USADA clears Rob Font after cosmetics investigation

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UFC bantamweight contender Rob Font was cleared by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after a drug test result was caused by a banned substance.

The test, which was positive for 4-chloropenoxyacetic acid (4-CPA), came from a competing urine sample collected on May 22, the night that Font (19-4 MMA, 9-3 CFU) was defeated former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 188.

According to Font manager and head coach Tyson Chartier, the positive test caught them off guard and sent the team into a frenzy. After documenting every product consumed or used by police, Chartier said, the team compiled the data and submitted a 35-page document to USADA that lists everything.

Previously banned, 4-CPA is a metabolite of meclofenoxate, a stimulant banned by USADA. Following a January 2021 study, the World Anti-Doping Agency recently determined a threshold of 1000 ng / ml of 4-CPA. The idea was that 4-CPA could only be found in the system due to meclofenoxate

After further investigation and a study of similar positive tests in athletes over the past few months, USADA has identified chlorpensin, a non-banned cosmetic preservative commonly found in shampoos and lotions, has been used. in many cases.

Further studies between USADA and four AMA-accredited laboratories determined that chlorpensin can also metabolize to 4-CPA. In other words, 4-CPA can come from substances other than the banned meclofenoxate.

It was USADA’s determination, and the Font team’s claim, that the cosmetics used during the fight week were to blame for the positive test. When the team of scientists applied sunscreen, urine samples contained a 4-CPA level of 1,400 ng / ml after just one use.

Due to the results and the absence of meclofenoxate in the tests, USADA exonerated Font of any wrongdoing because the positive test was from an authorized substance.

“Based on the above (evidence), USADA is confident that the product (s) you were using (prior to your sample collection) that contained chlorphensin as an ingredient were the cause of your positive test,” said writes USADA in a letter to Font. “Therefore, because USADA concluded that your positive test was caused by a non-prohibited substance, the case will be dismissed as a non-violation.”

While Font is off the hook with USADA, the Nevada Athletic Commission has yet to lift its temporary suspension on Font. The commission is awaiting approval from the Sports Medicine Research and Technology Laboratory (SMRTL), the laboratory it uses for its drug testing.

While the possibility of Font being removed from Tuesday’s monthly NBOD meeting was there, Chartier chose to be transparent with the public about what happened in an effort to not pass on any wrongdoing. Chartier added that he hopes the case can serve as an example so that the rules can be changed universally in anti-doping efforts.

“Now we just have to be patient and let the Nevada State Athletic Commission do their due diligence to move forward,” Chartier said in a Friday statement. “The NSAC has all of the above facts in this case, but has not yet closed it. As with any athlete with an open file, Rob will serve a temporary suspension until the file is closed. As we have done throughout this process, we will cooperate in all ways, shape and train with them. Our expectation is that once the testing methodology is proposed and implemented by SMRTL, Rob will be cleared by NSAC and his suspension will be lifted.

In a statement given to MMA Junkie on Friday, UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky criticized WADA for the “totally flawed” study it used to create. the threshold.

“This is a real ‘false positive’ case,” Novitzky said. “And the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Their scientists presented guidelines to their accredited laboratories that were completely wrong. We know for sure that the use of a licensed substance, chlorphenesin, which is commonly found in cosmetics, can lead to 4-CPA levels well above 1000 ng / ml. I am very happy that USADA was able to resolve Rob’s case quickly, but I am very disappointed that WADA let down clean athletes with carelessness in instituting flawed scientific guidelines which, to this day, have failed. ‘have still not been repealed. WADA must act immediately.

A complete copy of Chartier’s statement, along with the USADA letter of authorization, can be read here.


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