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Former UFC fighter Ryan Benoit suspended 10 months by USADA after using sleep disorder drug

UFC Fight Night: Benoit v Adashev Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Former UFC fighter Ryan Benoit has been suspended 10 months by the United States Anti-Doping agency after he tested positive for a sleep disorder drug following his last fight with the promotion.

USADA officials announced the sanction on Monday.

“Benoit, 32, tested positive for modafinil and its metabolite, modafinil acid, as the result of a urine sample collected on July 31, 2021 at UFC Fight Night 194,” USADA officials wrote in a statement. “Modafinil is a Non-Specified Substance in the class of Stimulants and is prohibited in-competition under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.

“USADA determined that Benoit was eligible for a reduction to the otherwise applicable two-year period of ineligibility based on the circumstances of the case, including the fact that he established that his use of the prohibited substance occurred out of competition. He also received a reduction for his Full and Complete Cooperation.”

Modafinil is a stimulant sold under the brand name Provigil and it’s used to treat sleepiness due to narcolepsy, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. The drug is only banned in-competition for athletes competing under the UFC’s anti-doping policy, which stretches from noon on the day prior to the fight card to the completion of a drug test administered after the fight is finished.

Benoit’s 10-month suspension was made retroactive to July 31, which was the date his sample was collected on the night of his fight. He will be eligible to compete again on or after May 31, 2022.

The suspension from USADA comes after Benoit was already punished by the Nevada State Athletic Commission with a nine-month suspension because his fight took place under its jurisdiction. The USADA suspension tacks on another month per the agreement with Benoit.

Following a loss in his most recent fight, Benoit was actually released from his UFC contract but the suspension still stands because USADA sanctions are still typically recognized from all reputable athletic commissions under the Association of Boxing Commissions.