UFC and USADA Reveal Changes to Anti-Doping Policy

USADA and UFC on Thursday announced changes to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which will go into effect on Wednesday, April 1, 2017.

Most notably, the updated Policy outlines new requirements for how long athletes must be in the UFC Registered Testing Pool (RTP) and subject to testing before they are eligible to compete. The 2017 Policy provides specific RTP inclusion requirements for athletes who have never been in the UFC RTP and for athletes who’ve previously been in the RTP, but had their contract terminated or non-renewed at the choice of the UFC, as well as for athletes who have voluntarily removed themselves from the UFC RTP. If an athlete must be removed from a fight card due to injury or other unforeseen circumstances, the 2017 Policy also states that RTP inclusion requirements will be automatically waived for both new and returning athletes who did not voluntarily remove themselves from the UFC RTP.

In short, fighters that are new to the UFC or are returning to the UFC after having a previous contract ended due to a UFC-initiated action must be available for drug testing for at least one month prior to his/her first bout. An exception can be made for a fighter serving as a replacement for an athlete who was withdrawn from a fight card due to loss of eligibility, injury or other event not reasonably foreseeable to UFC.

A fighter that has retired or left the UFC under his/her own accord, must give written notice to the UFC and make him/herself eligible for testing for six months before returning to competition. As was the case for Brock Lesnar at UFC 200, the UFC may still 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 the fighter. The previous requirement for a retired fighter was to make him/herself available for testing for four months prior to returning.

In addition, the updated Policy requires that athletes entering the RTP must disclose prohibited substances used within the prior year and specifies how the disclosure or non-disclosure of previously used prohibited substances will be treated in terms of eligibility and anti-doping policy violations. The updated policy further clarifies what is to happen if an athlete retires while serving a period of ineligibility.

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Furthermore, the 2017 policy provides updated time limits for the in-competition period and expands the definition of complicity to encompass complicit behavior in doping conduct committed by non-UFC athletes.

“In-Competition” now 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 post- bout sample or specimen collection.

For full details of the changes, the updated Policy and a Summary of Changes are available online.

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