Beginning July 1, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will begin what US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart calls the best policy against performance enhancing drugs in professional sports.
“I’d say that given the independence, the transparency and the enforcement policies, it’s the top in all of professional sports,” Tygart said at a press conference yesterday in Las Vegas.
All athletes on the UFC roster will be subject to random testing, to the tune of 2,750 tests in a calendar year — all to be conducted by USADA.
According to Tygart, the UFC has removed themselves from any decision making or other involvement in the testing process.
In addition to the random testing protocol — which is seen as vital to keep fighters from “cycling off” in time for scheduled testing — new (and stiffer) penalties will be implemented.
“The first offense will be a two-year suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, with the possibility of four years for aggravating circumstances,” Kevin Iole reports for Yahoo! Sports. “The penalties double with a second offense and double again on a third offense. If a state or country’s regulatory body issues a punishment that is stiffer than the UFC punishment, the lengthier suspension will be recognized.”
Some of the UFC’s longtime critics praised the new policy on Twitter:
I hope all the juicers are shaking in their boots bc USADA doesn't mess around!
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) June 3, 2015
— Margaret Goodman (@MGoodmanMD) June 3, 2015
In an appearance on UFC Tonight, UFC President Dana White (above) described the policy as “having no business upside, but the right thing to do for the sport, and the right thing to do for athletes.”