clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC fighters will have to inform USADA of whereabouts three months in advance under new anti-doping program

E. Casey Leydon, MMA Fighting

A fighter's location at almost all times must be accounted for under the UFC's new anti-doping program.

UFC athletes will need to inform USADA of their whereabouts three months in advance under the promotion's new drug-testing program, UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky told Ariel Helwani on last Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. If a fighter does not fill out or inaccurately fills out the online form multiple times, he or she could face sanctions.

Novitzky said that fighters will be required to fill out their whereabouts over the coming months every quarter with a USADA website tool. Fighters will then be instructed to download a mobile app to update their location if any changes need to be made. Novitzky said USADA expects fighters to inform them of where they'll be staying overnight and where they will be during the day (at a gym, job or school, etc.), so they can be subjected to random, out-of-competition drug testing.

"It is an inconvenience, but it's necessary," Novitzky said. "In order to run a good program and be able to test 365 days a year, it's one of the sacrifices our athletes need to make, so that they can tell the world that we have the strongest anti-doping program in it."

The new UFC exec said the process is user friendly and updating through the mobile app takes "20 to 30 seconds." Novitzky added that USADA has plenty of experience using this system with its Olympic athletes.

If a fighter does not fill out his or her information or punches in incorrect data with regards to his or her whereabouts in the system, that fighter could face sanctions, Novitzky said. A fighter will get three strikes over a rolling, 12-month period and on the third strike he or she could be disciplined.

"This program wants to catch the intentional cheaters," Novitzky said. "But we also have to have things in place so that if an athlete says, 'I'm not gonna fill out my whereabouts or it's not gonna be accurate, I don't really care about it,' we need to prevent that from happening."

Novitzky said that if USADA informs him a fighter has received his or her first strike, Novitzky will be on the phone with that fighter immediately to see what happened. If a fighter gets a second strike? Novitzky said he would be on a plane to wherever that fighter is to "trail them" for one or two days to make sure they fill out their whereabouts information.

"That's gonna be, I think, a big part of my role coming up," Novitzky said.

The UFC's anti-doping program under USADA began officially July 1, but it has not hit full steam yet. In October, a public website with drug-testing statistics will be launched. Novitzky said the transparency is what adds to this program being the "most comprehensive" in sports worldwide.

"Everything is out there in the open," he said.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting