UFC Announces Details Of New Anti-Doping Program

“UFC’s goal for the Anti-Doping Policy is to be the best, most effective, and most progressive anti-doping program in all of professional sports,” said Hunter Campbell, UFC Chief Business Officer.  “UFC is proud of the advancements we have made with our anti-doping program over the past eight years, and we will continue to maintain an independently administered drug-testing program that ensures all UFC athletes are competing under fair and equal circumstances.  With this new iteration of the program, UFC has once again raised the bar for health and safety in combat sports.”

“This latest UFC Anti-Doping Program is the result of our continued efforts to protect the athletes who compete in the Octagon,” stated Jeff Novitzky, UFC Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance.  “This new program is the result of years of input and trial and error taken by UFC, our athletes, and third parties who have assisted UFC in operating the program.  The anti-doping policy is a living and breathing document that will continue to evolve and adapt when clear science supports changes that can further protect UFC athletes who compete in UFC.”

Overview of the new UFC Anti-Doping Policy

  1. Sample Collection Conducted by Drug Free Sport International

Beginning on December 31, UFC athletes will be subject to no-notice sample collections by UFC’s new biological sample collection and shipping agency, Drug Free Sport International (DFSI), or one of its contracted affiliates.  DFSI a global leader in the anti-doping industry and currently collects biological samples for professional and amateur athletic organizations, including Major League Baseball, the National Football League, FIFA, PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, NCAA, NASCAR, and others.  DFSI has more than 5,000 collection personnel worldwide, who will provide UFC with greater global coverage than it had under the prior program. The unannounced sample collections will take place 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  DFSI will only be the sample collector under the new program and will not have any authority to adjudicate violations.

  1. Sample Analysis Performed by Sports Medicine and Research Testing Laboratory

Athlete samples will be analyzed at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited Sports Medicine and Research Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) in Salt Lake, City, Utah.  SMRTL, considered by many in the industry to be the top anti-doping testing laboratory in the world, has had extensive experience analyzing UFC samples under the prior iteration of the anti-doping program.  Dr. Daniel Eichner, the president and laboratory director at SMRTL, will act as the new program’s Science Advisor.   Dr. Eichner is widely recognized as one of the top anti-doping scientists in the world and will be instrumentally involved in test planning strategy, analyzing, and interpreting athletes’ sample results.  Under Dr. Eichner’s supervision, SMRTL will also conduct the highest percentage of “special analysis” testing in a professional sport year-round program, screening for prohibited substances like EPO, testosterone, and human growth hormone.

  1. Administration and Sanctioning Overseen Independently by CSAD/George Piro

The administration of the UFC Anti-Doping Program, including sanctioning decisions, will be handled exclusively and independently by Combat Sports Anti-Doping (CSAD), and its president, George Piro, a senior executive with more than 30 years of distinguished service in federal and local law enforcement, including over 20 years with the Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI).  During his remarkable FBI career, Piro held such notable roles as Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Office; Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office’s Counterterrorism Branch; and Supervisory Special Agent/Team Leader of the Saddam Hussein Interrogation Team in

Baghdad. Piro is also a No-Gi, Jui-Jitsu Masters World Champion and is intimately familiar with the sport of MMA. 

CSAD will continue the independent spirit of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, where no results management or sanctioning decisions will be made by UFC.  With the technical assistance of the program’s science advisor, Dr. Daniel Eichner, CSAD will maintain all decision-making authority under the program, including adjudicating program violations, such as suspensions and whereabouts failures.  Additionally, CSAD will maintain a “tip-line” where any information concerning the use/abuse of performance enhancing drugs within UFC can be reported to tipline@csad.org .

  1. Comprehensive List of Prohibited Substances

The “Prohibited List,” detailing which substances are allowed and which substances are not, will generally remain the same as the prior program.  The criteria for prohibited substances will be modeled after WADA’s In and Out of Competition programs with modifications based on historical findings (i.e. marijuana removed from the prohibited list).  In addition, Decision Concentration Limits (thresholds) will be established that allow the program to differentiate between intentional use cases of prohibited substances and cases stemming from unintentional exposure to low level contaminants.

  1. New User-Friendly Digital Whereabouts Platform

UFC athletes will have access to the new UFC Whereabouts Platform to record their expected locations so that they can easily be contacted for testing.  The new platform is more user friendly than the previous system and allows an athlete to quickly and easily update their Whereabouts Filing as their location changes due to circumstances over time. 

The full details of the new UFC Anti-Doping Policy, as well as additional information such as the UFC Whereabouts Policy and the Prohibited Substances List can be found at the new UFC Anti-Doping Program online portal. The site contains policy information in  multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, and Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

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