A curious footnote to the Bellator Birmingham event in the UK on May 4th last crossed my path this evening. A Bellator in-competition drug test from the event of a little known, journey-man MMA fighter called Falco Neto came back positive. Mr Neto tested positive for the metabolites of steroids methyltestosterone and nandrolone. Thankfully his opponent Fabian Edwards did us all a favor and knocked him the fuck out.
Neto received the princely sanction of a 6 month ban for the above combination of violations. To put it another way if Neto was a UFC fighter and subject to the rules of USADA ( The United States Anti-doping agency) he would be teetering somewhere between a 2 year and possibly even a 4 year ban.
I won’t pretend to be an expert on the science of performance enhancing drugs or the science of PED testing but the fact that Bellator have virtually no out of competition drug testing of any kind allied to the fact that this ban is a little on the light side is going to prevent the organisation moving to the next level as a global combat sports franchise.
When they hand down such a ludicrously benign sanction as the one in this Neto case – 6 months – well it is very hard to make any case that they are serious about drug testing or preventing performance enhancing drugs. And to me that says they do not care about fighter safety and the duty of care they have to clean athletes.
Now who, you might ask, carries out their in competition drug testing?
Is it a USADA?
Is it a WADA?
No. It’s a curious collection of people called The Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation that regulates and sanctions many of Bellator’s overseas events including the one on May 4th in Birmingham. It all sounds a little too Harry Potteresque for my liking.
A little background on the Mohegan Tribe is provided below. It is essentially an Indian tribal state in the great state of Connecticut in the United States.
And if your thinking Indian Tribal State = Gambling Income
Well congratulations in this instance you would be correct.
How this Indian tribal state is in the business of Athletic commissions, holding Bellator events, sanctioning fights, drug-testing and issuing bans – I have no idea. I raise the point merely to emphasize the fact that in addition to having no out of competition drug testing, Bellator’s in competition drug testing is probably not gold standard.
Sincerely, I am not here to bash Bellator. I would dearly love to see them provide stiff competition to the UFC on all fronts; from fighter salary, media exposure and fighter talent to name but a few. But they must also start competing with them on how seriously they take drug testing for performance enhancing drugs. How seriously they take fighter safety.
Bellator need to address their testing issues immediately and that starts with employing either USADA or WADA as the official body responsible for testing in and out of competition. The UFC finally bit the bullet a few years ago and signed up with USADA. They came to the table late and reluctantly and it has not been smooth sailing; we frequently hear Dana White bitching and moaning about how much stringent drug testing is cost the UFC. But at the end of the day THEY ARE DOING IT and we are starting to see results.
The UFC systems are not yet perfect as many of you will have noticed in the cases of Jon Jones and Tj Dillashaw. But athletes are now consistently getting caught and cheating is becoming a dangerous and costly business. USADA in most instance are issuing appropriate bans. In the most recent high profile case TJ Dillashaw immediately got a two year ban. End of Story.
I have published below the full list of MMA fighters banned for PEDs since MMA came under the USADA umbrella. Isn’t it time Bellator added a few to the list.
I have started with the most recent and worked my way back to 2016. There are plenty of familiar names besides Jon Jones!
Athletes Sanctioned by USADA since 2016
|Ribas, Amanda||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||2-Year Suspension – Sanction Reduced|
|Costa, Carlos||Mixed Martial Arts||Non-Analytical: Possession and Administration||6-Month Suspension|
|Costa, Paulo||Mixed Martial Arts||Non-Analytical: Intravenous Infusion||6-Month Suspension|
|Montano, Nicco||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||6-Month Suspension|
|O’Malley, Sean||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||6-Month Suspension|
|Vettori, Marvin||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||6-Month Suspension|
|Mendes, Augusto||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||6-Month Suspension|
|Harris, Walt||Mixed Martial Arts||LGD-4033||4-Month Suspension|
|Taisumov, Mairbek||Mixed Martial Arts||Stanozolol||6-Month Suspension|
|Dillashaw, TJ||Mixed Martial Arts||Recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO)||2-Year Suspension|
|Murzakanov, Azamat||Mixed Martial Arts||Boldenone||2-Year Suspension|
|Magomedov, Ruslan||Mixed Martial Arts||Methyltestosterone; Stanozolol||Lifetime Suspension|
|Murtazaliev, Khalid||Mixed Martial Arts||Drostanolone||2-Year Suspension|
|Collier, Jake||Mixed Martial Arts||Higenamine||10-Month Suspension|
|Maia, Jennifer||Mixed Martial Arts||Furosemide; Hydrochlorothiazide; Chlorothiazide; Thiazide metabolite 4-amino-6-chloro-1,3-benzenedisulfonamide (ACB)||6-Month Suspension|
|Sekulic, Stefan||Mixed Martial Arts||Drostanolone; Metandienone||2-Year Suspension|
