Former UFC light heavyweight and current PFL heavyweight Alex Nicholson had the hammer dropped on him by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Nicholson, who was eliminated from the PFL heavyweight playoffs by Francimar Barroso, has been suspended for four years for a first-time PED offense. That’s much harsher than usual, but it’s also not usual to have three steroids in your system for a drug test.
MMA Fighting’s Steven Marocco has the details from Wednesday’s hearing.
Per the commission, Nicholson, 29, tested positive for drostanolone, nandrolone and trenbolone – all well-known anabolic steroids – in addition to having an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio. The commission’s attorney said Nicholson received the commission’s complaint but didn’t signal his intention to defend himself in a hearing.
The commission found that Nicholson’s case warranted an enhanced punishment because of the multiple banned substances in his system and his lack of response to the charges. First-time steroid offenders are subject to a range of 9-24 months for a suspension, but those can be doubled with aggravating factors.
Nicholson (14-9) was additionally fined $15,000, or 60% of his $25,000 purse from the Barroso bout back in October.
Trenbolone is also what former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum is under USADA suspension for. Drostanolone and nandrolone are very common anabolic steroids that have been detected in athletes across multiple sports. In other words, Nicholson really wasn’t subtle about this whatsoever.
ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reported that Nicholson didn’t even respond to the complaint against him and didn’t defend himself, so perhaps that added onto the “aggravating circumstances” portion of his ban. He did provide a statement to MMA Fighting shortly after his positive test flatly denying ever taking steroids.
“Never have or would I take a banned substance, and after years and competing and being tested, why would it even make sense for me to show up knowing how everything goes down after years of commitment and get everything taken from me?” he wrote. “Just doesn’t make sense either way you look at it.”
Evidently, he took all the banned substances, none of which proved effective enough to get him past the quarterfinal stage of the PFL tournament.
In other PFL news, featherweight tournament finalist Daniel Pineda has lost his spot on the New Year’s Eve card against Lance Palmer after failing his drug test. The commission tabled his suspension until January, so he’s unable to compete in the meantime.