Today USADA published a press release advising of changes to the UFC/USADA anti-doping policy which come into force in April, 2017.
USADA summarized the changes as follows:
Policy Changes 2.1.5 – Limited Conditions for No Violation
In the event an Athlete entering the Program voluntarily and promptly discloses to USADA, prior to testing by USADA, the Use or Attempted Use of a substance or method that is prohibited at all times on the Prohibited List, then the presence or evidence of Use of such disclosed substance or method in an Athlete’s Sample, shall not be considered an Anti-Doping Policy Violation if it is determined by USADA to have resulted from Use of the Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method which occurred prior to the Athlete entering the Program.
2.5.2 – Expands Tampering Definition
Absent a compelling justification, the failure to disclose to USADA, prior to entering the Program, the Use, Attempted Use or Possession within the previous one year of a substance or method that is classified as prohibited at all times on the Prohibited List. The past Use, Attempted Use or Possession of a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method shall not constitute a violation of these Policies if disclosed prior to entering the Program; however, the admission of such conduct shall subject the Athlete to the notice period requirements outlined in Article 5.7.4. Furthermore, unless the Athlete’s use of the substance or method in question was pursuant to a valid medical prescription or recommendation, such conduct may also be considered in sanctioning or counted as a violation for purposes of Article 10.7 if the Athlete subsequently commits an Anti-Doping Policy Violation.
2.9 – Expands Complicity Definition
Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, conspiring, covering up or any other type of intentional complicity involving (a) an Anti-Doping Policy Violation, Attempted Anti-Doping Policy Violation or violation of Article 10.12.1 by another Person; or (b) conduct committed by an individual who is not subject to this Policy, which would otherwise have constituted an Anti-Doping Policy Violation.
5.7 – Notice Requirements for New and Returning Athletes
An Athlete who has not previously competed in UFC, may not compete in UFC Bouts until he/she has executed a Promotional Agreement with UFC and made him/herself available for Testing for a minimum period of one month before his/her first UFC Bout. Where the conditions set forth in Article 5.7.6 below are satisfied, the foregoing rule shall not prevent a new UFC Athlete from participating in a Bout less than one month after entering into a Promotional Agreement with UFC.
An Athlete who ceases to have a contractual relationship with UFC due to UFC-Initiated Inactivity, may not resume competing in UFC Bouts until he/she has entered into a new Promotional Agreement with UFC and has made him/herself available for Testing for a period of one month before returning to competition. Where the conditions set forth in Article 5.7.6 below are satisfied, the foregoing rule shall not prevent a returning UFC Athlete from participating in a Bout less than one month after entering into a new Promotional Agreement with UFC.
An Athlete who gives notice of retirement to UFC, or has otherwise ceased to have a contractual relationship with UFC due to Athlete-Initiated Inactivity, may not resume competing in UFC Bouts until he/she has given UFC written notice of his/her intent to resume competing and has made him/herself available for Testing for a period of six months before returning to competition. UFC may grant an exemption to the six-month written notice rule in exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an Athlete.
A new or returning Athlete who admits or has an established and verifiable history of the Use, Attempted Use or Possession of a substance or method that is classified as prohibited at all times on the Prohibited List shall not be permitted to compete in UFC Bouts until he/she has made him/herself available for Testing for a minimum period of six months before competing. At USADA’s discretion, such Athletes may also be required to provide a minimum of two negative Samples during the minimum six-month notice period before being cleared for competition. This provision shall not apply in situations in which (i) the Athlete’s Use of the Prohibited Substance or Method was pursuant to a valid TUE or (ii) USADA subsequently grants the Athlete a TUE for the substance or method in question.
If an Athlete retires from UFC competition while subject to a period of Ineligibility, the Athlete shall not resume competing in UFC Bouts or competitions approved or sanctioned by an Athletic Commission until the Athlete has given six months prior written notice (or notice equivalent to the period of Ineligibility remaining as of the date the Athlete retired, if that period was longer than six months) to UFC of his/her intent to resume competing and has made him/herself available for Testing throughout the notice period. Similarly, if an Athlete is retired at the time a period of Ineligibility is imposed, then the Athlete’s sanction shall be tolled until such time he/she provides written notice of his/her return from retirement and makes him/herself available for Testing.
The one-month notice period requirement for an Athlete subject to Articles 5.7.1 and 5.7.2 shall be waived automatically where he/she is named to a Fight Card as a replacement for an Athlete who was withdrawn from the Fight Card due to loss of eligibility, injury or other event not reasonably foreseeable to UFC.
7.7.2 – Scope and Purpose of Provisional Hearing
Provisional Hearings shall be conducted by a single Arbitrator and heard via conference call within the time frame specified by USADA. The sole issue to be determined by the Arbitrator at such a hearing will be whether USADA’s decision that a Provisional Suspension should be imposed shall be upheld.
USADA’s decision to impose a Provisional Suspension shall be upheld if probable cause exists for USADA to proceed with a charge of an Anti-Doping Policy Violation against the Athlete. It shall not be necessary, however, for any B Sample analysis to have been completed in order to establish probable cause.
10.7.4.3 – Athletic Commission Violations
Decisions made either before or after the effective date of this Policy by an Athletic Commission or other Anti-Doping Organization, finding that an Athlete or other Person violated a rule involving Prohibited Substances or Prohibited Methods or committed an Anti-Doping Policy Violation may be considered in sanctioning or counted as a violation under this Article where the process was fair and the violation would also be a violation of these policies. Where such offense would not also constitute a violation under this Policy, then the offense shall not count as a violation for purposes of Article 10.7.
23.2 – Determining Which Rules Apply
With respect to any Anti-Doping Policy Violation case which is pending as of the Effective Date and any Anti-Doping Policy Violation case brought after the Effective Date based on an Anti-Doping Policy Violation which occurred prior to the Effective Date, the case shall be governed by the substantive antidoping rules in effect at the time the alleged Anti-Doping Policy Violation occurred unless the current rules would be more beneficial to the Athlete or other Person and the panel hearing the case determines that the circumstances of the case warrant the application of those rules.
New and Revised Definitions
For purposes of this Anti-Doping Policy, “In-Competition” means the period commencing at noon on the day prior to the scheduled start of the Fight Card on which a Bout is contested and ending upon the completion of the postBout Sample or Specimen collection. If a post-Bout Sample or Specimen collection is not initiated by USADA within a reasonable time, which will not exceed one hour following an Athlete’s post-Bout medical clearance, then the In-Competition period shall expire at that time.
An Athlete shall be considered inactive due to UFC-Initiated Inactivity when the Athlete no longer has a contractual relationship with the UFC due to the termination of the Promotional Agreement by UFC or refusal by UFC to renew or otherwise continue the contractual relationship with Athlete upon the expiration of the Promotional Agreement.
Professional of Sport Related Capacity
Acting in a Professional or Sport Related Capacity shall include, without limitation, acting as a manager, coach, trainer, second, corner man, agent, official, medical or paramedical personnel. For purposes of this Policy, it shall not include indirect or peripheral involvement in an Athlete’s training, or acting as an Athlete’s training partner.