For Jiri Prochazka, there’s one silver lining to not holding the UFC light heavyweight title: fewer knocks at his door at 6 a.m.
Prochazka drew headlines for the dubious distinction of being the most-tested athlete on the UFC roster by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. His 64 tests in 2022 set him far above the 700-plus fighters in the drug testing pool.
The number drew immediate reaction from fighters and fans. UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier questioned why Prochazka outpaced ex-champ Jon Jones, his two-time opponent and rival, amid a move to heavyweight. Former UFC fighter Ben Askren suggested Prochazka may have a legal claim against the anti-doping agency.
But for the ex-champ, he’ll settle for a little less scrutiny.
“After I gave up the title, USADA is going down right now,” Prochazka said recently on The MMA Hour. “So I’m really glad for that. If they will hear that, thank you — please hear that.”
If Prochazka is cautious about celebrating too much, it’s because he was only very recently under the microscope. Before a severe shoulder injury prompted him to vacate the title, he remembers USADA interrupting a lot of mornings.
“They came every time around 5, 6 a.m., and that was every time a nice morning to take my blood twice from the hand, from the shoulder, and then they took the urine,” he said. “It was really funny time [over] three, four months with them.”
One particular agent showed up so often, Prochazka said USADA shook things up to make sure nobody was getting too friendly.
“Sometimes, they send [agents] from another state to be sure to make sure they do that correctly,” he said.
The testing schedule was chosen by USADA, but as Prochazka will admit, it wasn’t completely out of the blue. He struggled with the whereabouts app that helps the anti-doping agency keep track of fighters for testing purposes, and that, combined with his title win, set the stage.
“Sometimes I did some mistakes with that, and that was a lot of misunderstandings, but now is good,” he said.
Prochazka recently underwent surgery to repair his injured shoulder and expects to meet the winner of Glover Teixeira vs. Jamahal Hill, a fight for the still-vacant light heavyweight title put together after the UFC 282 headliner between Magomed Ankalaev and Jan Blachowicz failed to produce a winner.
Prochazka has no preference of opponent when he fights to retake the title.
“Now, it’s the light heavyweight division is going so fast, so I don’t know who will be there, so I don’t want to say,” he said. “But in the next fight, in all the fights, I have no favorite in the fight, Glover or Hill. For me, it doesn’t matter. Show me the best opponent, and I will win.”