UFC, USADA Revise Anti-Doping Policy with Focus on Addressing Tainted Supplements

By Tristen Critchfield Nov 26, 2019
The Ultimate Fighting Championship and USADA have revised the promotion’s anti-doping policy to address the proliferation of positive tests resulting from tainted supplements.

The Las Vegas-based promotion announced on Monday that it has adopted a “UFC prohibited list,” which will determine thresholds for “various substances that have been proven, on a scientific and evidentiary basis, to be regularly found as contaminants at levels that would not provide an athletic performance enhancing benefit.”

If a fighter tests positive for one of those banned substances below that decision concentration level, it will be treated as an atypical finding and the athlete won’t face any sanctions from USADA provided that there is no evidence of further doping.

Additionally, UFC athletes will be directed to use a list of supplements certified by one of five accredited certification agencies. If a fighter’s positive sample results from a certified supplement, he or she will not face punishment under the UFC anti-doping policy.

“Putting forth a fair anti-doping program with due process protection is integral to having a strong and comprehensive program,” UFC Senior VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky said in a release. “A combination of the pervasiveness of low level contaminates in our environment and the increased levels of testing sensitivity of anti-doping laboratories has created an explicit need for decision concentration levels to ensure that the program is penalizing intentional cheaters and not those athletes who have been faithfully adhering to the anti-doping policy.”

Since the adoption of the UFC’s anti-doping policy, numerous athletes have tested positive as a result of tainted supplements. The most prominent example occurred recently, when Nate Diaz tested positive for a trace amount of a selective androgen receptor modulator. The substance was present in Diaz’s sample as a result of a contaminated multi-vitamin. As a result, Diaz was cleared and was able to fight Jorge Masvidal in the UFC 244 main event on Nov. 2. The hope is that the changes to the anti-doping policy will eliminate situations like the one that briefly put the UFC 244 headliner in jeopardy going forward.

“UFC and USADA remain committed to the dynamic landscape of anti-doping and will continue to comprehensively review the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, together with independent experts and state athletic commissions, to ensure it remains the most effective and comprehensive anti-doping program in all of professional sports and provides fairness and due process to all UFC athletes,” said UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell.

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