As previously discussed, the UFC’s new anti-doping policy largely mirrors the World Anti Doping Code making USADA arbitration decisions highly relevant to UFC fighters. If UFC fighters want to see what punishments will look like under the new UFC policy they need look no further than to USADA arbitration decisions. To this end I will continue to summarize relevant decisions here.
Today, reasons for judgement were released addressing the start date of a 4 year suspension following a doping violation.
In today’s case ( USADA v. Trafeh) Trafeh was a professional distance runner. He was found with EPO and also violated USADA’s ‘whereabouts’ policy. Following an arbitration the athlete was suspended from competition for 4 years for these violations. The arbitrator ordered that the suspension commence from January 2012, which was the first date of the athlete’s anti doping violation.
Unsatisfied, USADA appealed arguing the 4 year suspension should begin on December 2014. The Court of Arbitration for Sport agreed and granted the later date. In reaching this conclusion the Court noted this was the mandatory outcome under the World Anti Doping Code.
UFC athletes should note that the language of ‘commencement of ineligibility period’ provisions are identical under the UFC’s policy reading as follows:
10.11 Commencement of Ineligibility Period
Except as provided below, the period of Ineligibility shall start on the date of the final hearing decision providing for Ineligibility or, if the hearing is waived or there is no hearing, on the date Ineligibility is accepted or otherwise imposed.
10.11.1 Delays Not Attributable to the Athlete or other Person
Where there have been substantial delays in the hearing process or other aspects of Doping Control not attributable to the Athlete or other Person, USADA may start the period of Ineligibility at an earlier date commencing as early as the date of Sample collection or the date on which another Anti-Doping Policy Violation last occurred. All Bout results achieved during the period of Ineligibility, including retroactive Ineligibility, may be Disqualified by UFC.
10.11.2 Timely Admission
Where the Athlete or other Person promptly (which, in all cases, for an Athlete means before the Athlete Bouts again) admits the Anti-Doping Policy Violation after being confronted with the Anti-Doping Policy Violation by USADA, the period of Ineligibility may start as early as the date of Sample collection or the date on which another Anti-Doping Policy Violation last occurred. In each case, however, where this Article is applied, the Athlete or other Person shall serve at least one-half of the period of Ineligibility going forward from the date the Athlete or other Person accepted the imposition of a sanction, the date of a hearing decision imposing a sanction, or the date the sanction is otherwise imposed. This Article shall not apply where the period of Ineligibility has already been reduced under Article
10.6.3. 10.11.3 Credit for Provisional Suspension or Period of Ineligibility Served
10.11.3.1 If a Provisional Suspension is imposed on, or voluntarily accepted by, an Athlete or other Person and that Provisional Suspension is respected, then the Athlete or other Person shall receive a credit for such period of Provisional Suspension against any period of Ineligibility which may ultimately be imposed.
10.11.3.2 No credit against a period of Ineligibility shall be given for any time period before the effective date of the Provisional Suspension, or suspension by any Athletic Commission, regardless of whether the Athlete elected not to compete.