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UFC hires BALCO investigator Jeff Novitzky to oversee drug testing program

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Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

As the UFC gets set to implement its ramped-up drug testing program, the company has added a bigwig from the anti-doping field into its fold.

The UFC announced Monday it has named Jeff Novitzky as vice-president of athlete health and performance.

According to the press release, Novitzky will help the UFC "invest in state of the art sports science studies, further develop its out-of-competition testing policy, and enrich its education and prevention programs."

Novitzky has been a federal agent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2008. He's best known for his role spearheading the steroid investigations of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and disgraced baseball star Barry Bonds, as well a separate investigation into cyclist Lance Armstrong. Novitsky previously worked as a special agent in the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Department.

"I am thrilled to be joining a world-class organization like UFC, that is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure all of its athletes are competing in a clean sport," Novitzky stated. "I am confident that UFC will be able to create a new gold standard testing program and implement it so a sustainable and level playing field is provided for all athletes."

In February, the UFC announced a new performance-enhancing drug testing program, which will, among other things, include random, out-of-competition drug testing of the entire roster, and mandatory OOC testing to all championship and main-event fighters. Novitsky help develop and oversee the program.

"There is no bigger advocate of clean professional sports than Jeff Novitzky," UFC senior vice president and COO Laurence Esptein said. "When we announced our commitment for an enhanced drug testing program in February, we wanted to ensure that the best people would be helping move this program forward and Jeff will lead the UFC in developing the most comprehensive anti-doping policy in professional sports."

The new testing program goes into effect on July 1.