UFC Anti-Doping Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your most Frequently Asked Questions. Click a link below to jump to that section.

General | Testing | Whereabouts | Substances | Results Management | Therapeutic Use Exemptions

General

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is recognized by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as the official, independent anti-doping agency for the UFC. USADA is also recognized by the United States Congress as the official anti-doping organization for all Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Para Pan American sport in the United States.

USADA began operations on October 1, 2000 and is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of athletes.

USADA was originally created as the result of recommendations made by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Select Task Force on Externalization. Prior to USADA’s founding in October of 2000, management of the anti-doping program for Olympic and Paralympic sport was handled internally by the USOPC. USADA’s creation as a separate and independent entity is unique in major American sport. USADA was established to remove the inherent conflict of interest that results from an organization being charged with both promoting and growing a sport, and handling anti-doping rule violations potentially involving the sport’s elite athletes. The UFC took the important step to externalize their anti-doping program to USADA in June of 2015.

USADA is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado and operates business on the Mountain Time Zone. USADA’s main telephone number is 719-785-2000, and our toll-free telephone number is 1-866-601-2632  (international toll-free: +8008-120-8120. USADA’s main fax number is 719-785-2001. USADA’s general email address is usada@USADA.org. Athletes and their support personnel can contact USADA’s Athlete Express by calling 719-785-2000 or emailing ufcathleteexpress@USADA.org Our mailing address is 5555 Tech Center Drive, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80919-2372. For more information please click here.

The UFC Anti-Doping Policy applies to UFC and its officials, employees and independent contractors, and each participant in aUFC Bout. It also applies to the following: Athletes, Athlete Support Personnel, and other Persons, each of whom is deemed, as a condition of his/her contract with UFC, license with any Athletic Commission, accreditation and/or participation in a UFC Bout or by the preparation of Athletes for participation in any UFC Bout, to have agreed to be bound by this Anti-Doping Policy, and to have submitted to the authority of UFC and USADA to enforce this Anti-Doping Policy and to have submitted to the jurisdiction of the hearing panel specified in Article 8 to hear and determine cases brought under this Anti-Doping Policy. More specifically, this Anti-Doping Policy shall apply to:

  1. All Athletes under contract with UFC from the date of their first contract until the earlier of the termination of their contract with UFC or such time as they give notice to UFC in writing of their retirement from competition; and
  2. All Athlete Support Personnel who: participate in any UFC Bout in any capacity, including without limitation as a manager, coach, trainer, second, corner man, agent, official, medical or paramedical personnel, or who have been identified by anAthlete to UFC or USADA as an Athlete Support Person.

Any Athlete, Athlete Support Personnel, or other Person who commits an Anti-Doping Policy Violation while subject to this Policy shall remain subject to this Policy for purposes of results management and discipline after the relationship which originally gave rise to UFC’s or USADA’s authority has ceased.

USADA’s education programs provide athletes, coaches and other interested individuals valuable information related to anti-doping including sample collection policies and procedures, prohibited substances, Therapeutic Use Exemptions, whereabouts requirements, athlete responsibilities, dietary supplements, and other related topics. Athletes can visit UFC.USADA.org/resources for education information and materials.

The World Anti-Doping Code is the core document that provides a framework globally for the anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities. It was developed and is carried out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which is the international independent organization responsible for monitoring the Code and its signatories. The Code is the first document to harmonize regulations regarding anti-doping matters across all sports and countries of the world. The Code works in conjunction with five international standards including:

  • The Prohibited List
  • The International Standard for Testing & Investigations
  • The International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions
  • The International Standard for Laboratories
  • The International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information

Many international federations implemented the Code effective January 1, 2004. All international federations adopted and implemented the Code by August 13, 2004, which was the opening date of the 2004 Olympic Games. After a thorough review and consultation process, the WADA Foundation Board approved a revised Code in November 2007 and in 2013. The current Code was implemented on January 1, 2015. The Code and all of the International Standards can be found at www.wada-ama.org.

Testing

USADA conducts in-competition (IC) and out-of-competition (OOC) tests. OOC testing is conducted with individual athletes in an out-of-competition setting with little or no advance notice of the test. In-competition testing is generally conducted during or following an event. USADA collects both urine and blood samples as part of its program. USADA utilizes special analysis testing including, but not limited to, hGH and CIR testing, and collects additional data as part of the Athlete Biological Passport Program. For more information please click here.

