The UFC have announced that they’ve hired anti-doping expert Jeff Novitzky to be their new Vice President of Health And Performance.
A former Internal Revenue Service and current Food and Drug Administration investigator, Novitzky has a formidable reputation, being best known for his work bringing to light the BALCO doping scandal which hit Major League Baseball hard and exposed superstars like Barry Bonds as steroid users.
After a turbulent start to the year which saw the likes of Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz and Hector Lombard all fail drug tests, UFC President Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta had vowed to tackle the problem head-on with more stringent testing procedures and stiffer punishments for those who are caught cheating, and hiring a leading figure like Novitzky proves beyond any doubt that they meant what they said.
In his new role for the UFC Novitzky will now take the lead in constructing the promotion’s new drug-testing program which is expected to start in July, as well as dealing with other aspects of fighters health and performance such as accidental injury insurance, training and nutrition.
Read the UFC’s full statement announcing Novitzky’s appointment below.
“In a further commitment to the health and safety of its athletes, UFC® announced today the hiring of Jeff Novitzky as Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance. Novitzky will spearhead the development of the organization’s clean initiative education program designed to ensure that every athlete competes with natural ability on an even playing field.
Novitzky, who has been a federal agent for the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2008, led investigations into companies suspected of illegal distribution of dietary supplements and designer steroids.. Prior to joining the USFDA, Novitzky was a special agent for the Internal Revenue Service in their Criminal Investigation Department, where he oversaw and investigated some of the highest-profile performance enhancing drug (PED) cases in professional sports. A former collegiate athlete who played basketball for San Jose State University from 1989-91, Novitzky graduated with a degree in accounting.
UFC is committed year-round to the health, safety, and education of its athletes. Led by Novitzky, UFC will continue to invest in state of the art sports science studies, further develop its out-of-competition PED testing policy and enrich its education and prevention programs.
“There is no bigger advocate of clean professional sports than Jeff Novitzky,” UFC Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein said. “When we announced our commitment for an enhanced drug testing program in February, we wanted to ensure that the best people would be helping move this program forward and Jeff will lead the UFC in developing the most comprehensive anti-doping policy in professional sports.”
Novitzky added: “I am thrilled to be joining a world-class organization like UFC, that is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure all of its athletes are competing in a clean sport. I am confident that UFC will be able to create a new gold standard testing program and implement it so a sustainable and level playing field is provided for all athletes.”
As part of its broader athlete health program, which includes the Athlete Accident Insurance Plan implemented in 2011, UFC announced in February the development of an expanded drug-testing program that will increase out-of-competition testing and pledged significant financial commitments for targeted testing protocols. Novitzky will play a leading role in the creation and implementation of the program, scheduled to be unveiled in July 2015.
Novitzky, who will join the UFC later this month in the organization’s Las Vegas headquarters, will be made available to the media in the coming weeks.”