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Click Debate: UFC’s USADA era casts spotlight on sketchy world of supplements

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Jeff Novitzky fields dozens of questions from the 500-plus fighters on the UFC roster on a weekly basis. That is a significant part of the job for the promotion’s vice president of athlete health and performance.

The bulk of those e-mails, text messages and phone calls revolve around one thing: dietary supplements. Almost every athlete in the UFC takes them in some form or another. With the UFC’s new anti-doping program led by USADA, supplements have come under the microscope.

“Of the inquiries that I get during the week from fighters — and I get a lot of them — 75 percent of them are on supplements,” Novitzky told MMA Fighting.

Recently, two fighters flagged by USADA for potential anti-doping policy violations, Tim Means and Yoel Romero, have blamed test failures on tainted supplements. While pundits have called that a convenient excuse — and maybe it is — supplements containing illegal drugs not found on the label is relatively commonplace, according to experts.

The dietary supplement industry is largely unregulated. Certification badges put on product labels could mean just about anything or, more likely, nothing. A big part of what Novitzky has done since being hired by the UFC last spring is educate fighters, so they understand that just because they buy something at GNC does not mean it is free of substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.

“It is really the Wild West,” Novitzky said. “There’s no pre-market review by the government for supplements. … No one is required to test it before it’s going on the shelves. So literally, the consumers in this country are sometimes the guinea pigs. Not until somebody gets hurt or there’s an issue does the FDA kind of react.”

Novitzky has unique experience with the supplement business. As a former federal agent for the Federal Drug ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting