The UFC had previously stated it’s intention to ramp up their drug testing procedures and today they made good on that promise by unveiling a ground-breaking partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency and revealing more details about their policy which comes into force on July 1st.

“The UFC has taken a bold and courageous leap forward for the good of its athletes in developing a comprehensive and cutting-edge anti-doping policy expressly modeled on the key elements of the WADA Anti-Doping Program and by having it run by an independent and transparent national anti-doping organization,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a statement. “USADA looks forward to supporting clean athletes in this sport, as in all sport, to achieve success on the playing field fairly and safely.”

As expected all fighters on the UFC’s roster will now be tested three times a year unannounced out-of-competition, amounting to a total of 2,570 tests, with room to grow beyond that if necessary. In-competition testing will also continue and has been expanded to include a period from six hours prior to weigh-ins to six hours after a fight.

During a press conference earlier today the UFC’s new Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, acclaimed former FDA agent Jeff Novitzky, unveiled a new set of punishments for fighters who test positive for drugs, with a minimum of a two year suspension being handed out for first time offenders caught using substances like steroids and HGH, with repeat offenders receiving stiffer punishments that would all but end their careers.

Meanwhile those caught using other drugs such as cocaine and marijuana face a one year punishment for a first offence, ramping up to three for a third offense.

See the full range of punishment guidelines below.

Punishments for specified substances (including steroids, HGH, etc):

First offense: Two years with the possibility of two additional years for “aggravating circumstances,” which include previous drug failures, egregious intent, conspiracy with others, multiple substances, and other factors
Second offense: double the sanction of first offense
Third offense: double sanction of second offense

Punishments for non-specified substances (marijuna, cocaine, etc):

First offense: One year with the possibility of two additional years for “aggravating circumstances,” which include previous drug failures, egregious intent, conspiracy with others, multiple substances, and other factors
Second offense: double the sanction of first offense
Third offense: double sanction of second offense

In addition, fighters who fail post-fight drugs tests will be subject to disqualification, forfeiture of any title and ranking status as well as purse fines.

All in all it looks to be a comprehensive and hard-hitting drug-testing policy and plaudits must go to the UFC for putting their money where there mouth is and not only attempting to clean up the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, but also to set an example to other leading sporting organizations around the world.

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