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Jeff Novitzky: USADA has begun ramping up UFC drug testing even more

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LAS VEGAS — The USADA Era hasn’t even reached its peak yet.

Though the UFC’s anti-doping policy and failed drug tests have become one of the biggest stories of the year, the program was only just implemented completely last month.

UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky told MMA Fighting on Wednesday at the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) Conference that USADA will test around 700 fighters in the third quarter of 2016. That’s up from 450 to 550 tests per quarter previously and 150 to 250 tests per quarter last year, he said.

“We’re very happy with where the program is, considering we started from scratch,” said Novitzky, who gave a presentation on anti-doping and weight management at the ABC Conference. “I’m amazed the progress that we’ve had getting this off the ground. This will be the first quarter — the third quarter of 2016 — where we have a fully implemented program.”

USADA and the UFC’s anti-doping program have been under the microscope in recent weeks with Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar failing drug tests. Jones was pulled from his UFC 200 main event fight against Daniel Cormier three days before the event after failing an out-of-competition test. Lesnar’s positive test came back after his win over Mark Hunt at UFC 200.

Both Jones and Lesnar are facing two-year suspensions from USADA as well as sanctions from the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Though Jones being pulled from an historical event shows the UFC’s commitment to its anti-doping program, which began in July 2015, Novitzky said he would prefer if situations like that did not happen. That being said, it does set the tone for the rest of the program.

“Let me be clear: Just because this is my program, those days and those occurrences are challenging,” he said. ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting