UFC: Russian Fighters Ruslan Magomedov, Zubaira Tukhugov Both Banned for Two Years by USADA

UFC's Ruslan Magomedov is in hot water with USADA
Ruslan Magomedov Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

It’s not a good day for Russian fighters in the UFC, as Ruslan Magomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov have accepted punishment from USADA stemming from drug-test failures.

A pair of UFC athletes have been handed down (and accepted) two year bans from competition, after each failed drug tests for the banned substance Ostarine. Ruslan Magomedov (14–1), a heavyweight, and Zubaira Tukhugov (18–4), who most recently competed at featherweight, both tested positive following out-of-competition drug tests in September 2016. Tukhugov also tested positive for Ostarine in a subsequent test the following month. The fighters then went through the arbitration process with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), only to be handed the maximum two-year ban.

Ostarine is classified as a “non-specified substance” in the class of anabolic agents and is prohibited at all times for use by UFC athletes, under the promotion’s Anti-Doping Policy, spearheaded by USADA. In a press release Thursday, the anti-doping organization stated that:

Ostarine is also a non-FDA approved selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that is illegally sold worldwide as a performance-enhancing substance. Ostarine is not currently available as a prescription medication in any country, and its unauthorized use may carry serious side effects. More information about the risks of ostarine can be found through a USADA athlete advisory.

Following notification of their positive tests, both Magomedov and Tukhugov claimed they had tested positive due to their use of a contaminated supplement, which USADA was unable to confirm at that time to justify a reduction from the maximum two-year period of ineligibility for a non-Specified Substance.

Magomedov and Tukhugov subsequently exercised their right to have their cases submitted to a neutral arbitrator for resolution.

Both fighters were consolidated to a single hearing, however, things clearly did not go in their favor. “USADA informed Magomedov and Tukhugov that it was still unwilling to consider a reduced sanction because it did not believe supplement contamination was a valid explanation for their positive tests” the organization said Thursday. In addition to the two-year bans, each fighter was fined $10,000.

On the upside for Ruslan Magomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov, their bans are retroactive to the date of their provisional suspension on September 26, 2016, which means they will be eligible to compete later this year.