|Kandare, Bharat Vijay||Mixed Martial Arts||Boldenone; Tamoxifen||2-Year Suspension|
|Reyes, Polo||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||6-Month Suspension|
|Scott, Bradley||Mixed Martial Arts||Cocaine||2-Year Suspension|
|Hunter, Adam||Mixed Martial Arts||Tamoxifen; Boldenone, Methandienone, Drostanolone, and Clenbuterol||2-Year Suspension – Loss of Results – Additional Loss of Results|
|Jones, Jon||Mixed Martial Arts||Chlorine-substituted Anabolic Steroid||15-Month Suspension – Loss of Results|
|Werdum, Fabricio||Mixed Martial Arts||Trenbolone||2-Year Suspension|
|Silva, Anderson||Mixed Martial Arts||Methyltestosterone; Hydrochlorothiazide||1-Year Suspension|
|Oleksiejczuk, Michał||Mixed Martial Arts||Clomiphene||1-Year Suspension|
|Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio||Mixed Martial Arts||Hydrochlorothiazide||6-Month Suspension|
|Almeida, Junior dos Santos||Mixed Martial Arts||Hydrochlorothiazide||6-Month Suspension|
|De Lima, Marcos Rogerio||Mixed Martial Arts||Anastrozole; Hydrochlorothiazide||6-Month Suspension|
|Diaz, Nick||Mixed Martial Arts||Non-Analytical: 3 Whereabouts Failures||1-Year Supension|
|Rothwell, Ben||Mixed Martial Arts||Testosterone||2-Year Suspension|
|Lemos, Amanda||Mixed Martial Arts||Stanozolol||2-Year Suspension|
|Barnett, Josh||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||Public Warning|
|Cutelaba, Ion||Mixed Martial Arts||Non-Analytical: Blood Transfusion||6-Month Suspension|
|Calvillo, Cynthia||Mixed Martial Arts||Cannabinoids||6-Month Suspension|
|Anyanwu, Azunna||Mixed Martial Arts||Furosemide||1-Year Suspension|
|Tukhugov, Zubaira||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||2-Year Suspension|
|Magomedov, Ruslan||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||2-Year Suspension|
|Wallhead, Jim||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||9-Month Suspension|
|de Tomas, Carls John||Mixed Martial Arts||Furosemide||1-Year Suspension|
|Mulheron, James||Mixed Martial Arts||Clomiphene||1-Year Suspension|
|Rivera, Francisco||Mixed Martial Arts||Clenbuterol||4-Year Suspension|
|Penne, Jessica||Mixed Martial Arts||Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)||18-Month Suspension|
|Moreno, Brandon||Mixed Martial Arts||Clenbuterol||No Fault or Negligence|
|Felipe Cabral de Almeida, Carlos||Mixed Martial Arts||Stanozolol Metabolites||2-Year Suspension|
|Taylor, Jesse||Mixed Martial Arts||Clomiphene||1-Year Suspension|
|Roehrick, Nick||Mixed Martial Arts||Clomiphene and its metabolite||1-Year Suspension|
|Cannetti, Guido||Mixed Martial Arts||Hydrochlorothiazide, Chlorothiazide, Ostarine and Stanozolol Metabolites||10-Month Suspension|
|Sullivan, George||Mixed Martial Arts||Clomiphene and its metabolite||1-Year Suspension; Second Violation|
|Gastelum, Kelvin||Mixed Martial Arts||Cannabinoids||6-Month Suspension with 3-Month Deferral|
|Abreu, Ricardo||Mixed Martial Arts||Androgenic Anabolic Steroid & 19-norandrosterone (19-NA)||4-Year Suspension: Sanction is tolled until athlete returns from retirement. Second Violation.|
|Mir, Francisco||Mixed Martial Arts||Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT)||2-Year Suspension|
|Ledet, Justin||Mixed Martial Arts||1-testosterone and 1-androstenedione||4-Month Suspension|
|Good, Lyman||Mixed Martial Arts||1-androstenedione and its metabolite||6-Month Suspension|
|Nicolau Pereira, Matheus||Mixed Martial Arts||Anastrozole||1-Year Suspension|
|Andrade, Viscardi||Mixed Martial Arts||Stanozolol and its metabolites||2-Year Suspension|
|Lawlor, Tom||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||2-Year Suspension|
|Omielanczuk, Daniel||Mixed Martial Arts||Meldonium||No Fault or Negligence|
|Olivieri, Luis Felipe||Mixed Martial Arts||Methyltestosterone||2-Year Suspension|
|Lesnar, Brock||Mixed Martial Arts||Clomiphene||1-Year Suspension|
|Ferreira, Carlos Diego||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine and 7-keto-DHEA||17-Month Suspension|
|Machida, Lyoto||Mixed Martial Arts||7?keto?DHEA||18-Month Suspension|
|Sullivan, George||Mixed Martial Arts||Non-Analytical: Use (IGF-1)||1-Year Suspension|
|Jones, Jon||Mixed Martial Arts||Clomiphene, Letrozole||1-Year Suspension|
|Edilov, Abdul-Kerim||Mixed Martial Arts||Meldonium||15 Month Suspension – Loss of Results|
|Diaz, Nate||Mixed Martial Arts||Cannabinoids||Public Warning|
|Jingliang, Li||Mixed Martial Arts||Clenbuterol||No Fault or Negligence|
|Montano, Augusto||Mixed Martial Arts||Clenbuterol||No Fault or Negligence|
|Guangyou, Ning||Mixed Martial Arts||Clenbuterol||No Fault or Negligence|
|Abreu, Ricardo||Mixed Martial Arts||Androgenic Anabolic Steroid & 19-norandrosterone (19-NA)||2-Year Suspension – Loss of Results|
|Makhachev, Islam||Mixed Martial Arts||Meldonium||No Fault or Negligence|
|Mendes, Chad||Mixed Martial Arts||Growth Hormone-Releasing Hexapeptide||2-Year Suspension – Loss of Results|
|Penn, BJ||Mixed Martial Arts||Non-Analytical: Use (IV)||6-Month Suspension|
|Means, Tim||Mixed Martial Arts||Ostarine||6-Month Suspension – Loss of Results|
|Brandao, Diego||Mixed Martial Arts||Cannabinoids||9-Month Suspension – Loss of Results|
|Romero, Yoel||Mixed Martial Arts||Ibutamoren||6-Month Suspension|
|Tibau, Gleison||Mixed Martial Arts||Erythropoietin (EPO)||2-Year Suspension – Loss of Results|
|Filipovic, Mirko||Mixed Martial Arts||Human Growth Hormone (hGH)||2-Year Suspension – Loss of Results|