UFC fighter George Sullivan has received a one-year suspension for his second anti-doping violation, after testing positive for the same fertility drug Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar used.
USADA have suspended George Sullivan for one year, retroactive to his sample collection on January 14th, 2017, due to the presence of clomiphene and its metabolites in his urine.
When news of the positive test became public, Sullivan stated his intention to apply for a retroactive therapeutic use exemption. I am awaiting confirmation that Sullivan actually applied for a retroactive TUE from USADA, but it’s evident he didn’t receive an exemption either way, as I predicted at the time.
Clomiphene, a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator), is not licensed for use for men in the US, but it is occasionally prescribed “off-label” to men for various conditions, as was apparently the case here. Sullivan showed that his clomiphene use was at the direction of his doctor, and as a result USADA gave him a one-year suspension, instead of the two-year suspension he was potentially facing for his second anti-doping policy violation for a specified substance.
Clomiphene is sometimes prescribed off-label to men as a treatment for fertility issues, as well as for treating hypogonadism (low testosterone). It is also commonly used as PCT (Post-Cycle Therapy) by men following anabolic steroid use.
Clomiphene blocks the action of estrogen in the pituitary gland, which leads to increased luteinizing hormone secretion, which in turn leads to increased testosterone production in men. This benefit appears to occur even in men with normal testosterone production, which could potentially allow clomiphene to provide a significant performance advantage if use was allowed.
Other UFC fighters, such as Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones, have received one year suspensions for failing USADA administered drug tests due to the presence of clomiphene metabolites, with Jones also testing positive for the aromatase inhibitor letrozole.