UFC And USADA Announce Anti-Doping Policy Changes

It hasn’t been a smooth journey for the UFC and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), since they partnered up in 2015. Two of the reasons for this have been the alarming number of fighters testing positive as a result of contaminated supplements, and as drug testing technology has continually advanced, tests are now detecting extremely trace amounts of banned substances that have been unknowingly consumed and provide no performance enhancing benefits.

We saw this recently with Nate Diaz, who’s test results ahead of his main event against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244, showed a very trace amount of the banned substance selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM), which was later found to have entered his system via a contaminated organic, vegan multivitamin.

Nate was of course cleared to fight Jorge Masvidal earlier this month at UFC 244. If however, this incident occurred a year ago, it is highly likely that he would have been suspended by USADA and the fight would have been off.

UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky, stated at the time that although the policy changes had not been officially announced, they had been practiced since August. Hence Nate was able to fight Masvidal.

The UFC has announced two major revisions. Firstly, the adoption of the UFC prohibited list, which shows the threshold limits of what constitutes a failed drug test for eight banned substances. And secondly, a list of five independent supplement certifiers, which offer immunity to fighters should they be found to be contaminated.

These are the eight substances that the UFC and USADA now have threshold levels for (via MMA Fighting):

• Clomiphene: 0.1 ng/mL1

• Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT) long-term metabolite (M3): 0.1 ng/mL

• Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and metabolites, Torsemide: 20 ng/mL (Out-of-Competition only)

• Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs): 0.1 ng/mL2

• GW-1516 (GW-501516) metabolites: 0.1 ng/mL

• Epitrenbolone (Trenbolone metabolite): 0.2 ng/mL

• Zeranol: 1 ng/mL

• Zilpaterol: 1 ng/mL

USADA have also added one other drug called Higenamine, which is listed as a prohibited substance in-competition but not out-of-competition.

These are the five independent supplement certifiers, that offer immunity to any fighter should they be found to be contaminated:

Any supplement certified by (i)(a) NSF Certified For Sport, (b) Kolner Liste, (c) Informed Sport, Trusted by Sport, (d) HASTA (Human and Supplement Testing Australia) or (e) Banned Substance Control Group (BSCG) or (ii) any other supplement certification organization that has been endorsed and/or approved by a NADO (National Anti-Doping Organization) and mutually agreed to by UFC and USADA and announced to the Athletes.

Novitzky stated that should any fighter fail a test because of a contaminated supplement from one of these five agencies, then the fighter wouldn’t receive any punishment. Adding that if every fighter in the UFC only used supplements from these five agencies, the issue of contaminated supplements would go away.

“If the athletes adhere to this, if they only use these certified supplements, I believe it will virtually eliminate the contaminated supplement issue.”

UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN that the changes were a result of Jon Jones’ case last year. Despite the the UFC light heavyweight’s results in several tests showing atypical findings for a trace amount of a steroid metabolite, experts believe that the atypical findings were likely the result of a ‘pulsing’ effect of that metabolite, meaning that the trace amounts could remain in Jones’ system indefinitely.

“Jon Jones was a moment where we all sat down and said, ‘We need to take a look at what the science is, as it pertains to the prohibited list.’ And I want to give Jon some credit because he took criticism like no one else has during that case, but everything that occurred in that case turned out to be true and helped result in where the policy is today,” Campbell said of Jones.

TSN‘s Aaron Bronsteter posted the UFC and USADA’s press release to social media.

You can read the full summary of the policy changes made my the UFC and USADA here.

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