For the last few months, the UFC has been recognizing fighters that have passed 25 consecutive USADA drug tests. It’s apparently a way to bring awareness to the program and to give a bit of props to the athletes that are consistently fighting clean. They even maintain a list of fighters that have achieved this status.
High-profile names like Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Holly Holm, and Daniel Cormier all grace the page. Almost all of the fighters on the list have never had any kind of issues at all when it comes to drug testing, whether it was by USADA or the commissions that handled the testing before them.
In fact, there were just two that had previous issues – Donald Cerrone (who tested positive for a diuretic way back in 2007 in the WEC), and Cris Cyborg (who was suspended for a positive steroid test in early 2012 while in Strikeforce). Obviously, neither of those took place in the UFC.
I say there were just two. They added eight more fighters to the list this month, and two of them have famously failed drug tests in the past. Both in the UFC.
UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky touted the new members of the 25-test club in a tweet:
Alistair Overeem was suspended for nine months back in 2011 after failing a pre-fight drug test for elevated testosterone levels ahead of UFC 146. That was a long time ago, and not under the auspices of USADA.
Hector Lombard popped for an anabolid steroid in early 2015 ahead of UFC 182, a few months before USADA took over the testing. He was suspended for a year, and was nixed from cornering teammate Valerie Letourneau at UFC 193 by USADA just after they took over, due to his suspension.
For the record, the other six fighters that were commended were Michelle Waterson, Tony Ferguson, Rose Namajunas, Joseph Benavidez, and Misha Cirkunov.
It is commendable that both Overeem and Lombard have passed 25 tests in a row. But if you’re looking to reward “clean athletes”, it seems a little strange to give a lot of credit to people that haven’t lived up to those expectations in the past.