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Friday, November 03, 2006
Mixed Martial Arts--- Stephan Bonnar Suspended Nine Months for Steroid Use
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

Stephan Bonnar has been suspended for nine months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission as a result of Bonnar's positive test for anabolic steroids following his fight against Forrest Griffin at UFC 62. Bonnar has also been fined $5,000 by the commission.

The NSAC chose to make the suspension retroactive to the date of the fight, so Bonnar's suspension expires in May 2007. Bonnar tested positive for anabolic steroids after his unanimous decision loss to Griffin on August 26th.

While Bonnar's representatives had previously issued a formal written response to the NSAC in which they neither admitted nor denied that Bonnar had knowingly used anabolic steroids, Bonnar admitted at a disciplinary hearing on Friday that he knowingly used anabolic steroids, and then he apologized to the commission and asked for forgiveness.

Even before his positive drug test results came back, Bonnar had already been medically suspended for six months by the NSAC due to a broken right thumb.

The maximum possible fine that could have been levied was $250,000, but it's extremely rare for fines of more than $5,000 to be issued by the NSAC for drug offenses. Bonnar's purse for the fight was $16,000.

Prior to today's disciplinary hearing, Spike TV had already released Bonnar from his contract as a broadcaster on SpikeTV.com, which is separate from his contract with Zuffa as a UFC fighter.

The anabolic steroid for which Bonnar tested positive is Boldenone, which is a steroid used by veterinarians to rehabilitate injured horses. According to the Food and Drug Administration, "Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian." Due to potential health risks for humans, the FDA has gone so far as to say that Boldenone "should not be administered to horses intended for human consumption."

Boldenone is not generally a popular drug among bodybuilders because of the fact that traces of the drug remain in the user's system for several months after use. Bonnar is just the second fighter in MMA, boxing, or kickboxing since 2000 to test positive for Boldenone in the state of Nevada (the first was Josh Barnett).

As with all NSAC drug-related suspensions, Bonnar will not be automatically reinstated in May 2007 when his suspension term expires. After the term expires, Bonnar becomes eligible to re-apply for a fighter's license in Nevada. This step requires a urine sample to be provided and for it to come back negative for all banned substances before the fighter can be re-licensed.

That is exactly what happened in Josh Barnett's case when he wanted to fight on Pride's Las Vegas card in October. Barnett tested negative for all banned substances, both before the Pride event and after the Pride event.

Out of the seventeen fighters who competed on the UFC 62 card alongside Bonnar, three of them were drug-tested (Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, and Renato "Babalu" Sobral), and all of their drug tests came back negative.

Bonnar's case is unfortunately part of a growing trend of fighters testing positive for anabolic steroids. Earlier this year, Kimo Leopoldo tested positive for steroids prior to a scheduled WFA event in California. Two months after Bonnar tested positive for steroids, Vitor Belfort and Pawel Nastula tested positive for steroids following the Pride USA event on October 21st. The cases of Belfort and Nastula are still pending before the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

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