Despite 26 year Italian ban, Mara Romero Borella cleared to fight for the UFC

It is a telling statement about the fractured state of international MMA sanctioning body cooperation that a fighter can be banned for 26 years in her home country, but still be able to fight elsewhere.

See the source imageItalian UFC Women’s Flyweight Mara Romero Borella was recently hit with the virtual lifetime suspension by Italy’s NADO (National Anti-Doping Organization) as a result of several actions.

First, Borella and her boyfriend were arrested in Italy in 2012 for cocaine and marijuana distribution.

As a result of her arrest, Borella received a 15-year suspension by NADO in 2014. Because she continued to train in Italy after the first ban, then began to compete in the UFC, she received another long suspension. However, even though NADO is a signatory to the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), USADA (United States Anti Doping Agency), a co-signatory, is not bound to abide by any rulings handed down by NADO.

USADA’s statement on the matter explains that NADO’s ban does not violate the UFC Anti-Doping Program because the main offense did not involve drugs used to enhance fight performance. The summary statement reads:

β€œThe UFC ADP does not consider this a violation because the activity was unrelated to performance enhancement. As such, Ms. Borella remains eligible to compete in UFC events.”

She was sanctioned by the Italian NADO for her involvement in trafficking street drugs – marijuana and cocaine (prohibited in-competition only) – with no intent to enhance performance.”

Borella (11-5) is not currently scheduled to fight in the Octagon. In her last fight, she lost a decision to Katlyn Chookagian at UFC on FOX 27 in January.

With a confluence of alphabet soup agencies involved in this affair, it is not a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, but not caring.

What do you think? Is USADA’s ruling the right call?

Veteran martial arts writer also published in Black Belt and Fight! Magazine.


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