Since bygone days, image and performance enhancing drugs have always “excited” amateur and professional athletes and the world of mixed martial arts is no exception. With every passing day, the world is reading the “famous encounters” of MMA fighters with performance enhancing drugs including Selective androgen receptor modulators or SARMs.
Belonging to a novel class of androgen receptor ligands, SARMs have greatly replaced the once-trusted anabolic steroids and other drugs. This is not just for the reason that they are much safer and more effective, but also because SARMS have the ability to stimulate or block a receptor in a tissue-selective manner. Furthermore, the use of Selective androgen receptor modulators is not associated with common side effects of steroids such as gynecomastia, oily skin, acne, shrinking of testicles, etc.
Here are a few instances wherein MMA fighters went past the edge.
Tim Means, the American professional mixed martial artist currently competing in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, tested positive for Ostraine (MK-2866) on January 21, 2016.
The UFC fighter claimed he might have possibly used a contaminated dietary supplement. Means provided a sealed container of one of the dietary supplement products he was using at the time of the relevant sample collection to the United States Anti-Doping Agency. In a statement, USADA remarked no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label but it added testing conducted on the product by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, indicated that it contained Ostarine (MK-2866). USADA further remarked that the presence of an undisclosed prohibited substance in a product is regarded as contamination.
Yoel Romero, the Cuban mixed martial artist and former World Champion and Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling, tested positive for Ibutamoren aka MK-677 (Nutrabol). The “Soldier of God” was informed of a potential doping violation on January 13, 2016 stemming from an out-of-competition test. Romero and his manager sent out a supplement to USADA for testing and the United States Anti-Doping Agency remarked it contained a banned substance that was not listed on the label. Romero and USADA later agreed for a suspension of six months.
The doping case of Russian heavyweight boxer Alexander Povetkin did raise a few eyebrows in the past. Povetkin initially tested positive for Ostraine and his interim title fight against former heavyweight world titleholder Bermane Stiverne was canceled. Stiverne had previously failed a random drug test for Methylhexaneamine (also known as Dimethylamylamine or DMAA), which is a banned stimulant. However, Stiverne managed to come out easily as the World Boxing Council (WBC) imposed a fine of $75,000 on him and ruled that he could still fight despite the fact that the banned stimulant has been on the WADA prohibited substances list since 2010. However, a second test conducted on the fighter came clear. Previously, Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance Meldonium but Povetkin managed to escape suspension by claiming he had been taking Meldonium before it was added to the banned list of WADA in January last year.
Holly Holm, who entered into headlined by destroying American mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey in November, was once sponsored by a company that has sold products labeled as SARMS. Later, Holly signed a deal of two years with a different company that sells five products and three of which are advertised as containing the banned stimulant Dimethylamylamine or DMAA.