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UFC’s Novitzky: Nate Diaz wasn’t given special treatment for USADA issue

UFC VP Jeff Novitzky speaks in detail about Nate Diaz’s USADA issue that nearly derailed the ‘BMF’ title fight against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244.

For a good 48 hours, UFC 244’s headliner fight between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz was in jeopardy. The commotion stemmed from a USADA issue where Diaz supposedly had “elevated levels” of a banned substance.

In turn, Diaz threatened to pull out from the matchup until both the UFC and USADA fixed the issue. Everything was eventually resolved, and the fight was back on.

During a media scrum at fight week, the UFC’s Vice President of Athlete and Health Performance Jeff Novitzky spoke in detail about the controversy and how it was settled.

“To remind everybody, the multivitamin which was organic, plant-based, lab-tested on, very benign supplement, turned out to have one-ten-thousandth (0.0001) of one dose,” Novitzky told reporters.

“So basically, this drug, LGD-4033, is taken in a pill form, usually a milligram or two, and one-ten-thousandth was what was located in the capsule. And it correlated perfectly to the levels that were in his urine sample, which ranged around the 50-picogram range.

“This is exactly what we don’t want to do,” he added. “Is punish someone and stop someone from fighting when they have these ultra-low levels that are giving them unequivocally - and that was the word from the USADA scientists - unequivocally no performance-enhancing benefit.”

Novitzky went on to assure everyone that Diaz wasn’t given any special treatment, pointing to a similar case involving UFC welterweight Neil Magny.

“Luckily, from an optic standpoint, we had Neil Magny out in California on (October) 15th of that stakeholder meeting,” he explained. “And he talked exactly about his issue and this same substance.

“So I think that shows that this wasn’t treating Nate special because he’s the main event for the ‘BMF’ belt.”

Magny was forced out of his scheduled fight against Vicente Luque in May because he was found to have the same substance. And after what he’d went through himself, he’s happy to have somehow played a role in resolving Diaz’s issue.

“It’s something USADA had to look into and figure out,” Magny told MMA Fighting on Monday. “It’s unfortunate I had to be the one to kind of go public and deal with it but because I did that, because I went through this.

“We’re in a position now where the policy is being rewritten to account for something like this and people like Nate Diaz are able to get cleared within a week and not miss out on that opportunity, not miss out on that payday, not miss out on providing for their family.

“It is unfortunate but I’m actually grateful the situation I went through can actually benefit other people.”

UFC 244 will go as planned on Saturday, November 2nd, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.