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Josh Quinlan not cleared for UFC Vegas 59 after steroid metabolite turns up in drug test

UFC Fight Night: Santos v Hill Weigh-in Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

A pre-fight drug test of UFC welterweight Josh Quinlan revealed a trace amount of an infamous metabolite of oral turinabol, prompting the Nevada Athletic Commission to decline clearing him for a bout with Jason Witt at UFC Vegas 59, the UFC said in a statement.

Quinlan successfully weighed in for the Saturday event. But according to a statement from the UFC, the promotion was notified by its drug testing partner, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, that a “recent” urine sample he submitted contained “a small amount” of the M3 metabolite of dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT), which is a part to the oral steroid that’s ensnared several UFC fighters.

USADA modified its UFC drug testing program to allow up to 100 picograms of M3 in a sample before it was determined to be adverse result subject to an anti-doping penalty. But according to the UFC, the commission “ruled that Quinlan is not cleared to fight” and cancelled the bout. The NAC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the UFC’s statement.

The UFC later announced the welterweight fight has been moved to UFC San Diego, which takes place Aug. 13 at Pechanga Arena in San Diego.

The M3 metabolite has been flagged in several UFC fighters, most notably former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who tested positive for trace amounts of the chemical in drug tests connected to his fight against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232.

Jones’ seesawing results were attributed to increased sensitivity in testing methods, and after an extensive review, USADA determined that the amount wasn’t performance-enhancing and declined to discipline him. USADA, UFC and the NAC subsequently modified their rules to keep athletes from being flagged for the hard-to-clear metabolite, which frequently “pulsed” over time and possibly as a result of weight-cutting. Flyweight Manel Kape tested positive for the metabolite in connection with a UFC Vegas 52 bout but wasn’t sanctioned due to the modified rules.

In cases where adverse or atypical drug test results arrive close to an event, the NAC has erred on the side of caution, declining to clear fighters until it can verify what happened and make an appropriate licensing decision in the future.

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