Settlement with NAC Sees Kevin Lee Given Six-Month Suspension for ADHD Drug

Kevin Lee UFC
Kevin Lee Credit: Marcus Rebelo/Cageside Press

UFC star Kevin Lee has reached a settlement with the Nevada Athletic Commission following a positive drug test stemming from use of ADHD medication.

Welterweight Lee (18-7), who previously competed at lightweight and once fought for an interim title against Tony Ferguson, has been given a six-month suspension by the NAC. That’s after the “Motown Phenom” turned in a positive drug test following his loss to Daniel Rodriguez back in August.

MMA Junkie first reported the development Wednesday, which came during the commission’s monthly conference call. Under ordinary circumstances, a suspension between 9 to 24 months could have applied, but Lee’s cooperation and the specifics of his case dictated otherwise.

Lee’s test came back positive for amphetamine, which is his case stemmed from usage of Adderall to treat adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although he had advised USADA, who oversees the UFC’s Anti-Doping policy, of the medication, he failed to apply for a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) from the Nevada commission, and tested over the allowable limit for the drug.

In a post to Instagram last month that he subsequently deleted, Lee wrote that “In 2018 I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD, it has always affected me. I did not discover real treatment for the diagnosis until 2020 when I was recovering from my double knee surgeries. I was prescribed Adderall from a doctor to improve my mental health. I told representatives from USADA but did not apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption from the NSAC before my last fight.”

Lee would go on to apologize to fans, his opponent, the UFC, commission, and Dana White, stating that “it was never my intention to gain an athletic advantage. It was an attempt to conquer the severe anxiety I silently suffer from daily.”

The seven-year UFC veteran later revealed that he had turned to drinking to cope with the disorder, but had been sober for about a month, and had done away with his medication as well. After being worried about his diagnosis being made public, Lee stated that “I’m not embarrassed and I’m not hiding behind diagnosis’s and pills or alcohol or none of that no more. I haven’t been drunk for about a month (which is a lot for me outside of fight camp) and no more prescriptions. Not that I think they are wrong or harmful but this next stage of healing I need to be sober and connected with god.”

Kevin Lee will be eligible to return to competition on February 28, 2022. In addition to the six-month suspension, he was also hit with a fine of $19,526 USD.


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