LOS ANGELES – Despite all the rumors about picograms, long-term metabolites, and adverse findings, one key factor was whether Jon Jones would fight this weekend or not.
California State Athletic Commission Executive (CSAC) Officer Andy Foster told MMA Fighting that after reviewing several statements from scientists and experts, there was something outstanding that influenced his decision, Jones on Saturday in Inglewood in the main event of the UFC 232 to fight against Alexander Gustafsson. Calif.
It was a single line from a letter from Dr. Daniel Eichner, director of the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City. This line read: "There is no indication that DHCMT was re-administered," reads the document received by the Commission.
In other words, Eichner found no evidence that Jones had taken a new banned drug that would have caused negative findings in several drug tests in the past four months. Eichner, whose laboratory Jones & # 39; analyzed tests, wrote that the "most likely" cause of the long-term metabolite of the steroid is Turinabol (4-chloro-1
Jones In his case with USADA, the UFC's anti-doping partner, he had already been suspended for a positive drug test for Turinabol metabolites from a July 2017 survey. CSAC fined Jones $ 205,000 and revoked his license in February for injury. If this was the same metabolite from last year when he reappeared and there was no evidence that Jones had taken anything new since then, Foster felt he could not speak out against Jones's competitors.
"This one line was the most important in all these letters," said Foster. "I looked at everyone. But what I tried to differentiate was, is that something new? Does the evidence point to a new doping injury or is it the same long-term metabolite that I've heard that can reappear? When he wrote that there is no new evidence for the DHCMT administration, this was a definitive statement. "
So Foster gave the starting signal last weekend. Jones could fight Gustafsson for the UFC light heavyweight title in California on 29 December. The UFC uprooted the entire UFC 232 card last Sunday and relocated it from Las Vegas to the Los Angeles area. Jones would not be licensed in time by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC), which wanted to call him to a hearing. The NAC allowed Jones to withdraw his license application until next month's hearing.
These were the last two things Foster needed before he became official. Jones had to undergo and pass a steroid test. The former UFC light heavyweight had to fly with a private jet from his home in Albuquerque, California, to San Dimas, California last Saturday. There he collected a sample and tested it at the non-WADA-certified KorvaLabs. The accelerated results came back on Sunday and found that Jones did not contain active steroids. In addition, CSAC asked Jones to enroll in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), which, unlike USADA, has no financial ties with the UFC.
All these things were good enough for the California Commission for Jones to fight. USADA agrees – Jones has no new violations of UFC's anti-doping policy. But for many, from Jones & # 39; rivals and heavyweight UFC champion Daniel Cormier to countless fans, it does not make sense.
There are still many questions, some of which can not be answered by published, peer-reviewed science. How can a steroid metabolite stay in the Jones system for 17 months or more? Does the steroid metabolite, small as it may be, have performance-enhancing benefits? And even if this is not the case, should someone still be allowed to compete with something like this in his system? Jones, for his part, vehemently denied having knowingly taken banned substances, although he was unable to provide evidence of ingesting a contaminated dietary supplement.
The latest published science about oral Turinabol in 2011 was a study conducted by the Russian scientists Tim Sobolevsky and Grigory Rodchenkov. The study estimates that the detection window of the M3 metabolite (found in the Jones system) is 40 to 50 days.
Oliver Catlin, anti-doping expert and president of the Banned Substances Control Group, said that Sobolevsky-Rodchenkov's work was "the pioneering publication for the detection of oral Turinabol". Catlin said he had a webcast of Dr. Ing. Larry Bowers heard Retired former science director of Science said the longest-running Turinabol metabolite could be "six to nine months long".
UFC vice-president of health and performance athlete Jeff Novitzky, who has nearly two decades of experience in the anti-aging industry – doping and USADA argued this week that science and testing have progressed since 2011 and it is difficult Conduct administrative studies with Turinabol because it is an illegal drug.
The US science director dr. Matt Fedoruk said this. The agency reviewed the details of more than 20 DHCMT-M3 metabolites, similar to Jones, where sufficient testing and testing was done before it came to a conclusion. Novitzky said the USADA also had contact with other sports leagues who had similar cases. And there was one such case in the UFC, one recently with fighter Grant Dawson, whose potential injury was rejected by USADA earlier this month.
With Dawson, Novitzky said he was determined not to take Turinabol recently, but the results come from the long-standing M3 metabolite that may have been in his system for years, long before he was in the UFC. Dawson did not return a request for a comment on Friday. With regard to the Jones case, Fedoruk said that "determining the circumstances of ingestion" becomes more difficult if only the long-term metabolite – and not a parent or other metabolite – is detected.
MMA Fighting turned to Sobolevsky, who declined to comment on this case.
"I do not think it's a good idea for me to speak publicly about this controversial issue," Sobolevsky wrote in an e-mail.
Several other scientists and anti-doping experts also did not want to discuss the situation in the protocol. An e-mail message sent to Eichner was not returned.
Bowers himself wrote a letter to the USADA regarding the Jones case, which was then forwarded to the California Commission. MMA Fighting received the letter on a public record request. Bowers' conclusions were a bit more volatile than the ones Eichner had come to when Jones recorded the Turinabol. Bowers concluded that Jones had taken nothing new between August 2018 and December 2018, but that was all.
