A UFC heavyweight will not be suspended despite a failed drug test.
Daniel Omielanczuk tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in January 2016, but USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, found no fault or negligence in Omielanczuk’s case, it was announced Monday.
Meldonium, which has popped up frequently in samples collected from athletes who live in Eastern Europe, was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned list as of Jan. 1, 2016. Tennis star Maria Sharapova was suspended for the drug last year.
However, Omielanczuk was able to present evidence showing he only used the drug from mid-August to early September 2015, per the USADA release. The Polish fighter’s advisors said that Omielanczuk did not take the substance after that time, because he became aware meldonium would be added to WADA’s prohibited list.
Omielanczuk, 34, had an “extremely low” concentration of meldonium in his urine sample. That, in conjunction with the evidence that he only took the drug in the summer of 2015, was consistent with the fact that he likely ingested it prior to Jan. 1, 2015, when it became banned. Therefore, Omielanczuk will not be suspended.
There is precedent for not sanctioning a UFC fighter for testing positive for meldonium. Last July, USADA found Islam Makhachev to have no fault or negligence after failing a drug test for the substance. However, USADA did suspend Abdul-Kerim Edilov for 15 months in October for meldonium, because he took it after the date it was banned and did not have a therapeutic use exemption (TUE).
Omielanczuk (19-6-1, 1 NC) was still allowed to compete in the Octagon during the USADA adjudication process and was never provisionally suspended, like others who test positive, due to the circumstances of WADA’s recent meldonium ban.
Omielanczulk beat Aleksiy Oleinik via majority decision in July and fell to Stefan Struve by second-round submission at UFC 204 in October. USADA announced it had flagged him for a potential anti-doping policy violation July 1.