George Sullivan is dealing with his second USADA case in the last eight months, but is adamant that he has not knowingly cheated.
The UFC welterweight tested positive for a banned substance stemming from a sample collected Jan. 14 and is facing a UFC anti-doping policy violation. At the time, Sullivan was serving a one-year USADA suspension for a violation he was hit with in November. USADA could give double the suspension this time, because it’s potentially Sullivan’s second offense.
However, Sullivan said there is an explanation as to why he tested positive for a prohibited drug in January: he was taking a prescribed fertility medication to help him and his wife have a baby, he told MyMMANews in a video published over the weekend.
Sullivan said he tested positive for clomiphene (or clomid), which can be used to treat male infertility, though it only has FDA approval for female infertility. The New Jersey native said he was only on the pill two days when he was tested and didn’t think to disclose the medication to USADA sample collectors when they showed up to his gym at 5 a.m.
“There’s a lot of information that goes towards showing them that it was just an honest mistake,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan, 36, said he has been in communication with USADA, which is currently conducting an investigation.
“It’s been 65 days and I still can’t the medication approved,” Sullivan said. “It’s very vigorous how they test everything. They need to break everything down and talk to your doctor. It’s crazy.”
Both Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar tested positive for clomiphene in relation to their respective fights at UFC 200 last summer. Both ended up being suspended by USADA for one year, the maximum sanction for that drug for first-time offenders. Jones also tested positive for letrazole, which has similar anti-estrogen properties to clomiphene.
Clomiphene can be used for what is called post-cycle therapy for those using anabolic steroids.
Sullivan (17-5, 1 NC) was suspended one year, retroactive to January 2016, by USADA in November after he admitted use of a deer antler velvet that contained the banned substance Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). Sullivan said the prohibited drug was not listed on the bottle, though USADA said when it announced the sanction that the substance manufacturer listed a highly concentrated dose of IGF-1 in the products on its website.
Sullivan never tested positive for the banned substance, though. He first declared it in January 2016, hence the suspension being retroactive to that time despite USADA only flagging it last July. Sullivan said he plans on filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the deer antler velvet.
“Basically I was screwed over and I never took anything, willingly knowing I was taking an illegal supplement,” Sullivan said. “That’s what hurt me the most. Everybody was like, ‘Oh, he took it.’ I didn’t even know it was in the bottle.
“I didn’t do nothing wrong. And it’s gonna come out in the court cases when I go after this company.”
Sullivan was removed from two fights due to the respective potential violations and provisional suspensions. He was supposed to face Hector Urbina at UFC on FOX 20 last July and then, once off suspension, Randy Brown at UFC 208 last month.
The worst part, Sullivan said, is what he feels like has been a breach of privacy. He didn’t plan on divulging to the public that he and his wife were having a hard time having a child. And he has been surprised by how fans have jumped to conclusions, calling him a cheater.
“They’re fake fans,” Sullivan said. “They don’t read the articles. A lot of guys are like, ‘You let your fans down.’ How about the fact that I’m trying to have a kid? I didn’t let you guys down. I didn’t think about that. All you guys had your kids. We’re trying to do what’s best for our family.”