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UFC reveals new drug testing program details after split with USADA

LockerRoom Team
13 October 2023

In a groundbreaking move, the UFC has officially announced the termination of its partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) effective January 1, 2024. Despite the split, the commitment to maintaining a robust anti-doping program and drug-testing policy remains unwavering.

During a press conference on Thursday, UFC Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, Jeff Novitzky, unveiled the future of the UFC's anti-doping efforts. The promotion will now collaborate with Drug Free Sport International, commencing in 2024, to oversee sample collection for all athletes on the roster. Novitzky emphasized that this change is aimed at enhancing the existing program and providing better service to the athletes.

"Drug Free Sport International currently handles collection duties for various professional sports leagues, including the NFL, NCAA, MLB, NBA, WNBA, NASCAR, and more," Novitzky explained. "They virtually collect samples for everybody."

Dr. Daniel Eichner, overseeing testing and results, will serve as the new science advisor. Dr. Eichner, who runs the Sports Medicine Testing and Research Laboratory in Salt Lake City, UT, brings significant expertise to the table.

The enhanced program promises several improvements, including more specialized testing focusing on erythropoietin (EPO), considered one of the most dangerous drugs in the sport. Novitzky highlighted that the UFC will conduct EPO special analysis at the highest rate globally, utilizing innovative blood collection devices to move away from phlebotomy for drug testing.

The UFC's anti-doping program will also see George Piro, a recently retired special-agent-in-charge from the FBI, serving as the independent administrator. Piro, known for his role in interrogating Saddam Hussein after his capture in 2004, will have sole authority in making decisions regarding drug testing infractions and related punishments.

Novitzky stressed the program's transparency, with information such as the anti-doping policy, athletes tested, and the frequency of testing remaining accessible to the public. He expressed confidence that the updated UFC anti-doping program, set to launch in 2024, will be more efficient, technologically advanced, and athlete-friendly. The changes aim to reinforce the promotion's commitment to fair play and a level playing field for all competitors.

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