UFC welterweight Elizeu Zaleski was hit with a one-year suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after failing an out-of-competition drug test for ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM), on April 8, 2022, his team revealed to MMA Fighting. Zaleski denies knowingly taking the banned substance.
Mounir Laszez’s positive test caused Zaleski to cancel his planned fight with Zaleski. The bout was scheduled for April 16 at Las Vegas. Lazzez went on to defeat short-notice replacement Ange Loosa via decision.
Zaleski’s manager Tiago Okamura told MMA Fighting the test had “traces of ostarine under 1 ng/ml which could indicate contamination on some supplements Elizeu had used previously,” and said they were able to find which supplement led to the positive test. However, the compounding pharmacy declined to admit guilt, and Zaleski couldn’t secure a shorter suspension — or even no suspension — from the USADA.
“The talks with Elizeu and the doctor went as expected but the pharmacy denied compounding ostarine and later questioned the tested sample and even the packaging it was sent to the lab in,” Okamura wrote in a statement provided to MMA Fighting. The pharmacy denied the results, and they also mixed ostarine made it impossible for us to move forward. This was Elizeu and the doctor against each other.
“Unfortunately the pharmacy cannot admit to their error to USADA as they do not have jurisdiction over Brazilian pharmacies and, especially since ostarine has been banned by ANVISA (Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency), it isn’t legal to compound. We are stuck after six months of trying to get him cleared by USADA. Although we did all that was required, the pharmacy could not comply .”
It’s illegal to buy, manufacture, import, handle, advertise or use products that include ostarine or other SARMs in Brazil since April 2021, but that doesn’t mean athletes are safe from supplement contamination. In fact, Zaleski is not the first to deal with supplement contamination of ostarine. A number of UFC talent have had to be suspended for similar substance. However, they were able prove their innocence.
Zaleski will be cleared to return to competition in April 2023. He is supported by his team because Elizeu, who has been in USADA since the UFC’s beginning seven years ago and has never been positive for any substance, has always been an athlete that adheres to USADA regulations. So the positive test came as a surprise to all of us, and we knew something must have happened since him knowingly taking ostarine didn’t make sense.”
Zaleski (23-7) most recently fought in October 2021, winning a one-sided decision over Benoit Saint Denis in Abu Dhabi. “Capoeira” holds a 9-3 record under the UFC banner that includes victories over Sean Strickland, Max Griffin, Omari Akhmedov and Alexey Kunchenko.
See Okamura’s complete statement below.
USADA contacted 2022, Elizeu Zleski on April th to report an adverse result in his March 14th out-of-competition urine testing. The sample had shown traces of ostarine under 1 ng/ml which could indicate contamination on some supplements Elizeu had used previously.
Facing a one-year suspension for something we knew he had not done we started talking to USADA and the UFC (Jeff Novitzky and Donna Marcolini) about the case and what could be done to get a better understanding of where the intake of ostarine could have come from. After the B test showed the exact same results, it became clear that Elizeu had taken ostarine. We needed to discover how.
Elizeu is a USADA member since his entry into the UFC seven years ago. He has not tested positive for any substance and has been an excellent athlete in USADA compliance. So the positive test came as a surprise to all of us, and we knew something must have happened since him knowingly taking ostarine didn’t make sense.
Going through his supplements we found three that could have contamination, two compound ones, and one that was not certified. Elizeu had the original package of each three supplements and sent them to an accredited laboratory in Rio de Janeiro.
After a few weeks, we had the news we were hoping for, in one of the compound supplements traces of ostarine were found. We were relieved and believed that this positive outcome would be enough to get Elizeu out. But unfortunately, that was not the case. USADA received the results and contacted Elizeu (the pharmacy) as well as the doctor who prescribed the compound-supplement formula.
The talks with Elizeu and the doctor went as expected but the pharmacy denied compounding ostarine and later questioned the tested sample and even the packaging it was sent to the lab in. The pharmacy denied the results, and they also claimed that the pharmacist mixed ostarine. We came to an impasse. Elizeu and the doctor were against each other. USADA has no authority over Brazilian pharmacies and is therefore not able to correct the error. This is especially since ostarine is now illegal and compounding is prohibited by ANVISA (Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency).
We are stuck after six months of trying to get him cleared with USADA. We did everything that was requested but we cannot make the pharmacy comply. Elizeu now faces a year of no earning and competition because this contamination has affected her career and life.