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UFC changes drug-testing policy, won’t report failures until after resolution is made

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The UFC will be implementing major changes in its existing drug-testing policies. According to a report by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the company will no longer announce a violation until the fighter in question has his or her case completely resolved.

As stated in the said report, the UFC had decided upon this new rule since mid-July.

According to the UFC’s Chief Legal Officer Hunter Campbell, this decision was part of how they have so far evaluated the current anti-doping strategies since it was put in place in 2015.

”If an athlete has a positive drug test, we aren’t putting them in a fight until their case is resolved — but what we can do is give the athlete an opportunity to adjudicate their issue without the public rushing to judgment,” Campbell said. “Announcing the test result creates this narrative around the athlete before people understand the facts.”

As pointed out by UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky, 21 out of the 62 adjudicated cases under the UFC’s anti-doping program were ruled by USADA to be “non-intentional use”, or cases where exemption was granted to a fighter.

”Part of the feedback Jeff and I have received from the athletes is, ‘I would have appreciated the opportunity to adjudicate this, so the story could be I tested positive, a full investigation was conducted and it was found the use was unintentional,’” Campbell said. “That story is very different than giving somebody a six-month window, where they are trying to defend themselves against accusations they are a cheater.”

In March, Josh Barnett was cleared in arbitration from the positive test he rendered in 2016, after it was found to have “only the minimum amount of fault” to be slapped with a suspension. A month later, fellow ex-UFC champion Junior dos Santos, along with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Marcos Rogerio de Lima were also cleared from their violations, concluding that it was a result of taking contaminated substances.

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