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Nate Diaz exonerated by USADA, cleared to compete at UFC 244

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It appears UFC 244’s main event has been saved.

Nate Diaz has been exonerated of any potential wrongdoing by the UFC after adverse findings were discovered in a pre-fight drug test administered by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency).

It was just over 24 hours ago that Diaz said he was pulling out of his upcoming fight against Jorge Masvidal, which was set to crown the first ever “BMF” (bad motherf*cker) champion in the UFC due to the adverse findings in his drug test.

Diaz vehemently denied any wrongdoing and stated that he would not fight so long as there was a potential doping violation hanging over his head.

“Until the UFC, Usada (sic) or whoever is F*CKING with me Fixes it, I won’t be competing,” Diaz, 34, wrote in his statement. “Your all on steroids not me.”

Late Friday night, the UFC released a lengthy statement clearing Diaz and stating that he did not commit a violation of the company’s anti-doping policy. He will face no punishment whatsoever, and he is free to compete at UFC 244 on Nov. 2 at Madison Square Garden.

“On Oct. 24, 2019, Nate Diaz released a public statement regarding a recent out-of-competition test conducted by USADA,” UFC officials wrote in a statement. “UFC has been notified by USADA that the out-of-competition test concluded that LGD-4033 was present in Mr. Diaz’s sample at an amount below the decision concentration level for this substance. USADA is reviewing the out-of-competition test as an atypical finding. Further laboratory testing conducted by the Sports Medicine Research and and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL), a WADA-accredited lab in Salt Lake City, Utah, has confirmed that two bottles of the same organic, vegan, plant-based daily multivitamins that Mr. Diaz was using were each contaminated with LGD-4033, which evidence supports resulted in Mr. Diaz’s positive sample.

“Mr. Diaz has not committed an anti-doping policy violation, has not been provisionally suspended and is not subject to any sanctions. Additionally, UFC has been informed by independent experts who have determined that there is unequivocally no appreciable performance enhancing or therapeutic benefit from the significantly limited amount of LGD-4033 that may be present in his system, which is roughly 10,000 times lower than one LGD-4033 therapeutic dose.”

LGD-4033 is listed as a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM), which is known to increase lean muscle mass and is banned at all times by USADA, which has adapted the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) banned substances list.

USADA officials also confirmed in a statement sent to MMA Fighting that Diaz faces no penalties in regards to a potential doping violation.

“Following Mr. Diaz’s public comments on Thursday we can confirm that he has not been sanctioned or provisionally suspended by USADA,” USADA officials said.

“As the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Program, USADA always provides every athlete the presumption of innocence. If the athlete publicly speaks of a potential violation first, then USADA may choose to comment.”

UFC officials also added that as of Aug. 31, provisions to the promotion’s anti-doping policy were agreed upon in principle with USADA, that address testing threshold levels for certain prohibited substances “where evidence has shown that positive tests of these substances below the threshold are consistent with innocent contamination.”

Since that decision was made on Aug. 31, the UFC says that several athletes had their provisional suspensions lifted regarding this issue including welterweight competitor Neil Magny, who tested positive for the same substance as Diaz.

MMA Fighting also reached out to Diaz’s representation, who was not available for comment at this time.

As of now, the New York State Athletic Commission has made no official call as the regulators of the event being held in Madison Square Garden.

Assuming that last hurdle is cleared, Diaz is expected to move forward in his main event fight against Masvidal next Saturday night.

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