NSAC: Sean O'Malley can fight at UFC 248 in March after serving suspension

A top UFC prospect is in the clear for his next targeted bout.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Sean O'Malley nine months Wednesday for his second positive drug test for the banned substance ostarine. The penalty, which was approved during an NSAC meeting in Las Vegas, is retroactive to the date of the positive test, which occurred May 25, 2019.

O'Malley is eligible to return to the Octagon on Feb. 26, 2020. The Arizona resident is expected to fight Jose Quiñonez at UFC 248 on March 7 in Las Vegas.

In addition to the suspension, O'Malley was fined $872.16 to reimburse the commission for processing fees, and he must pass multiple out-of-competition drug tests leading up to UFC 248. In those tests, O'Malley must not test positive for ostarine over a threshold of 100 ng/ml.

Earlier this month, UFC anti-doping partner USADA announced that O'Malley had been suspended by its agency for six months due to the same violation.

This is O'Malley's second run-in with ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that has commonly come up in contaminated supplements since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency began running the UFC's anti-doping program in 2015. O'Malley tested positive for ostarine in October 2018 and was suspended at the time by the NSAC and USADA for six months. The USADA said it believed that the ostarine came from a tainted dietary supplement, which the agency reiterated earlier this month about the second anti-doping violation. None of O'Malley's drug findings have been consistent with intentional use, per USADA.

When O'Malley (10-0) fights at UFC 248 it will have been more than two years since he last stepped in the Octagon. Before his issues with ostarine began, the MMA Lab product last fought at UFC 222 on March 3, 2018, a win over Andre Soukhamthath. O'Malley, 25, is considered one of the best bantamweight prospects in the world and one of the most exciting young fighters in the UFC.