For more information on Sample collection, please click here.

USADA’s test distribution plan establishes the number of tests per sport based upon the number of athletes in the UFC Registered Testing Pool. Tests are allocated throughout the year at times when out-of-competition testing is most effective, and according to selection criteria.

USADA retains the right to test athletes at any time and location.

Any UFC athlete wishing to retire must promptly inform the UFC in writing. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, any UFC athlete who has not provided advance written notice of retirement to the UFC and is notified for testing but refuses to provide a sample for an out-of-competition (OOC) test claiming retirement will be subject to all consequences consistent with an anti-doping policy violation (ADPV). For more information please click here.

Yes, USADA informs the athlete of all test results, including negative findings, and the UFC has access to information about all negative results.

In-Competition means the period commencing at noon on the day prior to the scheduled start of the fight card on which a bout is contested and ending upon the completion of the post-bout sample or specimen collection. If a post-bout sample or specimen collection is not initiated by USADA within a reasonable time, which will not exceed one hour following an athlete’s post-bout medical clearance, then the in-competition period shall expire at that time.

Out-of-competition refers to any period which is not in-competition.

Definitions for in-competition and out-of-competition are taken from the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

Whereabouts

Athletes in the UFC Registered Testing Pool are required to submit their detailed location information, referred to as whereabouts, so that they can be located and available for out-of-competition, no-notice testing year-round. If an athlete is added to the UFC Registered Testing Pool (RTP) and is required to provide whereabouts information, they will be contacted by USADA.

As long as an athlete is enrolled in the USADA Registered Testing Pool (RTP), and is required to submit whereabouts, he or she must submit a Whereabouts Filing to USADA on a quarterly basis. Deadlines for submission are: December 31, March 31, June 30, and September 30. For more information on whereabouts, please click here.

Any time their schedules change from that which has previously been provided in the quarterly submission, an update should be submitted. There are many ways to conveniently provide updates. See next question for details.
Athletes may submit updates in several ways, including: online at UFC.USADA.org or through the Update USADA app, available through iTunes or the Google Play store.

Contact USADA via email at ufcathleteexpress@USADA.org or call us at 719.785.2000 (toll-free 1-866-601-2632 or International toll-free +8008-120-8120). We will walk you through the process of obtaining password information and utilizing the online system.

Yes. Upon the issuance of a third Whereabouts Failure within a rolling 12-month period, and before the determination that an Anti-Doping Policy Violation has occurred, an athlete may contest USADA’s decision to declare a Whereabouts Failure on any or all Whereabouts Failures to an independent administrative review panel within 14 days of the issuance of the third Whereabouts Failure.”  

Substances

The World Anti-Doping Agency has a committee (List Committee), comprised of experts from around the world, that determines the list of prohibited substances and methods, with consideration of input from all interested stakeholders internationally. All signatories to the WADA Code follow the WADA Prohibited List.

The WADA Prohibited List identifies those prohibited substances and methods that are prohibited at all times (both in-competition and out-of-competition), as well as only during competition, and those prohibited only in specific sports. The List is updated and published annually. You can find a full copy of the List here.

For information on prohibited substances, please click here. An athlete must check the WADA Prohibited List to determine what substances are prohibited, however, USADA also provides a number of drug reference resources to help athletes understand what substances are prohibited. To search if a specific medication is prohibited please visit UFC.GlobalDRO.com. Additionally, USADA provides a drug reference phone line, to speak to an expert.

Due to the current regulatory framework in the supplement industry, USADA is not able to tell athletes what dietary supplement products are safe to take. For more information on why, and to understand the risks associated with the use of dietary supplements, please visit Supplement411.org.

USADA provides prohibited status information on medication including prescription and over the counter brands through its Global DRO service; however this service does not apply to dietary supplement products. Due to the fact that supplements have been found to contain ingredients that are not listed on the label, and that there are an estimated 85,000+ dietary supplement products on the market without the type of pre-market approvals that drugs provide, it is impossible to determine with 100% accuracy whether a particular dietary supplement is safe to use, or free from prohibited substances. Detailed information about the dietary supplement marketplace can be found at USADA’s Supplement411.org resource.

