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UFC’s Kevin Lee suspended for Adderall use

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Nevada has handed Lee a temporary suspension for use of a popular ADHD medication.

Kevin Lee before his fight with Charles Oliveira at a UFC Fight Night in Brazil.
Kevin Lee before his fight with Charles Oliveira at a UFC Fight Night in Brazil.
Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

According to MMA Fighting UFC lightweight Kevin Lee has been placed on temporary suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission after testing positive for Adderall. Adderall is an amphetamine and a banned substance in Nevada. It is a widely used medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Lee reportedly tested positive for Adderall during an in-competition window for his fight with Daniel Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 35 on August 25. Lee’s case will be discussed at an NAC meeting scheduled for November 17.

Lee released a statement on Instagram about the drug test failure. In his statement he said that he takes Adderall for ADHD and that he had informed USADA about his usage. Lee also explained that he did not have a therapeutic use exemption for Adderall from Nevada.

Lee’s full statement can be read below:

“I have tested over the limit allowed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in my most recent fight. In 2018 I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD, it has always affected me. I did not discover real treatment for the diagnosis until 2020 when I was recovering from my double knee surgeries. I was prescribed Adderall from a doctor to improve my mental Health. I told representatives from USADA but did not apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption from the NSAC before my last fight. For that, I truly apologize to the UFC, the commission, my opponent, Dana White, the matchmakers, Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard, and the fans.

“It was never my intention to gain an athletic advantage. It was an attempt to conquer the severe anxiety I silently suffer from daily. I am actively cooperating with the Nevada Athletic Commission and expect to reach an agreement on a sanction. I will use this time to heal and come back stronger. Sorry for my lack of professionalism that lead to this disappointment, I’ll be back.”

Lee debuted for the UFC in a loss to Al Iaquinta at UFC 169 back in 2014. After that loss he went 9-1 to secure an interim UFC lightweight title fight opposite Tony Ferguson.

The fight versus Ferguson, at UFC 216 in 2017, ended in a third round submission defeat. Lee rebounded from that disappointment with a TKO win over Edson Barboza. He then lost back-to-back contests to Iaquinta and Rafael dos Anjos.

In 2019 Lee scored a headkick KO over Gregor Gillespie. A few months later he was submitted by Charles Oliveira. Lee badly missed weight for that lightweight contest. His most recent fight, a unanimous decision loss to Rodriguez this summer, was in the welterweight division.