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Sean O’Malley announces withdrawal from UFC 239 after banned substances ‘resurfaced’

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Sean O’Malley
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The Sean O’Malley saga has hit another stumbling block.

On Friday evening, the 24-year-old bantamweight shared a post to Instagram in which he announced that the Nevada State Athletic Commission is temporarily suspending him due to traces of the banned substance ostarine being discovered in his system by United States Anti-Doping Agency testing. This is the same substance that led to him being suspended for six months from September 2018-March 2019. O’Malley avoided a longer suspension due to the trace amounts being consistent with supplement contamination.

According to O’Malley, the banned substance resurfaced at “an extremely low level” in a pair of recent tests and the USADA determined it is providing him with “no performance advantage.” He says he will not be re-sanctioned by the USADA as a result of these tests.

However, the NSAC is investigating O’Malley’s case further and he apparently will not be able to compete next month at UFC 239 in Las Vegas, where he was scheduled to fight Marlon Vera.

See O’Malley’s post and statement below:

“USADA has notified me that ostarine, the substance that showed up in my system last year and led to USADA sanctioning me, has resurfaced at an extremely low level in two recent tests,” O’Malley wrote. “The good news is that USADA says this is most likely residual from last year and that the low level is providing me with no performance advantage. That’s why USADA is not re-sanctioning me for these test results. I already served a USADA sanction for the presence of ostarine in my system, and it has decreased dramatically since last year.

“The bad news is that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has temporarily suspended me while they look into the situation. I feel terrible to let down my fans who were looking forward to watching me fight in Las Vegas next month, I look forward to publicly discussing my case before the Nevada State Athletic Commission with scientific experts who can explain why very low levels of ostarine are showing up in my system.

“I want to make one thing very clear: I have never purposely taken any prohibited substance to gain an advantage. I will subject myself to whatever additional testing is required of me by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. I want to get this situation finally cleared up so I can return to the Octagon as soon as I can.”

O’Malley (10-0) won both of his UFC fights after earning a contract on the second season of the Contender Series. Most recently, he defeated Andre Soukhamthath by unanimous decision at UFC 222 last March. The following September, he disclosed his own USADA violation on social media.

In the wake of Friday’s news, O’Malley is maintaining that he has never intentionally ingested any banned substances.

“Punished twice for doing nothing wrong,” O’Malley added in a caption. “I have never taken anything illegal. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I will continue to train and get better everyday.”