UFC fighter Lyman Good is suing Gaspari Nutrition & Vitamin Shoppe, Inc for producing and selling tainted supplements that caused him to fail a drug test.
Lyman Good was suspended for six months back in late 2016 after testing positive for the anabolic androgenic steroid 1-androstenedione (1-andro) and its metabolite, which was allegedly caused by a tainted Gaspari Nutrition supplement called Anavite.
The supplement Good took, which did not list 1-androstenedione on the label, was confirmed as containing a banned substance by USADA. USADA also tested an unopened batch of the supplement to verify the contamination. Independent testing by LGC Science, Inc, also confirmed the presence of 1-andro.
Like many fighters in this situation, Good maintained his innocence, and there was talk of taking action against the supplement manufacturer. Unlike most fighters, Good has actually taken the step of filing suit against both the manufacturer, Gaspari Nutrition; and the shop he allegedly purchased the supplement from, Vitamin Shoppe, inc.
Good’s attorney, David Fish, stated that Good is looking to recover monetary damages in the suit, but more importantly, wants the manufacturer to be held accountable for their actions. In a statement given to Bloody Elbow Mr Fish said,
“Lyman has maintained innocence from the very beginning. The only way to really do anything is to bring legal action. This is the only way to finally put a company that disregards public safety and trust in a position where they have to answer.
We’re asking for several categories of damages, but the central part of the complaint is asking for an injunction to direct the manufacturers to stop doing this, properly disclose what is in the product, and make amends generally. They should do something proactively to better the industry.”
The complaint itself specifically requests an injunction forcing Gaspari to find and warn anyone who purchased a tainted product of that fact to prevent this happening to anyone else.
Mr. Fish also brought up the emotional toll the case had taken on Good, highlighting the abuse he received on social media as a result of the tainted supplement. As we have seen with other fighters, such as Cortney Casey, this emotional toll on innocent athletes can sometimes be just as devastating as any punishment levied by by USADA or an athletic commission.
The tainted supplement also cost Good the chance to fight at Madison Square Garden, along with a six-month suspension from competition. Good received that suspension because of USADA’s policy of “strict liability,” which results in athletes usually receiving a suspension of several months, even if they can prove they were the victim of tainted supplements.
Good’s attorney isn’t a fan of the policy of strict liability, but does say that overall, USADA seemed interested in finding out the truth and were professional, responsive, and honest throughout the entire process, as was the UFC.
Mr. Fish went on to speak about the difficulties athletes can have in getting justice in these situations.
“When this happens, you take on a victim mentality, “how can we do anything against a big company like Gaspari?” I think you feel helpless. Most athletes that are tested and potentially hurt by tainted supplements aren’t making a ton of money. They’re not even in an economically strong position to do anything, Lyman is doing this for the MMA community & athletes in general, not just himself.”
Mr Fish also stated that he would be happy to talk to any other innocent athlete who wished to explore their options for holding supplement manufacturers responsible for undisclosed ingredients in their products.
You can read the full complaint in the PDF below: