Sean O’Malley tests positive for banned substance, pulled from UFC 239

Helena MMA fighter Sean O’Malley watches as the Helena Capital girls defeat Great Falls High in the Class AA girls basketball state tournament. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)

LAS VEGAS — Sean O’Malley’s return to the UFC is on hold again after the Helena native was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and pulled from his scheduled fight at UFC 239.

O’Malley (10-0) had been scheduled to face Marlon Vera (13-5-1) July 6 in Las Vegas following a six-month suspension handed down in late 2018 after testing positive for the banned substance ostarine. That U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspension expired in March of this year, but a recent drug test leading up to UFC 239 has again landed O’Malley a temporary suspension.

O’Malley addressed the situation on social media Friday.

“USADA has notified me that ostarine, the substance that showed up in my system last year and led to USADA sanctioning me, has resurfaced at an extremely low level in two recent tests. The good news is that USADA says this is most likely residual from last year and that the low level is providing me with no performance advantage. That’s why USADA is not re-sanctioning me for these results,” O’Malley wrote.

“The bad news is that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has temporarily suspended me while they look into the situation. While I feel terrible to let down my fans who were looking forward to watching me fight in Las Vegas next month, I look forward to publicly discussing my case before the Nevada State Athletic Commission with scientific experts who can explain why very low levels of ostarine are showing up in my system.”

In an interview with MontanaSports.com last week, before the suspension, O’Malley maintained he did nothing wrong and believed the positive test came from a tainted over-the-counter supplement that he was unaware contained a banned substance.

“My thought was, I have nothing to hide so I’m not going to play around it and pretend like it didn’t happen, so I had nothing to hide,” O’Malley told MTN Sports. “I was up front, and the UFC had four or five other athletes with the same problem, so USADA knew I didn’t do anything, UFC knew I didn’t do anything, they just had to suspend me because it was still in my system. I think they changed the new rules, that if you have that low of level, they shouldn’t really be testing for that low of levels, because it’s clearly a contaminated substance of some sort.”

O’Malley is likely to appear before the NSAC in late July. He hasn’t fought since defeating Andre Soukhamthath by unanimous decision at UFC 222 in March 2018.

Tom Wylie

Tom Wylie

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