Friday, June 24, 2022

Helwani Explains Why USADA Whereabouts Failures Are “F**ked Up”

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani has criticized the UFC and USADA for expecting fighters to update them on their whereabouts year-round.

The discussion surrounding USADA’s whereabouts policy was brought up recently after UFC middleweight Derek Brunson took to Twitter to vent his frustrations after seemingly being flagged for a violation on the app.

Since 2015, the UFC has partnered with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to ensure the integrity of the sport is upheld. In testing for banned substances, the organization demands that athletes are available at all times, meaning that they require an accurate update on every fighter’s location.

When competitors are found to have not updated their whereabouts and can not be accessed for testing, they are struck with violations. Perhaps most notably in recent times, featherweight contender Yair Rodriguez was suspended for six months towards the end of 2020 after registering three whereabouts failures.

According to longtime MMA journalist Ariel Helwani, the entire policy is questionable. During a recent episode of The MMA Hour, the Canadian assessed Brunson’s tweets on the matter, criticizing the fact that UFC fighters, who are independent contractors, are required to provide an organization with their location when they aren’t employees.

“The Derek Brunson tweets of last week, where he talked about the USADA app, and he talked about how, ‘This app sucks, and I have to tell them where I am 24/7, and this is crazy.’ And I responded to it a little bit,” said Helwani. “Could you imagine being an independent contractor, meaning someone who comes to your house, your gardener, right, your guy who fixes your cable, your guy who fixes your broken sink, your plumber, whatever… could you imagine being that guy and coming to your house twice a year, three times a year, but having to tell me what you’re doing for 365? Having to update your whereabouts 365 because you did two or three jobs for me?

“I’m only paying you two to three times a year, but you gotta tell me where you are at all times, and by the way, you’ve gotta wear a uniform when you come to my house, you’ve gotta do what I say, you can’t come in wearing this type of clothes. No, that’s not how life works,” asserted Helwani.

Helwani went on to note that actual employees of the UFC aren’t required to provide their whereabouts, while independently contracted fighters are. That, he says, is “f*cked up.”

“You guys have to update an app to let the promotion know where you are. And guess what, you know what’s the best part? The actual employees of said organization don’t even have to do that… But the independent contractors do. Do you guys realize how f*cked up that is?”

Do you agree with Ariel Helwani’s take on USADA’s whereabouts policy?

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