The WADA prohibited list determines the specific, individual substances and methods prohibited in sport. Unlike medication, which usually contains one active ingredient, in most instances, a dietary supplement is made up of multiple substances combined into a single product. The current regulatory framework in the supplement industry makes it difficult to track, monitor, or oversee the safety and accuracy of dietary supplement ingredients, as supplements are not regulated in the same way medication is. Effectively, there are a number of factors which distinguish medications from dietary supplements, and no resource for determining a dietary supplement’s prohibited status exists. What USADA does provide is a High Risk List of products that have been determined to either contain prohibited substances listed right on the label, or that have been tested and found to contain prohibited substances NOT listed on the label. For more information, including steps athletes can take to reduce the risk associated with dietary supplements, please visit Supplement411.org.

A substance or method will be considered for the WADA Prohibited List if the substance or method meets two of the following three criteria:

1. Medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect or experience that the substance/method enhances, or has the potential to enhance, sport performance.

2. Medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect or experience that the use of the substance/method represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete.

3. WADA’s determination that the use of the substance/method violates the spirit of sport.

Even though Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) contains some growth factors from your blood, WADA has clarified that PRP is not prohibited.  Individual growth factors are still prohibited when given separately or if they are added to any PRP treatment as purified substances as described on the Prohibited List Section S2.5.

Stem cell injections may or may not be prohibited, depending on how the cellular material is manipulated or modified for use. If the stem cells could or will cause performance enhancement, then the procedure is prohibited under either M1 Manipulation of Blood or Blood Components or M3 Gene Doping. How does an athlete know if stem cells cause performance enhancement? Since stem cell treatments vary widely, USADA needs detailed information to make this determination. If you are considering receiving stem cells as a part of any procedure, then please contact USADA on drugreference@USADA.org and provide detailed information about the procedure and origin of the stem cells.

Iron and related ferrous salts are currently not prohibited as a substance, but the volume used to administer the intravenous iron product may be prohibited. WADA prohibits the volume an athlete can receive intravenously, and it cannot be more than 100mL in any 12 hour period. Some injectable iron preparations are designed to be administered by a simple IV push. For example, Injectafer 750mg per 15mL is not prohibited if delivered in a 15mL push. However, diluting it in a volume greater than 100mLs is prohibited because IV infusions (defined as the infusion of a volume greater than 100mL per 12 hour period) are prohibited at all times.

Some iron or ferrous salts must be diluted for the safe administration into a person’s vein because an incorrectly concentrated IV or a different administration rate may cause a potentially deadly reaction. Talk to your prescriber about permitted alternatives such as a small volume IV push, or oral iron. If your physician determines that these are not appropriate for you, and that your medical condition requires an IV infusion of iron, then you should submit a Therapeutic Use Exemption application.

Results Management

After receiving notification from the laboratory of an Adverse Analytical Finding or if USADA has decided to move forward with a non-analytical case (proof of a violation based upon evidence other than an adverse analytic finding), USADA will notify the athlete and the UFC. In a situation in which the ‘A’ sample has returned a positive result, the athlete will have the opportunity to be present for the ‘B’ sample opening.

The ‘B’ sample opening and analysis typically occur within 10 working days after the Adverse Analytical Finding report by the laboratory.

If the B sample confirms the A sample analysis, or the B sample analysis is not requested or is waived, the athlete shall be given notice of (a) the Anti-Doping Policy Violation asserted; (b) the basis of that assertion, (c) the additional information set forth in Article 14.1.3 of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy; (d) the consequences that will be imposed; (e) the athlete’s right, within 10 days of the notice, to request a hearing; and (f) that, if the athlete does not request a hearing within the time limit indicated, the consequences will be imposed immediately.  
The Anti-Doping Review Board generally meets within three weeks after a ‘B’ sample analysis confirms an Adverse Analytical Finding.

Yes. The athlete has the right to contest the sanction sought by USADA.

The athlete may elect to proceed to a hearing before an independent Arbitrator or potentially a three-arbitrator panel. The independent arbitrator/s will be selected from a pool of qualified arbitrators from McLaren Global Sport Solutions Inc. (MGSS).

For more information about the Arbitration Rules, click here.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs)

For the UFC TUE FAQ area, please click here.
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