Cape Town - Four South African mixed martial arts
(MMA) competitors have tested positive for banned substances.
This follows in- and out-of-competition
testing by the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS).
The Johannesburg-based Extreme Fighting
Championship (EFC) organisation, which has 130 MMA athletes on its books and
staged more than 100 bouts in 2015, has strongly endorsed SAIDS’s testing of its contestants.
EFC president Cairo Howarth said: “We
are delighted to be working with SAIDS and WADA (the World Anti-Doping
Authority). We always have and always will strive for a safe and fair playing
field for our athletes. EFC was the first MMA organisation in the world to
officially align with WADA.”
He added: “Doping is a reality in
modern sport and can only be combated effectively if all stakeholders work
together, and EFC will do as much as possible to assist SAIDS and WADA in this
SAIDS chief executive officer Khalid
Galant said that EFC’s approach to
having its athletes tested was “admirable and refreshing”.
“It’s openness is a credit to the organisation and the sport. There are many
sports administrators who could learn from its approach, which ultimately
ensures that all competitors are on a level playing field,” said Galant.
Howarth explained that “months of
preparation and training go into preparing for a single bout, and stakeholders
need to do as much as possible to ensure that it is a fair and safe contest”.
The athletes who returned adverse
analytical findings (positive tests) are:
· Mario Ferreira of Pretoria, who was found to have
the diuretic Hydroclorothothiazide in his system when tested in-competition on
July 11 last year. Diuretics are prohibited because they have been used by
athletes to gain an unfair advantage, especially in sports with weight
categories. They assist with rapid weight loss or to mask the presence of other
· Cole Henning of Pretoria, who was found to have the
stimulant Methylhexaneamine in his system when tested in-competition on July
11. Stimulants are generally used by athletes on the day of competition to
· Gary Smit of Ramsgate, who was found to have the
following anabolic agents in his system: 2α-methyl-5α-androstan-3α-ol-17-one, 19-norandrosterone and testosterone. He was tested
in-competition on August 8 last year. Anabolic steroids which are typically
used to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance.
· Peter Nyide of Durban, who was found to have the
diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide in his system when tested in-competition on
All four have been suspended pending
hearings. They face possible bans of four years for a first offence.
“We thank SAIDS for their thorough
testing protocols and helping us keep MMA to a clean and ethical standard,” said
Howarth. “Although suspended, the athletes in question remain in the EFC at
this time and we will await the outcome of the hearings prior to making any
decisions on their future with the organisation.”
“EFC has pioneered the way forward for
anti-doping in Mixed Martial Arts internationally by becoming the first MMA
organisation in the world to officially align with WADA, and we are looking
forward to continuing to make MMA the safest and most exciting combat sport in
the world,” he added.
EFC has over 130 exclusively contacted
athletes from across the globe, hosting 10 events per year with around 12 bouts
per event. MMA is widely considered to be one of the fastest growing sports in