Sean O’Malley has been cleared to fight again.
The undefeated bantamweight came to an agreement on Wednesday with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on a nine-month suspension made retroactive to last May, which clears the way for him to fight Jose Quinonez at UFC 248 on March 7.
O’Malley’s suspension started on May 25, 2019, which means the expiration date will come on Feb. 25. He will also have to pay $872.16 in attorney’s fees, as well as submit to random drug testing required in the days leading up to his fight in March.
It’s been a long and winding road for O’Malley to finally gain clearance to compete again after he was originally flagged for a potential doping violation back in 2018. He was pulled from a fight at UFC 229 after testing positive for ostarine, a banned substance that has been linked to numerous contaminated supplement cases resulting in suspensions for several UFC athletes.
O’Malley initially accepted a six-month suspension from USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) as well as the Nevada State Athletic Commission. He then plotted his return in 2019, but was once again flagged for another failed drug test for ostarine.
Due to the low levels of the drug found in his system, it was believed that O’Malley was suffering from a “pulsing” effect, where trace amounts of the substance were still being found in his samples. Unfortunately, the Nevada Commission wouldn’t license him for a fight without enough time to prove the banned substance was residual from the previous failed drug test.
Finally, USADA issued a six-month suspension for the second infraction of the UFC’s anti-doping policy and then on Wednesday he was handed a nine-month suspension from the Nevada Commission.
As part of his agreement with the governing body, O’Malley will be subjected to additional drug testing before his fight and any ostarine found in his system cannot exceed 100 picograms per mL. That threshold was just recently set by USADA after several athletes tested positive for the banned substance, but it was believed in each of those cases that the fighter had been the victim of a contaminated product.
Assuming all of those conditions are met, O’Malley will be cleared to fight at UFC 248 as he looks to build on his undefeated record with his last win coming in early 2018.