USADA Hands UFC Flyweight Ryan Benoit 10 Month Suspension for Sleep Disorder Drug

Ryan Benoit UFC
Ryan Benoit, UFC Vegas 33 weigh-in Credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

UFC flyweight Ryan Benoit has been hit with a 10-month suspension by USADA (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) for in-competition use of a sleep disorder drug.

Benoit (10-8) tested positive for modafinil and its metabolite, modafinil acid, after a urine sample was collected from the athlete by USADA on July 31, 2021 at UFC Vegas 33. Modafinil is commonly used to treat narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. It has also been marketed as a cognitive enhacer that improves wakefulness, though its efficacy on that front remains in question.

Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, run by USADA, modafinil is prohibited in-competition. In regards to Benoit’s use of the drug, it appears he provided evidence that his use came out of competition. While up for a suspension of up to two years, “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.”

In short, the compound was still in his system when he provided his test sample, but his use actually came out of competition.

USADA announced Benoit’s sanction in a press release Monday. His suspension will be backdated to the date of his positive test.

Benoit joined the UFC in 2013, and has posted a 3-6 record in the promotion. He’s lost three straight, most recently dropping a unanimous decision Zarrukh Adashev on July 31.