USADA suspends former UFC title challenger, flyweight vet

Two current fighters on the UFC roster have been hit with short suspensions from USADA over recent banned substance issues.

By: Zane Simon | 2 weeks ago
USADA suspends former UFC title challenger, flyweight vet
UFC fighter Ovince St. Preux in 2020. - Jasen Vinlove IMAGO/USA Today

These days, USADA suspensions seem to come in two flavors: Newcomers getting slammed with years-long suspensions for undeclared prohibited substance use on their way into the promotion, or longtime UFC fighters getting suspended a few months for protocol violations and tainted supplements.

This time around we’ve got two of the latter. One, a longtime light heavyweight veteran who once fought for an interim version of UFC gold. The other, a noted women’s flyweight action fighter who has struggled to find consistency inside the Octagon.

UFC LHW Ovince St. Preux suspended for tainted supplements

On September 18th, USADA announced in a press release that light heavyweight fighter Ovince St. Preux had been handed a six-month suspension by the UFC’s drug testing partner after finding Androsterone in a recent sample collection. The agency reports that they were able to confirm that the substance entered the athlete’s body through contaminated supplement use.

During an investigation into the circumstances of the positive test, Saint Preux provided a container of a product he was using for analysis at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement label, the analysis revealed that the product contained 1-Androstenedione, consistent with the metabolite for which Saint Preux tested positive. USADA was able to independently obtain a sealed container of the product from the same lot number and confirmed it was also contaminated. This product has been added to the High Risk List.

St. Preux had been set to take on Ion Cutelaba on an August 5th UFC event at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN. However, the 40-year-old was removed from the bout in late July for unknown reasons. It would appear this failed drug test was the culprit.

Despite the fighter’s ability to prove that the drug test failure resulted from a tainted supplement, USADA noted that OSP still received a six-month suspension because this was his second failed drug test. The Knoxville Martial Arts Academy standout previously received a 3-month suspension for Ostarine back in 2019, after also providing evidence of tainted supplement use. USADA has stated that they do not believe the levels of banned substances in found in OSP’s drug tests would have been performance enhancing.

St. Preux will be eligible to compete again on December 17, 2023.

Cortney Casey suspended for banned prescription

Unlike Ovince St. Preux, UFC flyweight Cortney Casey’s suspension didn’t stem from a failed drug test at all. Announced on Thursday, September 14th, ‘Cast Iron’ reportedly found herself on the wrong side of USADA policy after discovering that a recent prescription contained a banned substance. Casey self-reported the error and was handed a four-month suspension as a result.

Casey immediately provided documentation confirming that she was prescribed and provided BPC-157 by a doctor to help treat a medical condition. After using the substance for a short period of time, she learned that BPC-157 is a prohibited substance and came forward about her use to the UFC. A Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) was not applicable to this Non-Approved Substance. Casey was eligible for a reduction to the period of ineligibility based on her forthright declaration and for her Full and Complete Cooperation.

BPC-157 is a pentadecapeptide most commonly used to treat ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis on a trial basis. Despite the drug seemingly having shown no performance enhancing effects, it has been placed on the WADA list of prohibited substances (which USADA uses as the baseline for their testing). To quote the USADA website in its caution over BPC-157 use:

“Because BPC-157 has not been extensively studied in humans, no one knows if there is a safe dose, or if there is any way to use this compound safely to treat specific medical conditions.”

That likely also explains why Casey was not eligible to obtain a TUE for the substance. The 36-year-old will be cleared to return for competition on October 1st, 2023.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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