Gian Villante failed a drug test last month for a banned substance that stemmed from a inhaler used to treat asthma. He was granted a TUE and is no longer facing a USADA anti-doping policy violation.
After being granted a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE), Gian Villante is no longer facing an anti-doping policy violation and has been cleared to compete in the cage.
The UFC light heavyweight failed an out-of-competition drug test administered by USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, on Jan. 18, USADA announced Friday. He tested positive for vilanterol, an active ingredient of the Breo Ellipta inhaler he declared use of during the sample collection. Villante was using the inhaler to treat asthma.
Villante was told by USADA that the substance, which is listed under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code as a Beta-2 Agonist, would be prohibited unless he applied for a TUE.
The New York native submitted a TUE application that documented that his doctor “prescribed a 14-day course of the inhaler to treat conditions associated with airflow restriction and asthma,” per USADA. He later became the second UFC fighter to be granted a retroactive TUE — Cris Cyborg became the first last week.
After an investigation and the TUE application process, the anti-doping organization determined that Villante “had an unequivocally diagnosed acute medical condition for which the use of vilanterol is consistent with the standard of care.” USADA discovered that Villante’s use of the inhaler was within the manufacturer’s therapeutic recommendation and was not used as a performance enhancer, but rather to return Villante to full health. USADA added in its announcement that “other permitted therapeutic alternatives” did not heal Villante.
USADA’s announcement of Villante no longer facing a sanction was the first the public heard of the 31-year-old’s positive drug test. UFC vice president of athlete heath and performance Jeff Novitzky told MMAFighting.com that the UFC did not announce that Villante was facing a potential violation because after talking to Villante, “it immediately appeared he had a legitimate medical use for the substance and UFC wanted the TUE process to play out in fairness to Villante before the public announcement.”
Because of the TUE, Villante will still be allowed to compete at UFC Fight Night 106 in Fortaleza, Brazil on March 11 against former champ Mauricio Rua.
Villante (15-7) most recently defeated Saparbek Safarov by second-round TKO in December and picked up a $50,000 performance bonus for “Fight of the Night” in process. He’s 2-2 in his last four outings, with a decision loss to Ilir Latifi, a knockout of Anthony Perosh, and an upset loss to Tom Lawlor.