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Chael Sonnen fails pre-UFC 175 random drug test

Chael SonnenChael Sonnen, irony is calling your name.

Two weeks after Sonnen mocked Wanderlei Silva for running away from a random drug test that led to Vitor Belfort replacing the Brazilian in the UFC 175 fight, Chael himself was busted for failing a random drug test.

According to ESPN, Sonnen tested positive for illegal substances anastrozole and clomiphene during a random drug test in Las Vegas last month when Sonnen was in town for a UFC news conference. Anastrozole is used to treat breast cancer, while clomiphene is used in cases of female infertility.

This is the second time Sonnen has failed a drug test; he had an elevated T/E ratio in 2010 and was suspended prior to his rematch with Anderson Silva.

Sonnen is a known TRT user and said he would make adjustments in the wake of the UFC/NSAC’s crackdown on the treatment. The substances he tested positive for are used as treatments for hypogonadism, which is the condition Sonnen has that he argues necessitates his TRT.

The Sonnen-Belfort fight has been pulled off the card entirely. Belfort was also set to appear in front of the commission next month for a positive test he had in February. That means the three men playing musical chairs for the fight — Sonnen, Silva and Belfort — all have failed drug tests this year. That is not a good look for the UFC.

Sonnen went on “Jay Mohr Sports” Tuesday to explain the positive test. No surprise, he did his best to talk circles around it.

“They changed the ruling in Nevada earlier this year, doing away with the TRT, testosterone replacement therapy, and I was on that. So when they changed the rule, we all had to go through a transition phase. For me during the transition, I had to take a couple of things. One is called Clomiphene……and another is called HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). I didn’t fight it or ask for a license. In the interim, they did a test, and I tested positive for these things which I should have because I took them and they were in my system. That wasn’t a surprise. These aren’t anabolics, these aren’t steroids or performance enhancers, but they have deemed that they are banned substances. What’s interesting in my case is that we’re out of competition. These aren’t things that I showed up with on game day. This is out of competition due to a rule that they changed, so it’s an odd spot for me.”

Robert Mathis suspended for PEDs, blames it on fertility issues

Robert MathisRobert Mathis received a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, the league announced on Friday.

Mathis, 33, followed up a 2012 season where he had 8 sacks in 12 games by going for a career-high 19.5 sacks in 2013. You do the math and tell me you’re surprised by this news.

Mathis will miss the Indianapolis Colts’ games against the Broncos, Eagles, Jaguars and Titans at the start of the upcoming season.

Mathis issued a statement and blamed the PED suspension on fertility issues. Seriously. Below is his statement via Adam Schefter:

“It is difficult for me to address the circumstances surrounding this suspension because they involve very personal medical information, but it is very important to me that my fans, particularly young people, understand what did and did not occur. Like many families, my wife and I faced fertility challenges, and I sought medical assistance. I specifically asked the doctor if the medication he prescribed for me would present a problem for NFL drug testing, and unfortunately, he incorrectly told me that it would not. I made the mistake of not calling the NFL or NFLPA to double check before I took the medication at the end of last season. The union has worked very closely with me to present all of the facts and medical records for consideration of discipline that does not include a suspension because of the unique facts of my case, but the Commissioner refused the request. I am deeply saddened that this situation will prevent me from contributing to my team for four games, and I regret that I didn’t cross check what my doctor told me before I took the medication. I hope that my fans will understand the unique circumstances involved here and continue to know that I am a man of integrity who would never intentionally circumvent the performance enhancing substance policy agreed to by the NFL and my union. The incredible blessing of this very upsetting situation is that, after I took the medication very briefly at the end of last season, we learned that my wife is expecting a baby. We are thrilled that we will be welcoming a new member in several months, but I apologize to my teammates, coaches and Colts fans that I will not be able to contribute to my team for the first four weeks of the 2014 season. I will work extremely hard during that time to stay in top football shape and will be prepared to contribute immediately upon my return.”

Nick Calathes suspended 20 games, tested postive for breast cancer drug Tamoxifen

Nick CalathesMemphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes has been suspended 20 games by the NBA for a violation of the league’s drug policy.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news and says Calathes tested positive for Tamoxifen, which was part of an over-the-counter supplement he was taking.

Woj adds that a source tells him there was no trace of steroids or PED in his positive test and that “there was no intent” by Calathes to violate the policy.

Calathes’ 20-game suspension starts immediately and takes him out for the Grizzlies’ upcoming playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Calathes provides depth in the Grizzlies’ backcourt and has averaged 4.9 points and 2.9 assists in 16.5 minutes per game this season.

Tamoxifen is used to block the spread of breast cancer.

UFC wants to follow Nevada, ban TRT for all international fights

The Nevada State Athletic Commission took a huge step on Thursday when it banned testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) from combat sports, most notably MMA and boxing.

Vitor BelfortTRT has become a huge issue in MMA over the past few years as several of the UFC’s top fighters have received therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) to use testosterone as they prepare for fights. Fighters will see doctors because they have low testosterone levels and many of them have received medical approval to use testosterone, which is pretty much a legal way of them using steroids.

The issue is that many fighters have low testosterone levels because of past abuse of steroids, not because they have grave medical issues that were unavoidable. Nevada has granted exemptions to Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Frank Mir, Shane Roller, Todd Duffee and Forrest Griffin in the past. Brazilian fighter Vitor Belfort (pictured) is currently the most notable fighter who has been using TRT; he has received exemptions for his last three fights, all of which took place in Brazil. Belfort tested positive for steroids in 2006 and was suspended for nine months.

