Backed by UFC, Nevada changes drug-testing threshold policies for previously prohibited substances

The Nevada Athletic Commission has instituted new policies that draw the line between what drug testing results it deems “atypical” as opposed to “adverse.”

At a monthly meeting Tuesday, the NAC established new thresholds for substances previously prohibited: GW1516, dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT) long-term metabolite (M3), clomiphene, epitrenbolone (trenbolone metabolite), and selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMS).

The official proposal voted on and approved is as follows, according to NAC executive director Jeff Mullen:

“Any positive test of a proposed substance, which is below the respective proposed threshold, would be considered atypical requiring additional investigation. This investigation may include, but not be limited to, review of the fighter’s test history, interviews, and possible additional testing. The results will remain atypical absent evidence that would negate the presence of mitigation associated with the below-threshold amount. If additional evidence eliminated mitigating circumstances, the case would proceed through standard disciplinary proceedings. These disciplinary proceedings would include the filing of a formal disciplinary complaint, as well as the possible issuance of a temporary suspension.”

The following thresholds for each substance have been instituted, according to an exhibit document acquired by MMA Junkie.

  • SARMs – 0.1 ng/ml

  • GW1516 and its metabolites – 0.1 ng/ml

  • Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT) long-term metabolite (M3) – 0.1 ng/ml

  • Clomiphene/clomifene – 0.1 ng/ml

  • Epitrenbolone (trenbolone metabolite) – 0.2 ng/ml

UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell was present in person for the meeting. Prior to the vote, he briefly presented to the commission in advocacy for the new thresholds. The UFC and its current anti-doping partner, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, previously instituted similar (if not exact) thresholds for the listed supplements.

“What we’ve seen through the years is there is a certain threshold you’re far more likely to see in contamination rather than intentional use,” Campbell said at the meeting, which MMA Junkie joined listened to. “More importantly, what you’re going to see at certain picogram levels, particularly under one nanogram, under 100 picograms, what you’re going to see is no performance-enhancing benefits. One of the things we try to diligently do, considering the amount of events we hold in the state of Nevada, is we try to get the commission to adopt a level of thresholds that would allow these athletes to compete when one, there was no intentional use, and two, there was no performance-enhancing advantage.”

Campbell detailed how the promotion’s focus on the evolution of drug testing pertinent long-lingering substances began with the notable (and still apparently ongoing) situation involving UFC star Jon Jones and the reoccurring presence of the M3 metabolite.

“I believe on occasion Jon still tests positive for the M3 metabolite, in terms of its residual form,” Campbell said. “We’ve seen that consistently, not just with the M3 metabolite, but with substances like clomiphene. There are substances that are just, for lack of a better term, sticky. They stay in your system for an extended period of time. Again, it’s about fairness to the athletes, too. And from a business perspective, being transparent about the certainty of saying when you have an athlete in this situation, we bring big events to the city, it puts us in a difficult spot where we have a high degree of confidence when talking to the scientists like Dr. (Daniel) Eichner, that this is residual. We don’t want to jeopardize or risk a big event here in town with a guy who continues to test positive for residual amounts of contaminated supplements that dates back three or four years.”

Much of the brief conversation between Campbell and commission members, including NAC executive director Jeff Mullen centered around the explanation of the difference between “atypical” and “adverse” drug testing results. The commission additionally confirmed fighters who submit atypical urine samples will not have the results of their bouts overturned unless their abnormality crosses over into the “adverse” category.

“I think what we’re seeing is the evolution of the drugs, but more clearly the evolution of testing,” NAC commission chair Dallas Haun said. “It’s gotten to the point, to Mr. Campbell’s good point, some of the stuff is very sticky and doesn’t leave and the performance-enhancing ability is long since diminished. We’re probably right where we should be with the evolution of what we’ve described and how Mr. Campbell has described the fighter side of it.”

While the state that holds the most UFC fights per year will have the same standards as the promotion’s independent drug testing program, other states may or may not fall in line.

As for its internal drug testing program, the UFC’s partnership with USADA will conclude at the end of 2023. The promotion will then launch its new program, in association with Drug Free Sport and headed by former FBI agent George Piro.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie