There’s a reason that the ‘tainted supplement defense’ gets tossed around among MMA fans and fighters with an air of condescension. Apart from the typical background suspicion – that anyone caught cheating likely wasn’t doing so accidentally – there’s the fact that for something like a failed drug test, that could potentially be career wrecking, few fighters seem follow up on their claims.
Count Yoel Romero among the brave few, however, as Forbes reports that the middleweight top contender and interim title challenger has filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court, against Goldstar Performance Products.
Goldstar is apparently the manufacturer of a product called Shred RX, a training supplement that Romero states he was using back in late 2015 when he tested positive for a substance called Ibutamoren. Ibutamoren is a growth hormone release stimulator and banned both in and out of competition by USADA. At the time, Romero claimed his supplements were tainted, and tests performed on an unopened bottle of Shred RX came up positive for the unlisted substance.
Apparently USADA’s testing of a second bottle of the supplements, which they purchased, also came up positive for Ibutamoren. However, despite the evidence supporting him, Romero still ended up saddled with a 6-month suspension. A statement from USADA afterward made it clear that the organization holds athletes somewhat responsible, even when dealing with tainted supplement use.
“When considering whether to incorporate supplements into a training plan,” the organization cautioned, “it is vitally important that athletes exercise the upmost care in order to avoid making a decision that could endanger their eligibility, reputation or general health and wellness.”
As a result of the suspension Romero’s lawsuit claims damage to his reputation and loss of a title fight opportunity. The lawsuit also reportedly claims that Goldstar was aware that their supplements were tainted, and that the company “failed to maintain the production facility.” In filing the suit, Romero joins Lyman Good, as another UFC fighter taking his case against supplement manufacturers to court.
Good filed a lawsuit with the New York Superior Court back in October, against Gaspari Nutrition and Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, after serving his own 6-month suspension. The result of a 2016 drug test failure ahead of a planned bout with Belal Muhammad. Whether either man can successfully collect on their claims remains to be seen.