Former UFC fighter sued over contaminated stem cell treatment

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Alex "The Executioner" Reyes put together a 13-fight win streak that got him into the UFC in 2017. Bad news was his first fight was Mike Perry, and Reyes fell to a knee in 79 seconds. Reyes hasn't fought since, and has suffered through an ordeal due to, he alleges in a recent lawsuit, a contaminated stem cell treatment developed and manufactured by Genetech (not related to the biotechnology company Genentech).

“It’s been tough. And it’s still tough,” said Reyes to Melissa Mecija for 10News. “I couldn’t walk for about three and a half to four weeks. I was on a bedpan. It was one of the hardest things I had to go through in my life.” 

Reyes' first stem cell injection went well, but the second, taken at a different clinic in Las Vegas in June 2018, did not.

“After I got the injection a few days later, I couldn’t walk anymore, I couldn’t stand I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t move. It was really bad,” Reyes said.

Court documents show Health Departments in Texas and Florida received notification of bacteria in patients who received those injections. Federal regulators are currently looking into the company’s operations. A letter issued late last year by the Federal Drug Administration warned Genetech about several violations with “potential serious risks to patients.”

The FDA and Centers for Disease Control are aware of at least 12 patients who received Genetech products. According to the FDA warning issued in late 2018, the federal agencies “have received numerous reports of safety issues including those involving microbial contamination… and subsequently became ill due to blood and other infections caused by bacteria, including Escherichia coli (E. coli).”

In September, the distributor Liveyon suspended shipment of its product and then voluntarily recalled all Genetech products it may have distributed, according to the FDA.

Genetech is now closed.

For now, Alex Reyes is focusing on his future.

“It’s a struggle," he said. "But like I said I’m a fighter. I’m going to keep pushing… I want to set an example for my kids."