“Sugar” Sean O’Malley (10-0-0) will no longer be fighting at UFC 229.
The undefeated rising star was set to face José Quiñónez in what had the potential to be his biggest fight yet but will miss out on the opportunity following being flagged by USADA for a potential anti-doping violation.
Despite initial speculation that the violation may relate to O’Malley’s well documented marijuana use, cannabis metabolites are only banned during the “in competition” period so could not have been responsible for the failed drugs test. After working with the UFC president of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitsky, the 23-year-old has pointed to a “dietary supplement” as the suspected root of his issue.
On Monday night, O’Malley posted a lengthy statement on Instagram, explaining the situation and making it clear that he fully expects to be cleared of any intentional wrong doing.
“Hey guys, Sugar Show here…I want to be the first to let you know about what’s going on. As many of you may have seen, the UFC announced this weekend that they are no longer announcing potential violations of the USADA program, because of the high number of unintentional use cases under the program, and are instead waiting until the end.
I find myself caught up in one of these exact cases right now. Even though under the new policy, my case would not be public right now, I feel it’s important to be upfront and honest with my fans about why I’m not fighting next weekend.
I’ve been working with Jeff Novitzky at UFC and I believe that we have already identified a dietary supplement that would have caused this. We’ve sent remaining samples from the bottle I took to the USADA lab and as well as a full sealed bottle. I’m told the testing of these supplements can take as long as 30 days.
I will continue to update you all about the findings, but I fully expect the results will be what I already know, that I did nothing on purpose.
For everyone that follows me and was excited for my fight, I’m truly sorry. It hurts a lot not being able to get out there and do what I love on the biggest stage.
I have no intention of cheating and am fully confident that the results of this case will show that. I love my fans and I hope the impact on my career is minimal and I’m back fighting real soon.”
While O’Malley has been candid in explaining his status and reason for not appearing in Las Vegas on Saturday, there is no indication of when the failed test took place or what kind of punishment may await the MMA Lab trained prospect.
Following a recent policy change to the UFC Anti-Doping program, the UFC are no longer required to issue a statement regarding anti-doping violations until USADA have completed their investigation. With many expecting to see him fight on Saturday night and with rumours beginning to circulate, O’Malley has chosen to get ahead of the situation and release the news on his terms while the investigation is ongoing.