On Monday, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) revealed some alterations to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s doping policy.
At the time of the initial launch of the promotion’s anti-doping rules, the rationale was to single out any and all possible competitors who attempted to compromise the rules by juicing.
As per the anti-doping policy, first-time offenders were penalized with a two-year suspension when caught using steroids, even though most of the UFC’s active roster never juiced.
In recent times, however, this anti-doping policy has resulted in controversy and very nearly resulted in a main event being postponed.
As MMAFighting.com’s Damon Martin wrote in a Monday article about the revised doping policy:
“Time and time again, athletes were returning positive results with trace amounts of a banned substance in their bodies, but under the anti-doping policy as it first began some sort of punishment was almost always handed down.”
Due to the anti-doping policy, Nate Diaz came close to voluntarily stepping away from the planned main event of UFC 244 against Jorge Masvidal for the BMF title.
Diaz’s drug test came back clean—a miniscule trace of an illegal substance was found in a multivitamin he was consuming.
With Diaz exonerated from any possible USADA anti-doping violation, the main event of UFC 244 went on as scheduled on Nov. 2, with Masvidal winning by technical knockout due to a stoppage by the fight doctor.
Due to this, USADA has revised its anti-doping policy.
Now, USADA has labeled eight illegal substances and established thresholds where athletes will be penalized with violations only if they meet or exceed said thresholds.
If a fighter uses a labeled substance but does not meet or exceed a threshold, it will be deemed an atypical finding rather than a violation.
In my opinion, the changes made to this anti-doping policy are welcome ones.
The reasoning is simple:
By making alterations to the anti-doping policy, it makes this policy fair to all fighters.
Under the old rules, it caused some inconvenience and headaches.
Case in point: Last December, the UFC was forced to move its UFC 232 event from Las Vegas and T-Mobile Arena to Inglewood, CA and The Forum on six days’ notice due to the Nevada State Athletic Commission refusing to grant Jon Jones a license to compete in Vegas for the main event after he failed a drug test after a trace of Turinabol was found in his system.
By updating the USADA anti-doping policy, the UFC can effectively exonerate fighters who are innocent as far as juicing while correctly penalizing those who are.
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