Questions surface over Holly Holm's ties to steroid pushers

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It’s already time for Holly Holm’s first title defense.

Holm, the former pro boxer who stamped herself as a UFC superstar by dethroning the seemingly invincible Ronda Rousey on Saturday night, is being scrutinized over her sponsorship deal with a supplement company that makes steroid-laced products.

According to USA Today Sports, Intel Pharma sells at least four products labeled as Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. These steroid alternatives are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which sets the anti-doping rules and regulations used by the US Anti-Doping Agency, UFC’s drug program administrator.

“Holly didn’t really use them so it’s not a big deal,” Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s manager, told the newspaper. “I’m sure she didn’t use any of them. She might have taken a picture with one. … Now that you’ve raised this concern, we’ll definitely take that into consideration more carefully in going forward.”

Intel Pharma CEO Landon Suggs said the company stopped producing the questionable products no later than June and has issued a recall, though they remain available for purchase at online outlets.

But the suspicion level around this business arrangement was summed up by Victor Conte, the BALCO boss-turned-performance-enhancing drug pundit: “So now one of the biggest stars in UFC, Holly Holm, is endorsing crazy, fringe [supplements] that Novitzky’s known for busting people for doing.’’

Jeff Novitzky is the former federal agent — best known for investigating Barry Bonds — who now oversees UFC’s anti-doping program. The organization says Holm has passed five drug tests since the implementation of a new regime on July 1.

Rousey dealt with similar questions during the height of her powers. Rousey was sponsored between 2012 and 2014 by Gaspari Nutrition, which also sold products containing traces of steroids.


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