UFC and USADA Revise Anti-Doping Guidelines Following Lesnar, Other Cases
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and UFC have revealed some changes to the former’s anti-doping regulations. The companies announced revisions to their policies, which go into effect on April 1st and will both make it easier for a new or released fighter to return and make it tougher for those who come out of retirement.
The new guidelines will require fighters who were released from the UFC to be available for one month’s worth of testing, as will new fighters, but that the rule can be waived for returning fighters in the case where they return as an injury replacement. Meanwhile, fighters returning from retirement must be part of the testing pool for six months with written intent to return filed with USADA. Athletes with an “established and verifiable history” of performance-enhancing drug use may be required by USADA to submit two clean drug tests during that time. The six months can be waived by USADA in “exceptional circumstances or where the strict application of that rule would be manifestly unfair to an athlete.”
“The policy updates announced today are a direct reflection of our experiences, and the feedback we’ve received – from both athletes and the UFC – all of which we believe will give further confidence to competitors that they can step into the Octagon, compete clean and win,” USADA’s Ryan Madden told MMAjunkie.
Any pending cases are still subject to the previous rules unless the current ones “would be more beneficial to the athlete or other person.” The changes come after, among other things, Brock Lesnar tested positive on two tests in connection to his UFC 200 return against Mark Hunt. Lesnar had the four month requirement for the testing pool waived and has since retired again.