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USADA to honor UFC fighters who have reached 25 clean drug tests milestone

Rafael dos Anjos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

With the UFC’s relationship with USADA approaching the three-year mark, the agency is recognizing fighters who have reached a milestone amount of clean tests.

Each month, USADA will honor the UFC fighters who have passed 25 drug tests, the UFC’s anti-doping partner announced Wednesday. Beginning in May, the fighters who have achieved that amount will get a t-shirt with the hashtag “Follow My Lead” and “25x” branded on it. The shirt will also have the slogan “Train Clean, Fight Clean.”

In addition, those fighters who have been cleared in 25 drug tests will be featured on a new Twitter account (@USADA_UFC) that launched this week. Per a release, that account will provide “stories, advisories, and messages specific to athletes competing in UFC, as well as their fans and followers.”

“Participating in a robust anti-doping program requires a year-round commitment to competing clean, both by being available for testing without notice and in being diligent in what you consume,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in a statement. “The program can be inconvenient at times, but as we hear from athletes frequently, it’s a lot less inconvenient than being seriously hurt or being robbed of a win. These athletes have hit a high mark for the UFC program and are role models for clean sport competition.”

In May, UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, former lightweight champs Eddie Alvarez and Rafael dos Anjos and UFC women’s strawweight contender Tecia Torres will be featured in video testimonies about the UFC anti-doping program, clean competition and how it works toward athlete health and safety.

“I’ve been in the UFC for 10 years, over 37 fights, and my whole life I’ve competed clean,” dos Anjos said in a statement. “It’s just good for my legacy to have a clean record, and the only thing that doesn’t show on the blood test is the hard work. The reason that I compete clean is that I want to be fair to people. I think it’s fair for everybody else to compete clean.”

There are currently 19 UFC fighters who have reached the 25-clean test milestone as of May 1: Holly Holm (35), Cris Cyborg (33), Alvarez (32), Vitor Belfort (32), Daniel Cormier (30), dos Anjos (30), Miocic (28), Robbie Lawler (27), T.J. Dillashaw (27), Conor McGregor (27), Edson Barboza (27), Dominick Cruz (27), Fabricio Werdum (27), Frankie Edgar (27), Torres (26), Stephen Thomson (25), Tyron Woodley (25), Dustin Poirier (25) and Johny Hendricks (25).

“The initial 19 UFC athletes to be recognized for 25 clean tests under the UFC / USADA Anti-Doping Program are a virtual who’s who of UFC’s roster,” UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky said. “These athletes are not only role models for clean sport within UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts, but for all professional sports. We are proud to honor the leadership, compliance and commitment to clean sport this group of athletes have displayed over the last three years, as well as the efforts that all UFC athletes put forth to helping make the Octagon clean and safe.”

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