UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg claimed in a series of tweets that the agent sent to collect her anti-doping sample didn’t have a valid visa for Thailand, that the police were called on them, and that “They were not Thai there were other differences with how sample was collected that were not normal procedure as well.”
I gave my sample without hesitation. I have no failed whereabouts in the past 12 months and wanted to maintain that despite the incident— #UFC219 CyborgVHolm (@criscyborg) September 23, 2017
They were not Thai there were other differences with how the sample was collected that were not normal procedure as well.— #UFC219 CyborgVHolm (@criscyborg) September 23, 2017
A source at USADA stated that the sample was collected on USADA’s behalf by a sample collecting agency USADA is familiar with and has used before. The agency follows WADA guidelines for sample collection, and was used in this instance because the Thai national anti-doping agency was not able to do the sample collection in the timeframe required.
While there can be small, superficial differences in how different agencies collect samples; for instance, the type of cup or container used, or the conversation that happens prior to collection may be a little different, but the procedure overall remains the same and the adherence to WADA guidelines ensures the collection process isn’t compromised.
Athletes who have any concerns about a collection process have multiple avenues for contacting USADA to express those concerns. It doesn’t appear that Cyborg chose to do so.
The collection agent was apparently apprehended by Thai authorities, but was later released. According to USADA, the sample is in transit to the WADA accredited lab in Japan without being compromised or tampered with. It’s not clear whether or not there was an issue with the agent’s visa at this point in time, but all such visas would be handled by the third party collection agency, and not USADA directly.
Local authorities interrupting the sample collection process is something that is uncommon, but not unheard of. The nature of collection involves agents showing up and hanging around places of residence, gyms, hotels, and other buildings for long periods of time, which can raise suspicions.
It’s also not unheard of for fighters or their camps to call the authorities on sample collection agents either, as happened during the Nevada athletic commission’s attempts to test Jose Aldo ahead of UFC 189.
In most cases, as is likely to happen in this case, the sample is still successfully collected and delivered for testing. Cyborg, by all accounts, provided her sample to the collection agent willingly, and according to her Twitter account, it was the hotel she was staying at who called the authorities, not someone from her team.
Samples are usually processed in one to three weeks depending on the lab used, tests run, and whether or not they are marked for priority testing.