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USADA ‘eager to return to full testing’ of UFC fighters during coronavirus pandemic

Anti-doping expert Jeff Novitzky is the UFC vice president of athlete health and performance.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone to adapt to a new routine over the past few weeks and months worldwide, and that includes anti-doping agents.

As the UFC plans to kick off a series weekly events, beginning with UFC 249 on May 9, the United States Anti-Doping Agency said it’s monitoring the situation as they prepare to resume full testing.

USADA announced on March 17 they were going to “focus only on mission-critical testing of athletes in sports still competing.” Several major sporting events were subsequently postponed, including the Tokyo Olympics.

One fighter told MMA Fighting that UFC president Dana White informed fighters during a teleconference earlier this week that USADA was close to resuming normal testing.

A USADA spokesperson released a statement to MMA Fighting informing that “we have been and continue to monitor the situation closely and along with clean athletes, we are eager to return to full testing and will do so as it is safe and healthy for athletes and our collection team.”

According to the USADA database, 554 UFC fighters were drug tested in the first quarter of the year, a total of 915 tests submitted. The UFC hasn’t held an event since March 14, cancelling or postponing all shows since. The promotion has yet to officially announce the location of UFC 249, which is expected to take place in Florida.

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