In April this year a post was made to an instagram account apparently belonging to UFC prospect Johnny Walker, who was most recently seen winning a performance of the night bonus for his KO victory over Khalil Rountree Jr. at UFC Argentina, which advertised a performance enhancing drug. The banned product is Mk-677, also known as ibutamoren.
UFC Middleweight contender Yoel Romero previously tested positive for ibutamoren back in December 2015. The Cuban received a reduced six month suspension for his positive after demonstrating that his positive test was due to supplement contamination.
Walker appeared to advertise the banned drug on his instagram, as originally pointed out on reddit and highlighted to Bloody Elbow by twitter user @EvanKeaveney.
Ibutamoren is banned as a non-specified substance under the WADA prohibited list under Section 2 Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics. It carries a default sanction of a two year suspension under the UFC’s anti-doping program.
A series of experimental drugs unapproved for human use like ibutamoren have gained popularity recently, with another such drug, ostarine, being the cause of more positive UFC anti-doping tests than any other substance.
Use of ibutamoren appears to increase secretion of growth hormone, and related hormones like insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). This could lead to increases in muscle growth and recovery, but the drug is still experimental and not approved by the FDA, so its effects on a healthy athlete aren’t well supported by medical literature.
It’s possible Walker will find himself in hot water with USADA over his instagram post, but as long as any prior use was properly disclosed to the agency at the appropriate time he shouldn’t face any suspension for a post that happened before his UFC tenure began. USADA has been asked for comment and we will update the article if any is received.