Not even the coronavirus pandemic will keep United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) from randomly drug testing those mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters competing for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
How they plan to circumnavigate areas like northern California, where some counties are locked down via shelter-in-place, is unknown at this time, but don’t be surprised to see Doping Control Officers (DCOs) sneaking around town in HazMat suits.
Some of the temporary policy revisions include:
- Where feasible, DCOs will use personal protective gear, including mask and gloves. DCOs will also have hand sanitizer for use during the processing of the sample. Please keep in mind that many communities have a shortage of these materials that are needed by the healthcare system.
- As always, we ask that both athletes and DCOs wash their hands before testing occurs.
- We encourage athletes and DCOs to maintain a six-foot distance during the process.
- During this time, no USADA DCO who has any sign of sickness or otherwise meets any of the risk criteria identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be collecting samples.
Most local gyms and workout facilities remain closed.
Coronavirus continues to shut down major parts of the world and recently forced UFC to postpone three consecutive fight cards. UFC 249, however, is expected to remain intact, even if it means shipping Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson to another part of the world.
Time will tell.