Jeff Novitzky attempts to explain why so many fighters test positive for Ostarine and why it’s banned

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UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky has explained why so many fighters test positive for Ostarine, and why it is a banned substance.

This week, women’s flyweight Rachael Ostovich fighter received a one-year suspension from USADA after testing positive for several banned substances. The 29-year old tested positive for Ostarine and GW1516 as part of an out-of-competition drug test collected on January 3, 2020.

The banned substances were found in a tainted supplement that Ostovich used. The label on the supplement did not indicate that the banned substances were included in the product. As a result, USADA reduced the standard suspension from two years to one year, and that was cut down to eight months due to time served from a 2019 atypical finding which USADA cleared Ostovich of. She may return to action on August 3, 2020.

Rachael Ostovich is certainly not the first athlete to test positive for the banned substance. Fighters such as Nicco Montano, Sean O’Malley, Marvin Vettori and Augusto Mendes have all failed out-of-competition drug tests for Ostarine. Upon investigation, USADA determined that all four fighters tested positive from a tainted supplement and not from intentionally taking the banned substance.

The seemingly high risk of testing positive for Ostarine through a supplement certainly raises eyebrows over how USADA handles failed test results. Especially when there are several prior incidents of accidental use that have happened out-of-competition time. It also raises questions as to why the drug is considered a banned substance. UFC fighter Cub Swanson questioned why so many people have tested positive for the drug and why it is banned. Novitzky responded and explained the effects of the drug on the human body.

“I’ve actually spoken with the ‘inventor’ of Ostarine, who is currently conducting clinical trials on patients,” Novitzky wrote. “He has told me early results are that it works really, really good. So that’s why it’s prohibited.”

“I believe we are seeing so many cases because it’s one of the most common contaminants we are seeing in supplements,” Novitzky added. “It appears to be all over the place in the supplement world in very small quantities.”

Former UFC champion Eddie Alvarez quizzed Novitzky further and asked in what way is Ostarine considered a performance-enhancing drug.

“[It works] exact same way a steroid would,” Novitzky responded. “Builds muscle mass, helps muscles heal and recover FAST from hard work. In the medical world, it’s used to treat muscle wasting diseases, but for an elite athlete, would make them stronger, combat fatigue and soreness.”

Jeff Novitzky’s recent comments shed light on why Ostarine is considered a banned substance. However, he provided no solution for fighters who bear the brunt of a failed drug tests due to contaminated substances.