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USADA announces piloting of oral fluid testing as part of UFC Anti-Doping Program

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Octagon Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky has confirmed that the promotion has begun piloting oral fluid testing as part of the UFC’s Anti-Doping Program.

The new testing method was initially announced on Dec. 12, 2019, and Novitzky’s update means that testing of the method is underway. According to the USADA release, oral fluid testing is “a pain-free, non-invasive collection experience that is being piloted both in and out-of-competition.”

Per Novitzky’s comments on social media, one potential advantage to this method of testing is that substances like marijuana/THC will only be detected if they have been used within hours of an in-competition sample being collected, as opposed to “what [an] athlete did a week or month ago.”

Oral fluid testing will not replace any previous methods, and is expected to complement urine and blood testing should it prove to be reliable. Results will not be reported during this piloting phase.