clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC revises USADA rules, creates ‘certified supplement’ list without sanctions

It looks like the UFC will indeed be giving out a potential ‘get out of jail free’ card for athletes who end up with a failed drug test stemming from tainted supplements.

Mark Strozier | Wikimedia Commons

It looks like when the UFC recently stated that Drug Testing Czar Jeff Novitzky was speaking “metaphorically” about a new upcoming “get-out-of-jail-free” policy, what they really meant was ‘literally.’

The UFC had been looking at creating an National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified list of supplements under which athletes “could get a much-reduced sanction,” if they tested positive for a tainted supplement that had been part of the list. However, the USADA website has recently announced a series of updates to UFC drug testing policy, and included in it is the creation of a list of “certified supplements” that will result in no sanction for athletes if they fail a drug test as a result of the use of one of those listed supplements.

In a summary of the changes to UFC policy listed on the USADA website, the drug testing organization notes:

Without limitation of other evidentiary methods, an Athlete shall bear No Fault or Negligence in an individual case where the Athlete, by Clear and Convincing evidence, demonstrates that the cause of the Adverse Analytical Finding was due to a (i) Contaminated Product or (ii) Certified Supplement. In such a case, there will be no Anti-Doping Policy Violation based on the Adverse Analytical Finding and the Athlete will not be permitted to compete in a Bout until, based on follow-up testing, the Prohibited Substance is no longer present in the Athlete’s Samples (or below the applicable Decision Concentration Level for such Prohibited Substance, if any) or no appreciable performance advantage is obtained from the presence of the substance.

In a nut shell, if fighters are found to have ingested PED’s from either a certified supplement or unknowingly from a contaminated product (food or beverage—not a non-certified supplement), they won’t be punished. However, they will not be allowed to compete until the substance has passed from their system.

Section (h/t @dimspace) of the updated USADA guidelines also notes that in the case of non-performance enhancing substance use (narcotics, etc.) sanctions can be waved, based on the athletes “participation in a rehabilitation program.”

Additionally, the UFC has removed the section of their guidelines giving them the option to fine athletes for failing drug tests. It’s not something they’ve used to date (at least not to my knowledge), however fines are often levied by athletic commissions against fighters who fail drug tests or run afoul of other regulatory infractions.

Hopefully all of these changes will result in a more fair and equitable environment for UFC fighters going forward. To date, several fighters have already lost months, and even years, of their professional careers due to failed drug tests resulting from tainted supplement use. Hopefully the creation of an official UFC & USADA approved list of supplements will at least help prevent future fighters from falling afoul of this same problem.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow