The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) partnered with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (UFC) back in 2015. Since them, the agency best known for testing U.S. Olympians has become the anti-doping watch dog of the world’s most famous mixed martial arts promotion.
However, the partnership has not been positively received on all fronts. A total 62 anti-doping policy violation cases reportedly have been adjudicated under the program of the UFC.
Each time, USADA has historically immediately offered a public statement when an anti-doping policy has been violated. As reported by ESPN, however, this is no longer the case.
Rather, USADA will not notify the public of a failed anti-doping policy violation until the case over the matter has been fully resolved. Consequently, fight fans could potentially not know about a potential drug test failure from a fighter until 12 months after the incident.
“I have nothing but the highest caliber of respect for USADA, but it would be obtuse on our part if we did not take a look after a three-year period and say, ‘What are the things we’ve learned and what changes might we need to make to this program?'” UFC Chief Legal Officer Hunter Campbell explained to ESPN.
“If an athlete has a positive drug test, we aren’t putting them in a fight until their case is resolved — but what we can do is give the athlete an opportunity to adjudicate their issue without the public rushing to judgment. Announcing the test result creates this narrative around the athlete before people understand the facts.”
“Part of the feedback Jeff and I have received from the athletes is, ‘I would have appreciated the opportunity to adjudicate this, so the story could be I tested positive, a full investigation was conducted and it was found the use was unintentional.’ That story is very different than giving somebody a six-month window, where they are trying to defend themselves against accusations they are a cheater.”