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Eight-year UFC veteran suspended by USADA after self-reporting ‘experimental’ drug treatment

“Cast Iron” will be eligible to return on Oct. 1, 2023.

UFC Fight Night: Casey v Robertson Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC flyweight veteran Cortney Casey, who’s been competing inside the Octagon since summer 2015, received a fourth-month suspension from MMA after self-reporting a USADA violation that arose with her use of the “experimental peptide” BPC-157, which is currently prohibited under WADA guidelines.

“Casey, 36, self-reported the use of a prohibited substance, BPC-157, to the UFC on June 21, 2023,” USADA wrote in Thursday’s release. “BPC-157 is a Specified Substance in the class of Non-Approved Substances and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List. Casey immediately provided documentation confirming that she was prescribed and provided BPC-157 by a doctor to help treat a medical condition.”

“After using the substance for a short period of time, she learned that BPC-157 is a prohibited substance and came forward about her use to the UFC,” the statement continued. “A Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) was not applicable to this Non-Approved Substance. Casey was eligible for a reduction to the period of ineligibility based on her forthright declaration and for her Full and Complete Cooperation.”

Casey explained her side of the story on social media.

“This may come as a disappointment, but it is important that you hear the facts straight from me and that I am transparent about an issue I recently had with USADA,” Casey wrote on Instagram. “Earlier this year, I visited a handful of medical professionals about a medical issue I was experiencing which made me pull out of my last fight back in February. Relieved to finally have some answers, my doctor prescribed medication to treat the issue. Shortly after taking it, I was alarmed to realize that it contained a very small amount (1.25 mg) of BPC-157, a substance that is not allowed under USADA rules. I have since learned that BPC-157 is included in this medication in order to treat upset stomach issues that are common with the main ingredient of this medication.”

“Before picking up my prescription, I did my due diligence and researched the main ingredients — everything was above board,” Casey said. “To be certain, I reached out to the UFC before taking it and was cleared for both in-competition and out-of-competition use under USADA rules. Overlooking the small amount of BPC-157, I soon realized the potential problem — I immediately reported my mistake to UFC and USADA.”

“I want to be clear that I self-reported this and I was not flagged due to any positive test,” Casey continued. “In fact, I did NOT test positive for BPC-157 in any tests collected around the time I was mistakenly using the medication. I have been told that the amount of BPC-157 in the medication I was taking is negligible, and wouldn’t have provided me with any significant performance benefits. As a result of my self-reported mistake, I have agreed to a four-month sanction with USADA.”

“I am disappointed with my mistake, but I want to make very clear that I had no intention to break any rules or cheat,” Casey said. “I was only taking this medication to manage my health issue. I am disappointed by my actions and take full accountability for my mistake. However, I am happy to report that my health significantly improved and I have been blessed with a baby, due in February 2024. I look forward to putting this behind me, thank you for your understanding and your support, and I look forward to seeing you soon from the Octagon!”

Casey (10-10) is coming off a split decision loss to Antonina Shevchenko at UFC Vegas 58 back in summer 2022. “Cast Iron” was expected to make her Octagon return against Jasmine Jasudavicius last February, but withdrew from the contest due to undisclosed medical reasons.

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