UFC boss Dana White has not liked TRT and says the UFC will follow Nevada by banning TRT in international fights where there is no governing body. The UFC will hope other states follow Nevada and ban TRT as well.

This is an excellent step by Nevada and should help ensure more of a level playing field, especially in a combat sport where a fighter on TRT can do serious damage to an opponent. TRT has been just like a fountain of youth for old fighters, and now they will likely have to age more properly rather than apply for an exemption to use testosterone.

Von Miller reportedly tried to cheat drug test with help of urine collector

Von MillerDenver Broncos linebacker Von Miller reportedly tried to tamper with the NFL’s drug testing process with the help of a urine collector. As evidenced by the fact that he has been suspended, his attempt was obviously unsuccessful.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday that Miller’s actions in trying to corrupt the process likely explain why his suspension was increased from four games to six games so suddenly. The initial diluted sample Miller gave resulted in a four-game suspension, with the 24-year old’s representatives and the NFL Players Association preparing to appeal the penalty at one point. However, the league, the NFLPA and Miller’s reps later became aware that Miller reportedly worked with the collector.

Sources reportedly told Schefter and Mortensen that the urine collector spent time with Miller during the offseason and became “star struck.” The relationship led to the collector agreeing to try to substitute another person’s clean urine for Miller’s. The plan backfired, as a second collector reportedly realized that Miller was not in the city where he supposedly provided the sample.

The collector who allegedly worked with Miller has been dismissed, and the league is looking into the possibility of the issue extending beyond just Miller and the collector in question.

After learning that Miller attempted to corrupt the testing process, the league could have suspended him for a year. Instead, the two sides reportedly reached a settlement on a six-game suspension and Miller was treated as a repeat offender.

Over the past month, we have seen reports about Miller being cited for driving with a suspended license and having a warrant out for his arrest in California. Now this? Hopefully Miller’s parents moving in with him to babysit will help him straighten out his act.

Eric Byrnes: Hall of Fame player from ’70s and ’80s used steroids

Eric ByrnesFormer MLB outfielder Eric Byrnes decried steroid use and lobbied for harsher penalties for drug cheaters in an essay written on his website. He also says a prominent Hall of Fame baseball player from the 1970s and ’80s used steroids.

Byrnes, who played in the bigs from 2000-2010, wrote the following on his site:

Disturbingly, not long ago I was having dinner with a former long time Major League player that spoke about the steroid use of a prominent Hall of Famer that played the majority of his career in the 70′s and 80′s… Ha! Not like I was shocked but damn… So many members of the Hall of Fame, including this character, have recently spoken out and condemned guys who have had ties to performance enhancing drugs, saying there is no place for “cheaters” in the HOF… I just wonder how many of the other guys in the “Hall” were actually cheaters themselves?

This is not the first time we have heard that there is a steroid user in the Hall of Fame; Jose Canseco has said there is a steroids user already in the Hall.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has very specific rules against cheating and considers a player’s character as part of the criteria for admission. No players were elected to the Hall this year because the most accomplished players up for eligibility all had ties to steroids. Most of the sanctity of Cooperstown would be eliminated if it turned out that they had already elected a cheater.

In addition to his revelation about the Hall of Famer who used PEDs, Byrnes explained why he wants harsher penalties for current users who get busted.

[Read more...]

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Alex Rodriguez tells his lawyers to stop threatening New York Yankees

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAlex Rodriguez is hoping for the best possible outcome in his appeal of a 211-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use. He has hired an All-Star team of lawyers than includes top New York criminal defense attorney Joe Tacopina. Since Tacopina came on board, A-Rod’s situation has become about far more than his alleged involvement with Biogenesis.

Rodriguez is trying to prove that he did not interfere with Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis investigation and that he should be treated as a first-time offender, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There have also been reports that he will sue MLB if the suspension is not dropped altogether. Tacopina has even accused the Yankees of trying to sabotage A-Rod by withholding medical records and trying to keep him from playing.

Rodriguez (supposedly) wants those reports to stop.

“I’m shutting it all down, I’m shutting it all down,” he told reporters before Wednesday night’s game, via the NY Daily News. “The focus is to be back on the field. There are so many great stories going on in baseball, and for us, we really just want to focus on playing good baseball, and 100 percent have all the questions be about baseball. If there’s any question in the future that are not about baseball, the interview will end at that moment.”

A-Rod is a distraction. The Yankees are 9-5 in games he has played since he returned, but his teammates and coaches would obviously prefer to be able to focus on baseball rather than deal with the drama of Rodriguez being intentionally beaned by opponents.

“I think it’s the best thing to do for all of us, to focus on the game,” he said. “We’re in the middle of a pennant race. I want to put all the focus back on baseball. … I think the most important thing for us now out of respect to my team, and my manager and my coaches, we’re in the middle of a very important pennant race. We’re playing pretty well right now and we want to keep the focus on the field.”

How convenient. Tacopina would not have gone public with any accusations against MLB or the Yankees if A-Rod didn’t authorize it. Now that most of the dirty laundry has been aired out, Rodriguez is trying to look like the peacemaker who is committed to helping his team win. It’s a bit too late for that.