The USADA era in the UFC, as it has become known, has already claimed a few high profile casualties since they were tasked with overseeing the drug-testing procedures in the world's largest mixed martial arts promotion.
Chad Mendes, a former opponent of Conor McGregor, has become the latest name to feel the ire of the drug-testing authorities and joins the likes of Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar as being handed a ban from competition.
Mendes, a sufferer of the skin condition psoriasis, blamed his positive test on a cream he was taking to relieve his condition's symptoms. When news of his test failure broke, Mendes took to social media immediately to give his side of the story.
I didn't do my homework and that was a big mistake. I own it and I'm going to pay for it.
— chad mendes (@chadmendes) June 18, 2016
— Michael Hutchinson (@TheMikeyHutch) July 28, 2016
Seems plausible, right? Well not according to an unnmaed medical professional who addressed Mendes' failed test, as quoted by MMA journalist Luke Thomas on his Promotional Malpractice live chat from MMAFighting.com.
[Mendes] has no argument whatsoever. No creams that are used for that treatment would ever cause a positive test for growth hormone peptides. Those levels predominantly are found elevated due to only injections and he would have to be regularly taking something like human growth hormone or supplements which mimic it, since its half life is so short - it returns to normal levels in the body within a day.
Another email that Thomas explored on the live chat was from another listener claiming to be a licensed pharmacist.
Chad doesn't directly come out and say the name of the product he has but he does mention he has been using it for some time. 90% of the patients I encounter use a product called Clobetasol. It's been around for a long time and is probably the most effective treatment for flare-ups.
GHRP-6 (the substance Mendes tested positive for) is not an FDA approved treatment for a condition like psoriasis, so you would never see it on any of these product's labels.
What does this mean? Basically it means that either the drug company who produces Clobetasol (or the two other main treatment creams which, according to this pharmacist accounts for 99.9% of psoriasis treatment in the United States) is either misrepresenting what is in their product or Chad Mendes hasn't been entirely honest about the reasoniong for his failed test.
You can draw your own conclusions as to what exactly happened here but it's still largely a moot point. Mendes is still banned from competition for two years. Regardless of how he failed the test, the fact that he failed it is reason enough for the ban according to USADA.