2 September 2016 – USADA announced today that UFC athlete Li Jingliang, of Xinjiang, China, has tested positive for a prohibited substance, which was determined to have been ingested by him without fault or negligence.
Jingliang, 28, tested positive for trace amounts of clenbuterol as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on May 18, 2016. Clenbuterol is an Anabolic Agent prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. Consistent with numerous prior reported cases globally, the issue of illicit administration of clenbuterol to animals destined for food production can result in, under specific conditions, a positive sample from an athlete. WADA has issued specific warnings about this problem in China and Mexico. To USADA’s knowledge, positive tests resulting from meat contamination issues are rare outside of those two countries. Moreover, due to strict regulatory and meat certification practices, USADA is not aware of any instances in which an athlete’s sample tested positive for clenbuterol after consumption of meat produced in the U.S.
During its investigation into the circumstances that led to the positive test, USADA interviewed Jingliang and reviewed all available relevant evidence, including Jingliang’s whereabouts, dietary habits, and the laboratory reports demonstrating very low parts per billion concentrations of the prohibited substance in the athlete’s urine sample. USADA concluded that the presence of clenbuterol in the athlete’s sample very likely resulted from clenbuterol contaminated meat consumed in China. As a result, Jingliang will not face a period of ineligibility for his positive test. Furthermore, Jingliang’s competitive results from his bout on The Ultimate Fighter Finale card have not been disqualified because a sample collected in connection with that bout on July 8, 2016, by the Nevada State Athletic Commission was reported as negative.
Although USADA will not impose a sanction, the positive test also falls under the jurisdiction of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which may adjudicate the case in accordance with their rules and regulations.
While the risk of consuming clenbuterol-tainted meat and testing positive for an athlete is extremely small, consistent with past athlete advisories, USADA reminds athletes to use the utmost care if eating meat in known high risk countries, including Mexico and China. In line with WADA recommendations, USADA will continue to assess the presence of clenbuterol in an athlete’s sample on a case by case basis, taking into account all the evidence supporting the likelihood of such contamination.
USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. The anti-doping program run by USADA for UFC athletes includes education, science and research, testing, and results management. Official UFC Anti-Doping Program information and athlete resources are available at UFC.USADA.org.