UFC Announces Aggressive Anti Doping Policy

Today the UFC announced a vigorous in house program designed to weed out and punish athletes using performance enhancing drugs.  The move is one that should be applauded.  If ever there was a genre of sports that cannot tolerate cheating with PED’s it’s combative sports.  Given the varying, sometimes impotent and sometimes non-existent patchwork of drug testing powers by State and Provincial athletic commissions and lack of Federal regulation this is an important step in the right direction.

As summarized by MMAJunkie, the highlights of the program are as follows:

Punishments for specified substances include:

  • First offense: Two years with the possibility of two additional years for “aggravating circumstances,” which include previous drug failures, egregious intent, conspiracy with others, multiple substances, and other factors
  • Second offense: double the sanction of first offense
  • Third offense: double sanction of second offense

Punishments for non-specified substances include:

  • First offense: One year with the possibility of two additional years for “aggravating circumstances,” which include previous drug failures, egregious intent, conspiracy with others, multiple substances, and other factors
  • Second offense: double the sanction of first offense
  • Third offense: double sanction of second offense

In addition to the above suspensions, doping fighters are subject to forfeiture of their UFC ranking, belt, and purse or other compensation, results for fighters will also be overturned to DQ losses.

The UFC handed the reigns in implementing the program to the USADA.  The program will be funded by the UFC but the USADA will have full control over who is tested and when.  They will conduct a minimum of 2,750 tests annually which will include blood and urine screening.  This equals an average of over 5 tests per year per athlete under contract with the UFC.

There remain issues to be untangled.  It is unclear if the USADA or Zuffa themselves are responsible for issuing penalties under the program.  It is further unclear if this program and its range of penalties are contemplated and contractually agreed to by all current contracts between fighters and Zuffa appreciating some of these date back a few years.  If contracts are overhauled to allow this it also begs the question whether this overarching policy would be enough to allow a successful challenge to fighters ‘independent contractor’ status.  Lastly it is not clear exactly how various State and Provincial athletic commissions will interact with and overlap with this program

Despite these legal issues which will need to be sorted out, this program is a big step in the right direction for the integrity of professional Mixed Martial Arts.

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5 thoughts on “UFC Announces Aggressive Anti Doping Policy

  1. You have to give the UFC credit for putting their foot down when it comes to PED’s. This sport is dangerous enough with out the “super human” strength. Unfortunately, this will put a strain on the amount of epic fights that we will get to see in the future.

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