The Italian Grappling MMA Federation (FIGMMA) has informed IMMAF of two doping suspensions issued to professional athletes following its sanctioning of the Venator Kingdom 1 event held on 14 October in Milan.
FIGMMA serves as Italy’s official national governing body and is a representative of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.
The FIGMMA anti-doping process was undertaken in accordance with the WADA Code, in collaboration with the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO Italia) – an affiliate of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
Suspensions were handed to American UFC veteran Cody McKenzie for refusal to provide a sample and Italian Francesco Bocca who tested positive for the banned substance Furosemide (a diuretic).
On 20 December, FIGMMA issued the following statement:
The Italian Grappling MMA Federation (FIGMMA) believes that the use of doping substances in sports constitutes a very serious violation of the principles of sport.
In fact, doping fraudulently alters the skill level of the athlete creating an unjust and incorrect advantage over other participants. Moreover, it produces, through an undue manipulation of the body, a damage to the psycho-physical health of the athlete and with negative repercussions at a social level.
NADO Italia performs anti-doping checks in competition and out of competition, using recognized doctors from the Italian Sports Medical Federation, which is recognized by the National Olympic Committee. FIGMMA has committed itself, in collaboration with NADO Italia, to the adoption of all initiatives that have proven to be effective in the prevention, education around and active control of doping.
To this end, FIGMMA is actively educating athletes, informing them of the health risks of doping and reminding them that the athlete who takes banned substances in order to alter his/ her competitive performance or to disguise the results of controls in sports competitions, will be eliminated from the ranking of the tournament in which he/she participated. They will also be submitted to disciplinary procedure under the Anti-Doping Office of the National Olympic Committee.
Furthermore, In Italy, the intake of illicit doping substances is considered a crime subject to criminal proceedings by a public prosecutor. FIGMMA has been stepping up its anti-doping control for competitions and [subsequently] asked NADO Italia to provide anti-doping control for the event, Venator Kingdom 1.
12 athletes were tested (10 professionals and 2 amateurs). The American athlete Cody Mckenzie refused to undergo doping control and athlete Francesco Bocca was found testing positive (to the substance Furosemide). The Federal Commission of Appeal of FIGMMA therefore ordered the immediate suspension of the athletes Cody Mckenzie and Francesco Bocca from any federal sporting activity.
Two other foreign athletes were found positive with the results forwarded to their National Anti-Doping Agency to implement the disqualification procedures in their countries.
On December 6, for the first time in Italy, NADO Italia carried out out-of-competition Anti-doping control on an MMA athlete, at Venator Kingdom 2, held on December 16. At the request of FIGMMA, Anti-doping control was again implemented at the event with 8 Pro athletes tested. Suspensions are published on the FIGMMA website here: http://figmma.it/component/