"In conclusion, I can not say with any certainty when, at what dose or with which chlorinated anabolic steroids was added to the results of July 2017," wrote Bowers. "Based on the data provided, I conclude that no DHCMT exposures occurred between August 2018 and December 2018. I can not rule out that the outcome of December 9, 2018, resulted from a pre-July 2017 exposure. "
The August The mention of 2018 is significant as Jones was suspended during a 15-month suspension from the July-July period of October 2017 to August 2018 was not tested by USADA for about 10 months. Jones was facing a four-year ban as a repeat offender. However, this was shortened to 18 months when Jones provided "substantial support" or collaboration in an undisclosed separate case. The suspension was again reduced to 15 months when referee Richard McLaren stated that Jones had probably not intended to deliberately consume a banned substance.
Jones, 31, tested a positive metabolism in 2017 in a competition test relating to his UFC 214 fight in July. At the beginning of this month, Jones passed two drug tests that were not in competition. In October 2017 he passed the exam. Since then, the M3 metabolite has been in tests conducted in August 2018 and September 2018, has been canceled in four tests conducted between September 2018 and November 2018 and returned in the 9th December collection. This ultimately led to the Nevada Commission rejecting Jones' licensing in time for UFC 232.
Novitzky called inconsistent detection of the metabolite in tests as "pulsating." Bowers wrote that the "onset and disappearance" of the metabolite is "not" unique to M3 of DHMCT. "
" In this case, detection of the single long-term metabolite of M3 at the back of the detection window in combination with the aforementioned factors makes detection difficult – in some cases also a detection pattern of samples and absence in others is not uncommon ", wrote Fedoruk.
Eichner wrote that evidence suggests that the ultrafast metabolite – at one- or two-digit picogram level – in Jones's is "most likely" residual from an earlier exposure, "there is no scientific or scientific evidence medical evidence that the athlete would have an unfair advantage if he competes or competes in December 2018. "
Novitzky said there is a school I think the tests may have gone too far and that WADA certifications can go to any lab or at least 2 ng / ml are tested, which is many times higher than the picogram.
In other sports, there have been cases where strict liability has been imposed – when there is an active substance in it. The system of somebody, at any level, should be sanctioned by that athlete, even if it is the same metabolite that has surfaced before. Cody Stanley, the major league baseball player, has successfully completed his career following numerous positive drug tests for the Turinabol M4 metabolite. MLB treated some of its adverse tests as an injury, but others independently. Stanley was suspended for a full 162-game season in 2016 and has not played since. MLB and USADA are both co-founders of the Partnership for Clean Competition, but decision-making processes seem to be inconsistent.
"The decision to treat the results independently in Mr. Stanley's case seems, according to the literature [Sobolevsky]but perhaps not the case, considering the timing of the discovery in the case of Mr. Jones as relevant," said Catlin.
In a similar case, the NCAA reinstated basketball player Allonzo Trier earlier this year. He was initially suspended after deciding that he had been tested positive for a remnant of the substance for which he had previously been sanctioned.
There are legitimate reasons to view this situation with skepticism. The UFC has presented inconsistencies. Earlier this week, UFC President Dana White said several times that the 9 December test was the only one from Jones that had come back adversely. Novitzky revealed on Joe Rogan's podcast on Thursday that Jones had the M3 metabolite in his system in August and September.
This information was communicated to the Nevada Commission, which had approved UFC 232, only in early December. She was not handed over to the California Commission prior to her licensing hearing for Jones on December 11. Jones's license was revoked in February for a positive drug test in California in July 2017, and he had to go back to the commission to get it back Novitzky admitted on Friday that this could have been missed.
"No, that's not the case," Novitzky said when asked if CSAC knew December 11th. "Nevada knew then, but not California. I mean, maybe in retrospect [USADA should have told CSAC]. I am definitely a supporter of as much transparency as possible. Unfortunately, how do you think about every scenario? I think in the eyes of USADA that they were not obliged to notify Nevada at all. It was not in her area of responsibility. I think they did it out of a lot of caution. Could they have given it too [CSAC]? I think potentially. "
Had the CSAC known about the adverse findings earlier this month, it might have been possible to hold a full hearing on the matter, which the Nevada Commission is requesting for the next month. Finally, Foster finally ruled that he should allow Jones a competition on Saturday after he had sought experts.
One question that can never be answered is how Jones ended up in his system with a long-standing Turinabol metabolite and how long he was there. Novitzky said that this is unlikely to be due to microdosing, as it is more common in endogenous agonists or in the body's own drugs like testosterone. Catlin said he has never heard of the micron dosage of Turinabol, but "some people might try to dose just about every drug."
Victor Conte, the former founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO), who is famous for distributing steroids to athletes, said he has seen cases in which an athlete takes testosterone and end up positive for the anabolic steroids Nandrolone is being tested. Conte attributes this to underground laboratories and cross contamination.
"Was it a contaminated food supplement that [Jones] bought at the bar?" Said Conte, a sports nutritionist who now works with athletes again as CEO of Scientific Nutrition Advanced Conditioning. "Was it a contaminated underground steroid that was made? You can buy testosterone and test positive for nandrolone because you get this ultra-thin cross-contamination.
Another plunge in all of this is Jones' other positive drug test for the anti-estrogen drugs, Clomiphene and letrozole, in July 2016. In his USADA case, he was given a one-year prison sentence for alleviating the injury, according to Jones the sexual predisposition came.
Conte said that the positive test makes things "very suspicious" because these drugs act as a post-cyclic therapy for steroid users. Conte said he interviewed Jones before 2015 when the lab results returned and showed that Jones had less testosterone levels than he thought normal.
"That's what the cause was?" Conte said, "That's a suspicion, it's like where there's smoke, there's fire."