The UFC’s USADA era has been really, really weird, y’all. We’ve had main events cancelled, we’ve had other main events get besmirched afterwards. We’ve had weird stories about psoriasis creams and inhalers leading to failed drug tests and years-long punishments. This latest story, however, takes the anabolic-lined cake.
On Tuesday afternoon, USADA released one of their signature super-ominous statements on UFC featherweight Guangyou Ning. His offense? Failing a drug test for clenbuterol. His punishment? Well…nothing, actually.
And why not, you ask? Well, as you probably gathered from the headline, because that clenbuterol ended up in his system from consuming a roided up cow. Here’s their statement:
“USADA announced today that UFC athlete Ning Guangyou, of China, has tested positive for a prohibited substance, which was determined to have been ingested by him without fault or negligence…Guangyou, 34, tested positive for trace amounts of clenbuterol as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on May 19, 2016. Clenbuterol is an Anabolic Agent prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. Consistent with numerous prior reported cases globally, the issue of illicit administration of clenbuterol to animals destined for food production can result in, under specific conditions, a positive sample from an athlete. WADA has issued specific warnings about this problem in China and Mexico. To USADA’s knowledge, due to strict regulatory and meat certification practices, a clenbuterol positive athlete sample has never been reported after consumption of meat produced in the U.S.”
Claims of consuming tainted meat became popular earlier this year when news broke from the NFL that players who went on a trip to Mexico had failed drug tests due to consuming tainted meat in the country. Clenbuterol is common in inhalers used to treat breathing conditions asthma and bronchitis. It can also used as an additive to animal feed in other countries, which reduces the body fat content of pigs, cows and horses and produces leaner meat.
While that might sound all well and dandy, it’s a dangerous practice that can lead to food poisoning and other stomach and intestinal ailments. China has had numerous outbreaks of food poisoning in recent years from clenbuterol-contaminated pork and beef and while these are often followed by promises of crackdowns on their farming practices, the country has put very little effort into cleaning up its food production practices.
Unfortunately for the native Chinese fighter, the risk of eating low quality and generally unhealthy food is unavoidable, which is likely what led to the soft punishment.
This is an interesting change for USADA, however. While the UFC’s PED storm troopers have been playing hardball with a lot of fighters, they’ve now declined to punish two. In addition to giving a pass to Ning, they also declined to punish Russian fighter Islam Makhachev who tested positive for meldonium.
Hopefully that means USADA will become more reasonable and logical in its PED punishments. They’ve hurt a lot of fighters unfairly already, and it’d be good if that stopped.
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