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USADA responds to Anthony Birchak’s claim that UFN 77 fighters weren’t tested

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC anti-doping program became official on July 1, 2015, with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) conducting year-round, in- and out-of-competition drug testing in its entire roster. Four months after its start, the program still raises questions.

The UFC made its last trip of the year to Brazil on Nov. 7, the second visit to the country under the USADA program, and Anthony Birchak revealed on his Twitter page that he wasn’t tested by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) or USADA before or after his loss to Thomas Almeida in Sao Paulo.

Almeida, who improved to 20-0 with a first-round knockout over Birchak in Sao Paulo, wasn’t tested either.

"I wasn’t tested because it’s random," Almeida told MMAFighting.com. "When we stepped out of the van outside the arena, the USADA guys reached out to Alex Oliveira to test him right in front of me, so I saw them doing the tests. Birchak didn’t say the truth there. He wasn’t selected, and I wasn’t either, but I’ve seen fighters being tested."

UFC Fight Night 77 featured 13 bouts. According to the USADA official website, only 14 of those 26 fighters were tested by the entity since July 1. Almeida and Birchak have yet to be drug tested by USADA.

According to USADA, not testing every athlete on fight night is part of its long-term plan.

"While we have conducted event testing in Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and other countries, it is important to remember that the UFC Anti-Doping program is a year-round program, not just a bout testing program," spokesperson Annie Skinner said in a statement sent to MMA Fighting. "As such, we conduct intelligent testing, and create test distribution plans that focus on both in-competition and out-of-competition testing. One of the important parts of creating a successful anti-doping program is ensuring unpredictability, and we vary the times, places and events we are testing accordingly."

Marc Raimondi contributed to this story