Brock Lesnar’s temporary suspension request to be discussed at next NSAC meeting
A temporary suspension request for ex-UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar will be heard at the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 23 in Las Vegas, but Jon Jones isn’t yet on the agenda.
A rep for the NSAC today told MMAjunkie that while the commission will hear a request for an extension on the temporary suspension of Lesnar, it appears Jones’ case could be delayed.
Typically, agenda items are formally set the week prior to an NSAC meeting, so the case could still be heard. Jones’ camp wasn’t immediately reachable for comment.
Lesnar and Jones failed out-of-competition tests conducted by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, in connection with UFC 200, which took place July 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Lesnar and Jones tested positive for the estrogen blocker clomiphene, and Jones also tested positive for another estrogen blocker, letrozole.
Jones (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC), the UFC’s interim champ, was pulled from his planned title unifier with champ Daniel Cormier (17-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) in UFC 200’s headliner. But because the results of Lesnar first test – conducted on June 28 and analyzed at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory on July 1 – came back on July 15, he was allowed to compete at the July 9 event.
Lesnar (6-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC), who went on to outpoint Mark Hunt (12-11-1 MMA, 7-5-1 UFC) on UFC 200’s main card, later failed a fight-night test for clomiphene.
The NSAC administratively suspended both fighters after learning of the positive tests and served administrative complaints that will form the basis of future hearings with the commission. Lesnar and Jones now face disciplinary action – a potential two-year ban as first-time offenders – from USADA, which conducts results management for the UFC’s anti-doping program. They also face additional sanctions from the NSAC, which regulated UFC 200.
Jones has denied PED use, with his reps pointing to a possibly tainted supplement, while Lesnar has promised to get to the bottom of the issue.
At an NSAC meeting this past month, where the commission moved one step closer to finalizing sweeping changes in its anti-doping policy, commissioners expressed concern about the delay with test results.
The NSAC’s chairman, Anthony Marnell, said he was “irritated” by the delay in discovering Lesnar’s first positive. Moving forward, he said it would be of paramount importance that testing delays are limited as much as possible and even suggested they be made available 72 hours after samples were analyzed at a lab.
“There were multiple options along the way to come in on the side and perform separate, independent testing on top of their program,” Marnell said. (NSAC Executive Director) Bob (Bennett) and I made the choice at the time to not do that – that’s on us. And hindsight is 20-20.”
Onye Ikwuakor, USADA’s legal affairs director, defended his agency’s performance, though he admitted Lesnar’s results could have been expedited, which may have helped them reach the commission’s desk prior to UFC 200.
“The analysis takes many days in its entirety to be completed, depending on what screens are run,” Ikwuakor said. “And so, if the analysis begins on (July) 1, for a negative sample, you’re typically looking at 10 working days before that analysis is complete in its entirely. If it’s a positive sample, you’re going to have some additional time on top of that, because then they have to run confirmation screens. So if (the testing paperwork) says July 1, I believe that’s when the analysis began, which would be consistent with that analysis being completed on the 14th and reported out (on the 15th).
“Samples can be expedited. It requires a few different things, but yeah, if a sample’s expedited, then a negative, I’d say you might be able to cut those times in half, so for a negative sample collection, you’re maybe looking at five working days – positive seven or eight.”
Marnell said that in spite of the issue, he felt the UFC’s anti-doping program is working as intended. But he also cautioned that further issues with testing delays could prompt the commission to take an increased role in drug testing for events held in Nevada.
“The problem is not that the program didn’t work as it’s intended to work,” Marnell said. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do – it just took 14 days to get the information to the athletic commission. That’s a problem. And (USADA) needs to know moving forward that’s going to be a huge problem, and if we can’t get it faster than that, then we will be testing around the program on a continual basis.”
For complete coverage of UFC 200, check out the UFC Events section of the site.