USADA/UFC Anti-Doping Policy and Consqequences of “Prohibited Association”

Mike Coughlan,a reporter at HalfGuarded, has authored a worthwhile piece examining USADA’s “prohibited association” provisions and the problems these can create for UFC athletes.

The article is worth reviewing in full and can be found here.

In short, the UFC Anti-Doping Policy prohibits all athletes from associating with any “Athlete Support Person” (defined to include “any person assisting an athlete in preparing for a Bout” who is serving a period of ineligibility under the policy.

In other words, if an athlete is suspended for doping, other UFC Fighters cannot train with them during the period of the suspension or risk being suspended themselves.  The ‘ineligible’ fighter also risks a fresh violation and having their suspension effectively doubled.

Given the tightly knit nature of training at MMA’s elite levels this policy can create real world difficulties for clean athletes who have the misfortune of training with a cheat.

Fighters should not be caught off guard under these provisions as a “prohibited association” violation cannot occur unless “the Athlete…has previously been advised in writing by USADA, of the Athlete Support Person’s disqualifying status and the potential Consequence of prohibited association and that the Athlete or other Person can reasonably avoid the association” so specific notice is needed before a violation can be triggered.

The real world consequences of this policy means that doping athletes will not only be suspended for prolonged periods of time, they will also be effectively divorced from even the sidelines of the sport during the duration of their suspension.

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