clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

USADA informs UFC fighters of upcoming changes to arbitration rules

New, comments

USADA has informed UFC fighters that there will be a change in their arbitration rules starting November 1.

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) sent an email to UFC fighters on Wednesday informing them that changes to the UFC Arbitration Rules would go into effect on November 1, 2016. The new rules were not yet posted on the USADA’s website but a link to the new rules was provided to me and can be viewed here.

While most of the arbitration rules remain the same, one major change concerns the filing fee. Currently if a fighter wishes to appeal USADA’s assertion of an Anti-Doping Policy Violation they have file a request for arbitration form along with a $2,7000 filing fee. The fee is non-refundable (as Yoel Romero learned) although an athlete may request a waiver or reduction of the filing fee on the basis of financial hardship.

Under the new rules filing fees will be lowered to $2,500 and the athlete will be eligible for a refund, except for a minimum non-refundable charge of $250, depending on the outcome of their arbitration as follows:

a. 100% of the filing fee, after the initial deduction of the minimum, non-refundable charge, will be refunded if the case is settled or withdrawn prior to the appointment of the single/first Arbitrator by the Chief Arbitrator as set forth in Rule A.6.1 above.

b. 50% of the filing fee, after the initial deduction of the minimum, non-refundable charge, will be refunded if the case is settled or withdrawn after the appointment of the single/first Arbitrator by the Chief Arbitrator and prior to the pre-hearing scheduling conference.

c. 25% of the filing fee, after the initial deduction of the minimum, non-refundable charge, will be refunded if the case is settled or withdrawn after the pre-hearing scheduling conference and prior to the filing of any contested motions or pre-hearing briefs.

d. No refunds will be made if the Arbitrator(s) has been asked to deliver a pre-hearing ruling on any disputed issue, or after the filing of any contested motions or pre-hearing briefs. No refunds will be granted for cases on the expedited resolution track, regardless of whether such cases are ultimately settled or withdrawn.

The rest of the arbitration rules remain mostly unchanged. Fighters have ten days (a change from the “10 calendar days” of the current arbitration rules) to serve a written notice appealing a USADA assertion of an Anti-Doping Policy Violation.

McLaren Global Sports Solutions (MGSS) will administer the arbitration rules with Richard McClaren serving as the Chief Arbitrator. It will be McClaren that appoints the arbitrator from a list kept by MGSS. A fighter or USADA can also request that a panel of three arbitrators, instead of a single arbitrator, be used. These too are chosen from McLaren’s list. With a panel, the decision will be based on majority vote.

If it’s the fighter that requests a panel of three arbitrators, they will be required to split the cost of the additional arbitrators with the UFC. Arbitrators are compensated at $325 an hour.

Arbitration under the rules is also supposed to be confidential and won’t be open to the public unless USADA, the fighter, and arbitrators all agree otherwise. Parties are also forbidden from disclosing to anyone not involved in the arbitration any information produced, with an exception for the UFC .

Arbitration proceedings are to be conducted in English. If an interpreter is required that will be at the fighters own expense.

After the close of the hearing a final decision will be delivered in writing within 30 days. Arbitrators will not be bound by any previous decisions.

The new arbitration rules are set to go into effect on November 1, 2016.