The PFL’s drug testing disaster seems to have finally come to rest.
One month after comparing the fallout from three PFL events in Las Vegas to the “early days of the wild, wild west of drug issues,” the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) handed down several more suspensions to PFL fighters who were drug tested for the three cards which took place on April 1, April 7, and April 14 at The Theater at Virgin Hotels.
The 2022 PFL light heavyweight tournament champion, Rob Wilkinson, tested positive for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, resulting in the “androgynous origin of testosterone, an anabolic androgenic steroid” before his April 1 fight opposite Thiago Santos.
The NSAC suspended Wilkinson for nine months. His suspension ends on January 1, 2024, and his win over Santos has been changed to a no-contest. Wilkinson has to pay a $7,500 fine along with $326 in prosecution fees and an additional $495 for testing fees.
Heavyweight Rizvan Kuniev failed his drug test for drostanolone, metenelone, boldenone, 19-norandrosterone, which are all anabolic steroids. His drug test also revealed an unnamed stimulant.
The NSAC suspended Kuniev for one year. He will be eligible to return after April 7, 2024. The NSAC also fined Kuniev $9,000, $326 for prosecution fees, and $495 for additional testing fees. Further, Kuniev’s decision win from his April 7 fight opposite Renan Ferreira was ruled a no contest.
Light heavyweight competitor Mohammad Fakhreddine failed his drug test for drostanolone and stanozolol, another anabolic steroid, and he also tested positive for GW1516—a hormone and metabolic modulator.
The NSAC suspended Fakhreddine for one year. He can return to competition on April 1, 2024. In addition to the suspension, Fakhreddine was fined $6,000 and $407.50 for prosecution fees.
Former UFC fighter Cezar Ferreira failed his drug test for clomiphene and 19-norandrostorone. The NSAC suspended Ferreira for nine months. He can return on January 14, 2024. The commission also fined Ferreira $3,000 along with $489 in prosecution fees.
Light heavyweight fighter Will Fleury failed his drug test for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio resulting from drostanolone, an anabolic steroid.
The NSAC suspended Fleury for nine months. He can return to action on January 1, 2024. The NSAC also fined Fleury $2,250, $326 for prosecution fees, and $495 for testing fees.
Fleury’s April 1 decision win over Krzysztof Jotko was changed to a no-contest.
Daniel Torres failed his drug test for drostanolone and amphetamines. The NSAC suspended Torres for nine months. The featherweight can compete again on January 1, 2024. The NSAC fined Torres $2,500 and $326 in prosecution fees.
Torres received a lesser sentence after providing medical need documentation to the commission.
Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos failed his drug test for clomiphene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) commonly used as a fertility drug that can alter testosterone levels in men. The NSAC suspended Santos for six months. He can return to action on October 1, 2023.
PFL and USADA
Following the criticism of the NSAC, the PFL told MMA Fighting that it is “engaged with USADA on the implementation of its athlete anti-doping program.”
Bloody Elbow contacted the PFL multiple times to get an update on the promotion’s reported conversations with USADA. The promotion did not respond to nor did it acknowledge those requests.
PFL and Georgia
The PFL has held its two most recent events in Georgia. The promotion closes out its run in that state on June 23. According to the Georgia State Athletic Commission, drug testing policy is as follows:
The administration or use of any drugs, alcohol, stimulants, or injections in any part of the contestant’s body either prior to or during a match must be within the acceptable thresholds of the World Anti-Doping Agency list of banned substances, unless such drugs are administered by a physician and with the approval of the commission. The commission may order drug screens at any time and at the expense of the Contestant.
Bloody Elbow asked PFL if drug tests were being administered for the Georgia events. The promotion did not respond to nor did it acknowledge those requests.
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