Carina “Barbie” Damm has been fined and suspended for six months by the Ohio Athletic Commission for submitting an invalid urine sample prior to her recent fight in the state. Damm dropped a Unanimous Decision to Jessica “Evil” Eye at NAAFS: “Fight Night In The Flats 9” on June 1st in Cleveland.
OAC Executive Director Bernie Profato discussed the suspension with MMARising.com today. During pre-fight testing, Damm submitted a sample that was determined to be a substance other than urine. She has incurred a $550 fine in addition to the suspension, but is able to appeal the ruling.
In 2008, Damm (18-9-0) made headlines as the first female MMA fighter to be suspended in the United States for steroid use. Damm tested positive for elevated of the anabolic steroid Nandrolone following her April 3, 2008 victory over Sofia Bagherdai at Fatal Femmes Fighting 4. She was fined $2500 and suspended for one year by the California State Athletic Commission. Damm spent the next two years competing in her home country of Brazil and returned to the United States in August 2010 to take part in the inaugural Strikeforce women’s bantamweight tournament.
Since that time, Damm has fought nine times. She has won all three of her fights in Brazil and has been defeated in all six of her bouts on U.S. soil. On June 1st, she engaged in a closely-contested fight against the returning Eye, but lost a narrow decision on the judges’ scorecards.
During an intermission at the NAAFS event, just prior to the two title fights and main event bout between Eye and Damm, all six remaining fighters on the card were required to submit to pre-fight drug testing. Each sample came back clean for banned substances, but there were irregularities with Damm’s. The lab conducted a second test on the sample and verified that it was in fact not urine.
“For the chain of command here, we only have one woman inspector,” Profato told MMARising.com. “We really need to get women to go in there [to monitor the urine test], so we had someone who was not an employee of the state but was an unbiased person who had worked for another promotional company. Her statement to me for the chain of custody was that they went in there and she heard [Damm urinating] into the toilet, which didn’t make any sense, but Damm took the [filled] cup and put it on the counter.
“That person then got the cup, and our doctor was waiting right outside the door and she handed it to the doctor,” Profato added. “He sealed it, labelled it and took it over to me. I took it to the lab and released it to them. It was sent to the laboratory for testing. There has to be certain elements in [the sample] in order for it to be considered urine and those elements were not in it. So what we suspended her for is for failing to provide a urine or blood sample. Even the doctor, when he first handed the sample to me, he said, ‘I’m not a lab person, but two things here. One, this is kind of clear, and two, it’s cold!'”
Under OAC law, any fighter who fails a drug test must then pay for the costs of the testing. Damm was suspended for violating Rule 3773-1-12 (F) of the OAC Administrative Codes and incurred a base fine of $300. She will be required to pay an additional $250 to cover the costs of both the first and second lab tests on the sample that she provided.
“The suspension that we’ve given her initially is for six months,” Profato explains. “We sent her a certified letter and she can appeal. We tentatively have a hearing set up for her on August 13th at 10:00 A.M. She can call or contact us if she would like to have the hearing.
“Our process here in Ohio is that I am only the first step as the director. I issue a fine or suspension and then [the fighter] has the right to appeal. The state then has three options. They can reduce or dismiss the suspension, or they can extend it. We issue a fine and if [a fighter] flunks a drug test – and this is considered flunking – they have to pay for the lab test and they pay that directly to the lab. We don’t get a penny of the fine money here. It goes to a general fund that the politicians use.”
Should Damm choose to appeal, her past suspension for steroid use likely could not be introduced to a jury but could be brought up with a judge during sentencing. Profato states that the OAC may submit a request that requires Damm to provide a clean and valid urine sample in order for her suspension to be lifted, but he is uncertain whether such a request can be made in this case due to the fact that Damm did not technically test positive for a banned substance.
Damm returned to Brazil and fought two weeks after her loss to Eye. She defeated Jessica Suelen by first-round TKO on June 15th. Damm is scheduled to face Kalindra Faria in a rematch in the opening round of the MMA Super Heroes women’s flyweight grand prix on July 13th. Promotions in Brazil are not obligated to honour Damm’s OAC suspension, but she will be unable to compete in any ABC member state until her suspension has been lifted or expires.
Damm and her management are expected to release an official statement in the coming days.
Update (5:35 P.M. PST): Damm’s manager, Jason Ellis, has informed MMARising.com that he and Damm will be appealing the suspension. Ellis is currently waiting to receive the commission’s letter to review so that he can fully comply with the appeal process.