Brock Lesnar didn’t test positive for anabolic steroids like everyone expected. Instead, he tested positive for a drug that is typically used after the discontinuation of a steroid cycle for “post cycle therapy” (PCT).
PCT is used by most responsible steroid users to restore their own endogenous production of testosterone in the weeks following the end of a steroid cycle. Steroids are known to suppress the HPTA which regulates the body’s testosterone production. This side effect is formally referred to as anabolic steroid induced hypogonadism (ASIH). Clomiphene (also known as Clomid) is the primary drug used to treat ASIH.
Lesnar tested positive for clomiphene on two occasions. First, he tested positive for clomiphene resulting from an out-of-competition sample collected on June 28, 2016. And then, he tested positive for the same PCT drug from an in-competition sample collected on July 9, 2016. The use of clomiphene is a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
UFC went out of its way to make sure UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar didn’t get caught using anabolic steroids when he made the “surprise” announcement to fight at UFC 200 only a few weeks before the historic event. UFC made sure to give Lesnar an unprecedented exemption from the strict USADA-administered anti-doping testing. While all other USADA athletes would be required to submit to 4-months of anti-doping controls, Lesnar was only required to undergo 1-month of doping controls.
The exemption given to Lesnar succeeded in one respect – Lesnar was able to avoid a steroid positive. Lesnar was able to pass at least 8 anti-doping controls in the month preceding UFC 200. This included 5 tests in the first 2 weeks after Lesnar announced his decision to re-join the UFC. This clearly indicated that, if Lesnar had gone on a steroid cycle earlier this year, the steroid metabolites effectively cleared his system.
It is still surprising that Lesnar was caught using clomiphene. Every drug-tested athlete knows that PCT drugs like Clomid and Nolvadex are on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances. And since UFC has adopted the same listed of prohibited substances, the use of clomiphene by a UFC athlete is a strict no-no too.
On the other hand, maybe Lesnar didn’t really care too much if he got caught. Lesnar received a $2.5 million payday after he defeated Mark Hunt at UFC 200. If Lesnar gets to keep his prize money, the UFC Anti-Doping Policy was never a deterrent for Lesnar. Lesnar had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Given that his UFC appearance was always likely to only be a one-time event along with his high-paying WWE job as a fallback, UFC 200 may have been nothing more than a quick and easy payday for Lesnar.
Furthermore, it seems unlikely that UFC cared too much if Lesnar used banned drugs. UFC was quick to give Lesnar a controversial exemption from a lengthy period of steroid testing. UFC went on to make tens of millions of dollars from the highly successful UFC 200 pay-per-view event. And then, UFC went on to announce the completion of a $4 billion sale of the organization in the days following UFC 200.
It wouldn’t surprise many people if UFC’s commitment to fighting steroids took a back seat to the profit potential of a blockbuster UFC 200 headlining Brock Lesnar. This would be especially true with a $4 billion deal on the verge of being completed.