How Grant Dawson got unscrewed
Featherweight Grant Dawson lost his first fight, but fought on, going 11-1 before making it to Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, winning, and getting a contract.
Before he ever fought in the UFC, a USADA anti-doping test showed the presence of the long-term M3 metabolite of oral Turinabol (4-chloro-18-nor-17β-hydroxymethyl,17α-methyl-5α-androst-13-en-3α-ol (M3) or DHCMT). Dawson was provisionally suspended, and three days later the UFC cut him. That was in 2017.
Dawson could have rolled over and gone back to regional shows, but he is a fighter. Instead, he spent 2018 fighting the USADA test, and went into arbitration on 11/3/2018. By that point, USADA had several fighters with pulsing levels of the M3 long-term metabolite, and USADA realized the couldn't determine that the ingestion of the prohibited drug happened post signing with the UFC, and withdrew the threatened suspension.
“USADA resolved the case based on the likelihood that the ingestion of the DHCMT occurred prior him entering the UFC Anti-Doping Program,” USADA spokesperson Adam Woullard said to Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “Dawson’s case is a great reminder that it can take time to make sure each case is thoroughly investigated and we are consistent in gathering the relevant facts to determine the most appropriate outcome for each individual athlete.”
The case resolved on 12/11/2018, but Dawson remained without a contract. UFC vice president of health and performance Jeff Novitzky, as he so often does, did the right thing, and successfully petitioned matchmaker Sean Shelby to re-sign 'The Prophet'.
Dawson's case is a reminder of more than how thorough USADA is. It's also a reminder that USADA fails. When a fighter fails, that fighter is out of his or her livelihood for months to years. When USADA fails, what happens? Nothing? How does Dawson get his 14 months back in a field with a characteristically short career?
“For sure, I’m grateful, but I think it was due anyway,” said Dawson. “I got cut, there was no due process and now they’re doing the right thing and giving me another chance. And we’re gonna make the most of it.”
Grant Dawson fights Julian Erosa at UFC on ESPN+ 4 on Saturday night.