pride: The Real Deal. The total cost of drug testing every fighter on the card would have been $4,454.40.
The NSAC spent a total of $1,948.80 on drug testing for UFC 64, and as with the Pride event, the total cost of drug testing all sixteen fighters on the card would have been $4,454.40.
Belfort and Nastula are the third and fourth fighters to fail a drug test before or after a major MMA event so far this year. Earlier this year, Kimo Leopoldo tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol prior to a WFA event in California, and Ultimate Fighter runner-up Stephan Bonnar tested positive for the anabolic steroid boldenone after a UFC event in August.