Last month at the Nevada Athletic Commission’s conference to allow Jon Jones to compete this weekend, science experts were brought in to explain what is happening with his tests.
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The problem is that all of these ‘Experts’ that were brought in by USADA and the NSAC is that they’re all working indirectly for the UFC as USADA is employed and paid by the UFC.
Now one of the nations top independent scientists decided to speak up as he couldn’t hold his tongue any longer (Long Read):
Let me start this off by saying I have multiple degrees in the chemistry filed and it doesn’t take a specialist in steroidal chemistry (fun fact, did you know cholesterol is a steroid?) to tell you how this all works. Jon Jones doped recently. How is it that he’s testing negative sometimes and sometimes 60pg? He’s not microdosing. He just needs to know approximately WHEN he’ll be tested very very broadly. Turanibol has a very short half life of approximately 16hrs. He knows this, his steroid doc knows this, Dana White, and USADA and our friends at UFC know this.
So we don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of MALDI MS-GC or HPLC or other analytical chemistry specifics. It’s pretty simple. Firstly, there are 2 “older” metabolites tested for called I and II, then there are M1-M4, with M3 being the most abundant. II is detectable approximately 22 days with quadrapole MS-GC (https://vdocuments.mx/detection-and…ong-term-dehydrochloromethyltestosterone.html)
Now we don’t know the exact half-life of these metabolites but ball-park approximation will get us there. Say someone is taking 50mg a day and achieves a serum concentration of 1mg/dL or 0.1mg/mL. This is 100 million times greater than 1pg/mL. Divide this 100m by 60 (since he tested positive for 60pg). You get 1.667 million (ratio of 100 million pg to 60pg). Now divide ln(1.6667M)/ln(1/2) = -20.66. This tells us 1.667M is approximately 20.66 half-lives. Put another way, 2 to the 20.66th power is approximately 1.67M.
This figure is well within some window of time of doping within weeks or few months at best. Why? Because you’re talking an unesterfied steroid. On the long-end you may have a half-life of 15 days maybe if this were an esterified steroid, which this is not. But we’re talking maybe 12-48h even for the metabolites. Rodchenkov is the premier steroid doctor who devised many of the more advanced detection methods, and ways to foil his own doping-detection methods. And in the paper cited above, he gives that M3 extends the detection window to approximately 50-days.
If you took 16hrs as a proxy, this is 2/3rd of 24hrs/day. Or in 15-months (450 days), this is 675 half-lives. Take 2675 and you have 6.379×10205! We’re not talking millions or billions or even trillions. We’re talking 63.79 septensexagintillion! Compare that to 100M. Take the reciprocal of this huge number, and you have basically that turanibol is undetectable after 15-months. Far below the detection limit around the order of 1 or 10s of pg/mL detection limit.
The labs paid by the UFC are going by the narrative that gets them hired again as consultants. NSAC jurisdiction would never OK this nonsense narrative. Dana White and the UFC probably invested too much in Jon Jones to let this one go. But they also know Alistair Overeem, or Brock Lesnar is doping, and that many of the fighters (that failed and didn’t fail drug tests) at ATT are dopers. I approximate 15-65% of current MMA fighters are doping, broad ballpark.
Some opinions shared by many objective individuals that know a thing or two about how these drugs work: Usain Bolt doped/dopes; Michael Johnson doped, Manny Pacquiao doped (EPO, blood-doping, HGH or fragments), JMM doped; GSP doped. More current opinions: Errol Spence Jr. dopes; Romero dopes; Mir dopes/doped. The list is quite large. The smart ones that don’t get caught have good chemists on their team, utilize low-half-life drugs and may even manipulate their epitestosterone levels. It’s far from rocket science guys.
And for people who ask “What would a low dose even do?”, to suggest it is ineffective. The opposite is true. When you are in a speed-strength sport like football or MMA, you don’t want powerlifting or bodybuilding levels of anabolic steroids in your system. A fractional amount inadequate for body-building and slow strength training is adequate for performance enhancement with certain anabolic steroids, and is preferred. The shin and muscle pumps are not desirable in these speed-strength sports.
