Saturday, November 26, 2022

USADA Unveils Significant Changes To UFC Anti-Doping Policy

Major changes are being made to USADA’s UFC anti-doping policy.

Since the USADA drug testing system was introduced in the UFC, many fighters have complained about being the victim of tainted supplements. Fighters such as Yoel Romero and Jon Jones proved that they ingested contaminated supplements. Jones’ case was for male sexual enhancement pills, which cost him the UFC 200 main event spot back in 2016. He also had an ordeal with picogram levels of turinabol being found in his system.

USADA Brings Changes To UFC Drug Testing Policy

The recent case of Nate Diaz‘s atypical finding for a tainted vegan-based multivitamin was an eye-opener. In a rare occurrence, Diaz’s case was expedited and he was able to avoid a provisional suspension and competed on the UFC 244 card.

USADA is now making changes to ensure that fighters who can prove that they took certified supplements which were tainted are not punished. Here’s what was said in a press release.

“The most significant change made to the policy to more justly address certain trace-level laboratory findings is the establishment of the UFC Prohibited List and the inclusion of evidence-based decision concentration levels for substances that have shown to be consistent with contamination throughout the global anti-doping system. In this regard, the UFC Prohibited List has been amended to incorporate the WADA Prohibited List except for these specifically identified substances which will have decision concentration levels.

The list of identified substances that will now have low-level decision concentration levels means that USADA will treat athletes’ samples that contain those substances below the decision concentration levels as atypical findings. An atypical finding will result in additional testing and/or investigation. These atypical findings are not treated as violations absent more evidence showing that the athlete intentionally or recklessly consumed a product causing the atypical finding.

Under the UFC Prohibited List, IV infusions/injections over 100 mL are now only permitted if they are determined to be medically justified and within the standard of care by a licensed physician and administered by a licensed medical professional. The change to the rule is designed to provide athletes access to the medically-required care they need, while ensuring they are unable to manipulate the rule to gain an unfair advantage.”

USADA has also revealed that fighters who prove they were the victims of tainted supplements can avoid being provisionally suspended. After their bouts, follow-up testing will be done to prove there isn’t a need to investigate any further.

“We are really excited about the evolution of the UFC program and hope it becomes the model for all sports that truly want to protect the rights of clean athletes,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “For several years, we have pushed for change to ensure that athletes can trust the food, medications, and supplements they use without fear of being treated like intentional, hardcore cheaters. We expect these changes to go a long way in allowing this to happen and to show athletes who compete clean that their decisions will be supported and validated.”