UFC 244 main event officially on as officials clear Nate Diaz of doping

Kevin IoleCombat columnist
UFC 244 main event officially on as officials clear Nate Diaz of doping
UFC 244 main event officially on as officials clear Nate Diaz of doping

LAS VEGAS — The main event of UFC 244 between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal will proceed as planned at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2, with Diaz cleared by both USADA and UFC officials Friday of an anti-doping violation.

Diaz tested positive for double-digit picograms of LGD4033, a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that helps build lean muscle mass. It was well below the 100-picogram threshold the UFC has adopted for its anti-doping program. The UFC adopted thresholds for some substances in August after a rash of cases of contamination involving SARMs.

Diaz caused a stir on Thursday when he tweeted that he would not be fighting because of a failed test. He gave no specifics and suggested he was told to be quiet.

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“There is nothing guesswork about the Nate Diaz case,” said Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s senior vice president of athlete health and performance. “There is as rock-solid of evidence as I’ve seen in the history of my anti-doping career when it comes to contamination.”

Diaz took an organic, plant-based vegan multivitamin capsule that was found to be contaminated with LGD4033 by the Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City. Matthew Fedoruk, the science director of USADA, sent a letter to the New York State Athletic Commission in which he said the amount of LGD4033 in Diaz’s system was roughly 10,000 times less than one therapeutic dose. UFC officials provided Fedoruk’s statement to Yahoo Sports.

SMRTL confirmed that two bottles of the multivitamin Diaz had been taking was contaminated with LGD4033, also known as Ligandrol.

UFC president Dana White said he was certain there was a misunderstanding when he first learned of Diaz’s positive test.

“There was never a thought in my mind that Nate would cheat,” White said. “And I never doubted for a second that this fight wasn’t going to happen. The team did a great job looking into this and I’ll see you guys in New York [on Nov. 2].”

Kim Sumbler, the executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission, could not be reached for comment Friday. Hunter Campbell, the UFC’s chief business officer, said he had been in constant communication with Sumbler and said he believes the commission will have no issue sanctioning the fight.

He said NYSAC officials were aware of things from the moment the UFC learned of the adverse finding.

“Based on all the information they have in front of them, it’s been conveyed to me that there’s a high degree of comfort ... that Nate in no way was seeking an unfair competitive advantage,” Campbell said.

USADA released a statement late Friday:

“Following Mr. Diaz’s public comments on Thursday we can confirm that he has not been sanctioned or provisionally suspended by USADA.

“As the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping program, USADA always provides every athlete the presumption of innocence. If the athlete publicly speaks of a potential violation first, then USADA may choose to comment.”

Diaz’s is the fifth case this year of a UFC fighter testing positive for a SARM as a result of a contaminated supplement. Neil Magny was pulled from a card in May and provisionally suspended for the same reason, but he was cleared of an anti-doping violation by USADA.

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