USADA upholds a strict schedule for every single name on the UFC roster. Part of the agreement of being in the testing pool is that the agency must know the whereabouts of every fighter at all times.
One of those regularly tested is welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who will defend his title this weekend at UFC 235 against Kamaru Usman in Las Vegas. During Monday’s media luncheon with teammate Ben Askren in Los Angeles, “The Chosen One” revealed how USADA’s protocol cost him $10,000 because the sample collection coincided with a paid commitment he had for Super Bowl Weekend in Atlanta.
“They tested me Super Bowl weekend,” Woodley told members of the press (transcript via MMA Fighting). “The lady came to me, bless her soul, because I said a few unchoice words to her. But with respect. She came to test me at 12 a.m. on Super Bowl weekend. Knowing the reason, I was in Atlanta was probably for Super Bowl. And I had some appearances that I was supposed to be at. I had an event with [NFL player] Devonte Freeman and Meek Mill I was supposed to be at, an event with Ludacris and an event with Snoop Dogg.
“And I was in the hotel waiting on her to come in 45 minutes of traffic to test me. So, she tested me around 1 a.m. And I missed those events. So I asked her, I said, ‘Why can’t you test me in the morning? I’m gonna be here.’ [She said,] ‘Oh let me call them and ask them if I can test you in the morning.’ They said, ’No, I gotta test you now.’”
Woodley admitted that the situation had irked him, considering he offered to do the test at an earlier time, but it was the agent who was unavailable.
“Why in the hell didn’t you test me earlier today?” Woodley asked the agent. “‘Oh I had an event I had to go to.’ I have an event I have to go to that I’m missing money because I’m supposed to be there. She said, ‘Oh, I can meet you there.’ I said, ‘No, you can’t get in, you can’t get on the list.’
“So I had to wait there and she had to test me at 1 a.m. And I was not happy.”
From their end, USADA claimed they were unaware about Woodley’s set commitment.
“USADA makes attempts based off of the information athletes provide on their whereabouts filings,” USADA spokesperson Adam Woullard said in a separate statement to MMA Fighting. “If whereabouts are kept up to date with accurate information, and we see situations that don’t make sense logistically, we will plan accordingly.
“In this case, the opportunity seemed appropriate given the information we had and we weren’t aware that Woodley had a paid appearance when we made initial contact with him.”
A fighter’s failure to notify USADA about their whereabouts is punishable by a lengthy suspension. Nick Diaz was slapped with a 12-month ban because of this exact reason, prolonging his suspension to a total of three years.