USADA announced today that David Branch, of Montville, N.J., has received a two-year sanction for a violation of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy after testing positive for a prohibited substance.
Branch, 37, tested positive for ipamorelin as the result of a urine sample he provided out-of-competition on May 24, 2019. Ipamorelin is in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
Ipamorelin is a potent Growth Hormone Secretagogue that stimulates the brain to release human growth hormone and is used by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug. The use of prohibited peptides by athletes and consumers for performance or physique enhancement purposes (including recovery from injury) poses serious health risks, and these peptides are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human use or consumption.
Branch’s two-year period of ineligibility, the standard sanction for a non-Specified Substance under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, began on July 26, 2019, the date his provisional suspension was imposed.
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. In an effort to aid UFC athletes, as well as their support team members, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on the UFC Anti-Doping Program website (https://UFC.USADA.org) regarding the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements, as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.
In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (https://UFC.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, and periodic athlete alerts. Many of the resources available to athletes are provided in multiple languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese.
Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 1 877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253), or by mail.