Last year the UFC controversially granted Brock Lesnar an exemption to the usual rule that returning athletes be in the US Anti Doping Agency’s testing pool for at least 4 months prior to competing. Lesnar subsequently failed both an in and out of competition test surrounding UFC 200 and this created a host of legal consequences including allegations of racketeering against the UFC.
Despite this rocky history the UFC is again exercising their discretion to waive the 4 month period for a returning athlete. Today the UFC published the following
On December 13, 2016, UFC strawweight Angela Hill was re-enrolled by USADA into the UFC Anti-Doping Policy Registered Testing Pool (RTP). Hill had previously been part of the RTP as a contracted athlete in 2015, before she was released at the discretion of UFC and subsequently removed from the program. UFC is granting Hill an exemption to the four-month RTP requirement, which will allow her to compete against Jessica Andrade on February 4, 2017, in Houston, Texas.
Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy section 5.7.1, in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an athlete, UFC can grant a waiver to the four-month requirement. UFC determined that Hill met that criteria for the following reasons:
– Hill underwent a thorough education process on the UFC Anti-Doping Policy upon her first inclusion in the RTP in 2015.
– Upon her re-enrollment into the RTP on December 13, 2017, Hill received additional education and became immediately subject to no advance notice, out-of-competition testing by USADA, making her subject to such testing for more than 7 weeks before her competition. Since Hill has returned to the RTP, she has undergone unannounced testing by USADA,and will continue to be subject to such testing while she remains in the RTP.
– It was not at Hill’s discretion that she was removed from the RTP in 2015. The intent of the 4-month rule is to prevent athletes from unfairly manipulating their inclusion in the RTP.
– UFC and USADA are in the final stages of refining the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Included in that refinement, will be a change to the 4-month rule, whereby only athletes who chose at their discretion to be removed from the RTP will be required to have an extended presence in the RTP before returning to competition.