It’s very easy to tell when someone is doping. For example, an aged fighter or sports athlete hits a record level of performance past 33 shattering records. This is not possible with plateaued testosterone. The signs become more pronounced with more aggressive, or poorly managed programs. For example, visible bone growth, gut protrusion from HGH and fragments, and other biologics. Ever notice GSP’s gut protruding more and more? or Barry Bond’s skull growing? This is impossible other than for people with a GH problem, or are otherwise doping. Sudden change in physique with a sudden breakout on the chest and back (JMM, Canelo), sudden explosive gain in musculature past prime (Pacquiao, 8 weight divisions). And signs of poor estrogen or poor prolactin management: Puffy or leaky nipples (Spence).
If you want to know who I think are less likely to have doped, I would say BJ Penn, Mark Hunt, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Devin Haney, Khabib, McGregor, Machida (who’s gotten destroyed by several dopers), Idesanya. Doesn’t mean they haven’t, but in their careers they’ve not shown the typical symptoms of an aggressive, or poorly-managed doping program. But their lack of extreme swings in vascularity, musculature, weight, etc. tells me they are less likely to have doped.
Jon Jones is so far gone on the doping aspect that he would fall to 4th or 5th best LHW or worse if he were to stop. He’s tested off for epitestosterone to testosterone levels (sign of synthetic testosterone doping), he’s tested positive for estrogen-management drugs, and for chlorinated anabolic metabolites now twice. In PrideFC and K1 where there was rampant fixing, Alistair and Shogun were extremely sharp with reflexes and took down the top titles. Then when they migrated to a tighter testing environment they fell to bottom or middle of the pack. Coincidence? No not at all. The difference between 1st and 20th in elite fighting is very narrow, and someone 8th can certainly have a better shot at top 2 with the right cocktail of performance enhancing drugs.
The way to fix this is to enforce more consistently, have stiffer penalties, and keep blood and urine frozen for more advanced methods indefinitely, especially for championship fights. But what incentive would an organization have to say their past 10 champions were all cheats? None.
So there has to be a better firewall, of allowing independent bodies make the lab-hiring and methodological decisions. E/T should be tested, the most advanced metabolite tests should be applied, and for championship fights samples should be kept practically indefinitely. There should be zero tolerance with 5-years to lifetime bans for violations because cheating at an extreme fight sport like this can be deadly.
Punishments in case of permanent injury or death should be criminalized (assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter) in case of clear-cut performance enhancement. Financial penalty is not enough for fighters jeopardizing the lives of others unnecessarily. Financial penalties should contain extended legal liability clawback clauses including against future testing when better methods are established.
Then there is the matter of ex-dopers with low testosterone now utilizing replacement therapy as a loophole. There needs to be established a general population mean level by age bracket and replacement only allowable to say within 1 standard deviation of such mean. The athletes hitting 3 standard deviations out for an 18-year old at age 40 are abusing the system. This isn’t replacement but performance enhancement.
If the sport cares about long-term sustainability, and cares that its athletes don’t have cardiovascular problems at 35 or 45 (RIP Slice, and many pro wrestlers who had heart attacks at a young age), or getting cancer mid-age (Armstrong, Hug), then it needs to get serious about anti-PED self-regulation and enforcement.
The rhetoric from the VP about how small a picogram is, is a disgrace. The labs passing this off as unbiased research should be blacklisted unless they pass their samples for fully independent verification and opinion. Everybody knows what happened here, and the person that should be most upset is Gusstafson. His life is put at risk by a chronic cheat, and the organization is shifting jurisdiction under the pretext of timing. This is unacceptable. Even with the timing matter, the testing jurisdiction post-fight should still be the more stringent NSAC. A separate body should be allowed to hire any test-facility to conduct an independent test.