Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) held a special press conference earlier today (Weds., June 3, 2015) in conjunction with its annual fighter summit in Las Vegas, Nevada (video replay here), to unveil its new and improved drug testing program, first teased back in February in the wake of multiple failures.
On hand were UFC Chariman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC President Dana White, UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, Jeff Novitzky, as well as UFC COO Lawrence Epstein, to help shed some light on the new policy.
Some of today's hot topics included:
- Jeff Novitzky officially introduced as new VP of Athlete Health and Performance.
- UFC announces partnership with EXOS and Fusionetics to help maximize performance and reduce injuries.
- A state of the art UFC Lab will be built in Las Vegas, Nevada and will include the most cutting edge training equipment for athletes. Lab will also focus on rehab and recover for injured fighters.
- United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) will be UFC's independent administrator for new anti-doping policy (details here).
- New testing procedures to begin on July 1, 2015. All fighters subject so same testing.
- Fighters will be required to notify USADA of whereabouts, all will be tested around five times per year.
- There will be year-round, unannounced in- and out-of-competition testing, including blood and urine testing.
- In-competition testing will be done six hours before a fight and then six hours after fight.
- UFC aims to have the best anti-doping program in all of sports.
- 1st offense penalty for steroids is two-year suspension. It will be four years with aggravating circumstance. Penalty will be doubled for second offense, and again for third strike.
- 1st offense penalty for marijuana -- which will only be tested "in competition" -- will be one-year suspension, two with aggravating circumstance. Penalty will be doubled for second offense, and again for third strike.
- Olympic gold medalist in the 1976 and 1984 games, Edwin Moses, and CEO Travis Tygart are speaking on behalf of USADA.
- Tygart proclaims: "This is a brand new and bright day for UFC athletes."
- Past offenses could play part in future suspension as part of the "aggravated circumstances" category is concerned.
- Dana White: "I'm hoping that our guys aren't using drugs. But, we will see how this plays out."
- Tygart: "UFC has zero input or influence over the program." USADA will control all aspects of testing. Boom!
- All athletic commissions will be educated of new policies and standards.
- Tygart: "Past excuses like those used for TRT will not fly in new program."
- Fertitta reveals UFC is funding the entire program, which is up in the multi-million dollar price tag.
- When asked if Fertitta and White would be subject to testing, Lorenzo replied "Dana will test positive for whiskey." Burn. Jokes aside, they are willing to be tested, as well.
- Fertitta: This will be a global program
There you have it folks,
UFC USADA is not playing around with its new drug-testing policy; which means plenty of fighters will either have to shape up or ship out! What's your take on this ground-breaking policy? Will the sport finally rid itself of all performance enhancing drugs (PEDs)?