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Jesse Taylor, USADA differ on process that led to his one-year suspension

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Jesse Taylor and USADA don’t see eye to eye on the process that led him to accepting a one-year suspension for a positive drug test.

Taylor, a UFC welterweight, told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that his failed drug test for the anti-estrogen agent clomiphene likely came from a tainted supplement. Taylor said that he didn’t appeal with USADA on those grounds, like many others have, because of the cost and inconvenience.

The Ultimate Fighter 25 winner said it might have cost him somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000 to build a case by testing supplements and paying lawyers and he felt that he’d be better off just accepting the one-year ban earlier this month.

“I’m not testing these supplements before I’m taking them,” Taylor said. “It’s crazy. It’s a hard thing to fight, let’s just say that. And if I fight it, I’m out almost as long and out some money. So, you’re kind of stuck in a rock and a hard spot on this thing.”

Taylor said he was “pretty sure” he knew where the clomiphene came from. “JT Money” said he was seeing a holistic doctor who gave him a supplement that was said to increase the sex drive and vigor in men. Taylor said it was his understanding that clomiphene does the same thing.

“Long story short, we kind of have an idea of who it is, I just don’t want to throw this guy’s name under the bus, because it’s not guaranteed,” Taylor said. “I never tested the supplements and all that.

“I never took knowingly any clomiphene, anti-estrogen or anything of that nature.”

When reached Monday by MMA Fighting, USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, said in a statement that Taylor never mentioned that the prohibited substance came from a tainted supplement. Had he done that, the agency said it would have done its best to accommodate him in investigating how the clomiphene got in his system.

“USADA is aware of Mr. Taylor’s recent comments regarding his positive test and his interactions with USADA during the results management process,” the statement read. “It’s surprising to us that Mr. Taylor is claiming his positive test resulted from his use of a contaminated product, as he never mentioned that possibility during any of our direct communications with him, and none of the information he provided led us to believe that might be the case.

“If Mr. Taylor had raised the prospect of supplement contamination, then as we have done in numerous other cases under the UFC Anti-Doping Program, we would have worked with him to investigate each of the supplements he was using prior to his positive test and helped make arrangements for the economical testing of those products for the presence of a prohibited substance.”

Taylor, 34, became one of the best feel-good stories of the year in MMA when he won TUF 25, the “Redemption” season of the show, back in July. Taylor was pulled from the TUF 7 finals in 2008 after a drunken rampage in Las Vegas during filming. He was brought back into the UFC a few months later, but lost his debut and was cut. Taylor fought the last nine years trying to get back into the promotion, dealing with a number of personal problems, including alcohol issues and homelessness.

The San Diego resident said he was upset that the positive drug test was used against him as a way to undermine his comeback efforts.

“It’s kind of still all setting in,” Taylor said. “I was pretty bummed, I was definitely bummed. But I’ve been here before. The only thing you can do is keep moving on. The thing that frustrates me when things like this happens — especially in the fight game — is the smack talking. Of course, when something like this happens, everyone is burning you at the witch’s stake.

“What really got to me is what some former TUF people, who were on the show with me, started saying stuff. … They don't even know what they’re talking about. They have none of the facts.”

Taylor said he understands USADA’s work, but doesn’t always agree with the methods.

“I actually like what they’re doing,” Taylor said. “But I think what’s going on is they’re starting to burn a lot of guys. … I think they’ve gotta look at other outside circumstances. They’ve gotta look at out-of-competition stuff, which this test was and they’ve gotta look at the drug. It’s not a steroid, it’s an anti-estrogen. They hear all those facts out, but they won’t actually start listening to them unless you actually fight it. Unless you actually go through the whole process.”

Without being able to fight again in the UFC until September 2018, Taylor said he will do some grappling super fights and perhaps look into kickboxing or boxing matches. He is adamant that he never intentionally cheated and vows to use this as motivaiton.

“I definitely want to move on,” Taylor said. “Again, it sucks, but like everything, you’ve gotta look at the blessings in disguise.

“Now I’ve got some fire. I’ve got some more fire to keep on fighting. I’ve got this allegation against me. I’ve got that fire, I think everything happens for a reason. I think it’s a blessing in disguise.”