Grant Dawson will be able to resume his fighting career in February but he’ll have to wait six more months before he’s allowed to compete in the state of Nevada.
On Wednesday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission held a hearing to rule on Dawson’s future in the state after he previously tested positive for the oral steroid Turinabol.
Dawson will be required to undergo six months of additional drug testing—at least two tests per month—until the end of June. Assuming none of the tests come back positive for Turinabol or the results stay under the allowable limit of 100 picograms, Dawson will automatically be granted a temporary license to compete in the state of Nevada starting on July 1.
This ruling means Dawson is clear to compete at an upcoming UFC Fight Night show in Norfolk, Va. He is currently without an opponent after the withdrawal of originally scheduled for Chas Skelly, but his attorney said that Dawson is still expected to fight on that Feb. 29 card. The Nevada commission’s ruling will also allow Dawson to fight in any other state between now and July 1.
Dawson initially faced a provisional suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) back in 2017 after he tested positive for the illegal substance. He was subsequently released from the UFC.
Instead of accepting a two-year suspension, Dawson sought arbitration with the USADA after he had been flagged for a potential violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy.
During this time, the USADA started dealing with more cases involving Turinabol and the long term M3 metabolite that was popping up in test results. This was the same substance that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones found in his system before he went through a long process to clear his name to be able to compete again.
Several experts including USADA doctor Matt Fedoruk and Dr. Daniel Eichner have offered testimony in the past about oral Turinabol and how scientists are still seeking answers about how long the M3 metabolite can potentially show up in test results.
In Jones’ case, he went through a roller coaster of positive and negative test results that scientists believe was caused by a “pulsing” effect where the long term metabolite was still stuck in his system.
Following Dawson’s initial appeal, USADA reversed course and allowed him to continue on with his career and issued no sanctions against him.
Still, the Nevada Commission determined that further information was required before they would give Dawson a license, which is why he was ultimately pulled from his previously scheduled contest at UFC 246 in January.
Now Dawson will be able to regain his license in Nevada after undergoing an additional six months of testing but his career in the UFC can continue in the meantime as long as he’s competing outside the state.
While Jones was forced to pay for his own additional testing, Dawson’s attorney argued that he didn’t have the same means to afford a similar situation over the next six months.
“You’re backed by the largest promoter in combat sports,” Nevada Commission chairman Anthony Marnell said during the hearing. “I’m sure if they want Mr. Dawson to fight, they can figure this out.”
Jeff Novitzky, the UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance, also attended the hearing where he confirmed to the commission that the promotion along with USADA would make sure Dawson received the appropriate testing that would then be reported back to Nevada.