Holly Holm, who became famous last year for knocking out former UFC champion Ronda Rousey, has come under fire for signing an endorsement deal with a banned supplements manufacturer, USA Today reports. The company in question is called Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals and it sells products that contains DMAA, a stimulant that’s banned by the Food and Drug Administration because of serious side effects linked to its use. ESPN.com reports hat DMAA has been known to cause heart attacks and seizures.
It’s also listed as a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). UFC’s anti-doping regulations are governed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency which follows the World Anti-Doping Agency’s protocols.
“Holly Holm is a great UFC champion and a role model for the sport of mixed martial arts,” UFC said in a statement posted on USA TODAY Sports. The statement went on to add that Holly Holm and other UFC fighters are free to enter into endorsement contracts as long as they do not interfere with their contracts with the UFC. “The UFC organization has not researched the company that is sponsoring Holm, and UFC does not condone any athlete that uses a substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List.”
As USA Today notes, just because Holly Holm has signed a deal with Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals doesn’t meant that she is using a substance that’s banned.
This isn’t the first time that Holly Holm has been bashed for representing a company that produces banned substances. For the Ronda Rousey fight, Holm was sponsored by by Intel Pharma. According to USA Today, this company has sold products that are called Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMS). These are classified as steroid alternatives and are on WADA’s banned substance list. According to Langdon Suggs, the owner of Intel Pharma, Holm no longer represents the company and Intel Pharma has stopped selling supplement products that contain the substances on WADA’s banned list.
ESPN.com reports that Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, the company Holly Holm currently represents produces HydroxyElite, which, according to the company website, is a version of OxyElite Pro, a popular supplement that the FDA banned. The FDA also demanded that its manufacturer, USP Labs, destroy the product in 2013.
The news of Holly Holm’s new endorsement deal comes as the Ronda Rousey camp confirms that the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion will not get into the ring with Holm at UFC 200 in July.
In an interview with Yahoo Sports, UFC president Dana White said that Rousey has asked for time off so that she can pursue her budding film career. Rousey has been cast in the remake of Roadhouse and according to White, filming has been pushed back.
“The filming of the movie got pushed back,” White said. “She could do both, but the question is, should she do both? She could do both, but why should she? The filming is in a time frame where she’d finish before 200, but it would be cutting it too close.”
Holm is scheduled to fight Meisha Tate for a title defense at UFC 197. If Tate wins that bout, it could make a Holm – Rouse rematch less interesting. That’s why Holm and her camp were campaigning for an interim fight against Rousey, but White says they’re willing to wait until Rousey is ready.
“The way I look at this one is, Ronda has worked her ass off for us for the last three years,” White said. “She’s been fighting, promoting and building the sport. If anyone deserves the time off, it’s her. The night [of UFC 193] Holly said she’d do the rematch and that Ronda deserved it and everything else. So we were holding it for her if she wanted to do it.”
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