UFC create new drug-testing program after parting ways with USADA

Published on 17 October 2023 at 18:30

UFC and the United States Anti-Doping Agency, USADA, have parted ways after Conor McGregor returned to its testing pool as they have announced the partnership will end on January 1st 2024. It is confirmed that the UFC are creating a new drug-testing program to stop any fighters from using illegal substances as an advantage.


The USADA and UFC partnership has lasted for nine years, keeping the fights clean, fair and safe when in the Octagon so Performance Enhancing Drugs, PED’s, or any type of drugs would not be used before any MMA fights. 

The CEO of USADA, Travis Tygart, wrote a statement saying “Fighters’ long-term health and safety – in addition to a fair and level playing field – are more important to USADA than short-term profits at the expense of clean athletes.”

UFC president, Dana White, spoke on The Pat McAfee Show saying that the MMA company would still hire an independent company to run its anti-doping program. When USADA released their statement on Wednesday, Dana White called it a ‘scumbag move’ clearly unhappy with the decision.

The two organisations parting ways was mainly caused by infamous UFC fighter, Conor McGregor, who re-entered the drug-testing pool as he is looking to return to fight in the Octagon.


The former two-divisional champion removed himself from the USADA testing pool after he fractured his leg whilst fighting against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 in July 2021.

The UFC’s anti-doping policy, which is maintained by USADA, states that a fighter who re-enters the testing pool must spend at least six months in it plus, pass two drug tests before they are allowed to compete again.

The UFC president believed that McGregor could fight before the end of 2023, hinting that he would not have to be involved with the drug-testing pool for six months.

USADA wrote a statement, saying “our position, which we have made clear, is that Conor should be in the testing pool for the full six-month period.”

It is clear that that the anti-doping agency wanted Conor to be treated equally just like the other fighters and do the program properly so it could make the fights fair for the Notorious’ opponents.

With the Irish fighter entering the testing pool on 8th October, it would mean that he would not fight until at least April when following the six-month program.

Despite USADA splitting off, the UFC have a new anti-doping program that will take over. Drug Free Sport International are now in charge of the new program at the beginning of January. Former FBI agent George Piro, well known for interrogating former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, will be in charge of the new program. 


Drug Free International Sport do have multiple clients from big American sporting companies such as the NBA, NFL, NCAA, and Major League Baseball.

The UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance, Jeff Novitzky, said “You learn that USADA is not the only player in this space and that a combination of other entities and individuals can actually make your program stronger and better, and that’s exactly what’s happening right now with our program.”

“In fact, we see from time to time that USADA has contracted out with Drug Free Sport and their collection network of over 5,000 strong international collectors.” Novitzky mentioned.

He continued to credit Drug Free Sport International, saying “They test in over 100 countries. They collect over 200,00 samples annually. So, for a sport with over 650 athletes in over 50 countries, they fit us perfectly.


Do you believe the new anti-doping program will work well with the UFC? How long will it be until we see the return of Conor McGregor?


Written by Charlie Oxtoby

Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

MMA Instagram: undisputed._.mma

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