South Shields MMA fighter James Mulheron banned for one year after failed drugs test
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Mulheron, who is from South Shields, had signed a four-bout deal with the UFC following an impressive run of 11 wins from 12 contests which saw him become the UK's top-ranked heavyweight.
However, Mulheron, nicknamed "The Juggernaut", subsequently lost on his (UFC) debut contest during July against American Justin Willis in Glasgow.
Following an out-of-competition urine test on November 10 2017, Mulheron tested positive for the banned substance clomiphene and its metabolite hydroxyclomiphene, the USADA said in a statement.
As a result, Mulheron had been removed from the card for the UFC Fight Night 122 event in Shanghai on November 25.
Clomiphene, a hormone and metabolic modulator, is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
USADA said the substance, which "indirectly promotes the secretion of testosterone", is not approved by the US Food & Drug Administration or the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for use in the male population as it has "not been thoroughly studied for safety and efficacy."
When combined with strength training, Clomiphene could, the USADA added, potentially lead to "performance enhancement in sport".
The USADA confirmed Mulheron will begin his one-year period of ineligibility from November 17, 2017, which is when the provisional suspension was imposed.
Mulheron, 29, will remain in the USADA registered testing pool and make himself available for testing in order "to receive credit" for time completed under his sanction.
Writing on his Facebook page after the provisional suspension was imposed, Mulheron said: "Everyone who knows me, will know there is not a chance on this earth of me jeopardising my career, in any way, shape or form. To fight on the first UFC event ever here in Shanghai would be absolutely insane.
"I know the rules and by God I would not consider breaking them for nothing and nobody.
"We are working hard to resolve this and find out what is going on here, with USADA testing randomly in and out of competition, and all my recent tests coming back fine, it's safe to say something has drastically gone wrong.
"We are now working with USADA to examine all my current off the shelf supplements, purchased from reputable national retailers."