What started off a brilliant week for Brock Lesnar, following his outstanding victory against Mark Hunt in his UFC return at UFC 200, has quickly soured, after the star was flagged by the USADA for a potential doping violation.
The news was broken by FOX Sports, who had this to say:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Brock Lesnar of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on June 28, 2016. USADA received the testing results from the June 28, 2016 sample collection from the WADA-accredited UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory on the evening of July 14, 2016.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. The Nevada State Athletic Commission also retains jurisdiction over this matter as the sample collection was performed in close proximity to Lesnar’s bout at UFC 200 in Las Vegas.
Consistent with all previous potential anti-doping violations, additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
This came after allegations from Lesnar’s opponent at UFC 200, Mark Hunt, who said that Lesnar was:
Juiced to the gills
Lesnar, of course denied any implications that he was on any form of steroids, saying:
I’m a white boy and I’m jacked. Deal with it.
Now, in the wake of the USDA flag, it is harder to simply deal with it.
It should be noted however, that we are unaware of what exactly was found in Lesnar’s samples, and all tests done prior to the flagged sample came back clean.
The flagged sample was taken from Lesnar on June 28, 2016, with the fight taking place on July 9. The interesting thing here however, is that Lesnar passed three other tests in mid-June, just days before the failed test was taken, and in total he was tested eight times by the USADA in the build up to his fight. All of which, as far as we are aware, came back clean, except this one.
That is somewhat strange, and certainly would add weight to a testing anomaly of some sort, which would surely be cleared up, if Lesnar invokes his right to test the B sample.
Lesnar himself has issued a very short statement to the Associated Press, simply stating that:
We’ll get to the bottom of this.
The whole thing is a sorry state of affairs for all concerned, especially given the concerns voiced by Mark Hunt before the fight, not just on his insinuations that Lesnar was dirty, but also on the exceptions made towards Lesnar by the UFC with regards the usual testing protocol for returning athletes.
USADA would usually require an athlete to submit to testing for four months prior to UFC competition, but Lesnar was allowed to be tested in a smaller time window, due to the sudden announcement of his return and the necessity for him to fight just a month later.
Mark Hunt has been very vocal about the whole affair, saying that he has already contacted UFC to request half of Lesnar’s purse for the fight, or to be released from his contract immediately.
The cheaters get a slap on the wrist and walk off, what penalty or deterrent is there to make them think twice? Nothing. And the [Nevada Athletic Commission], why should these [expletive] get anything? They are not the ones who had to fight with Lesnar or lose [to him]. I lost.
As of writing, the UFC have not yet responded to Hunt.
Again, we do not know what Lesnar’s test was flagged for, and unless Lesnar tells us, which is highly unlikely, there is no reason to believe that we will know any time soon, and there is still a chance that the B sample will come back clean. However, if Lesnar is found to have taken steroids, it would have massive implications for all parties going forwards.
For one, it would likely lead to a two-tear suspension from MMA, which at Brock’s age of 39, will probably mean the end of his MMA career.
It was clearly apparent in his interviews after the fight, that he thoroughly enjoyed his return to the sport, and that it was highly likely that he would return at some point soon, he was definitely not speaking as someone who expected to be in violation of any drug policy.
This potential violation also has implications for WWE, with whom Lesnar is contracted.
On the one hand, they are not obligated to suspend anybody for anything, given that they are a non-sanctioned company, who handle all testing internally. That being said though, they are very strict on their Wellness Policy, and it would be in their best interests as a company to at least be perceived that way going forward. Which could see them take the USDA test at face value and suspend Lesnar for a violation of the Wellness Policy, which would be his first time and therefore land him a 30-day suspension.
This would obviously puts his SummerSlam match with Randy Orton at risk, however, if they acted immediately, he would still be eligible for that match, given that his suspension would end on August 15, with SummerSlam taking place on August 21.
The issue however, is that given the nature of the situation, it may not be possible to act that fast. If Lesnar has the B sample tested for instance, or, if WWE decide to test Lesnar themselves first in order to arrive at a conclusive result, the time taken for those results to arrive would push the suspension end date back until after SummerSlam.
All of that however, could be completely irrelevant anyway, because SummerSlam is set to take place in Brooklyn, New York, and New York is a commissioned state and under the jurisdiction of the NYSAC, which still regulates professional wrestling.
Usually, that only means basic testing for things like blood pressure, but, if the NYSAC decided to uphold any punishment that may be handed down to Lesnar by the NSAC, then Lesnar would be unable to compete at SummerSlam, regardless of what WWE decides to do.
WWE themselves, have been relatively quiet on the situation, which is expected given the nature of what is happening. As far as WWE are concerned, Lesnar was performing for the UFC, not them, and he was tested in accordance to there rules.
Lesnar has not competed for WWE since Wrestlemania 32, on April 3, 2016, and he is not scheduled to compete again until SummerSlam on August 21.
So, WWE are basically waiting to see what the UFC do.
This is an interesting situation, because WWE and UFC have never really shared talent before, certainly not to the extent that Brock Lesnar’s UFC 200 crossover saw. As such, there is no set precedent on how to handle a situation such as this.
Lesnar, of course, will have a legal review process before any sanctions are imposed by either UFC or the Nevada Athletic Commission, which would have jurisdiction as the out-of-competition test was performed so close to UFC 200.
As is always the case in situations like these, it always better to air on the side of caution, and presume that Lesnar is innocent until proven guilty, and the fact that he passed tests so close to the failed test, does add weight to a potential testing anomaly. So until the matter is resolved conclusively, we will still be very much speculating.
We will keep you up to date on any developments as they become available.