USADA is recognised by the UFC as their official testing and anti-doping authority but when did they come into play?

The UFC, just like any sport, has had its problems with performance-enhancers being used by their stars.

However, the UFC has worked hard to eradicate such cheats and tied up with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Many stars have been caught out by USADA’s testing and that has led to title strips and major suspensions.

Jon Jones has been arrested several times in the past
Mixed martial artist Jon Jones cries as he speaks during a news conference at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino to address being pulled from his light heavyweight title fight at UFC 200 against Daniel Cormier due to a potential violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy on July 7, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

However, this is a battle to keep the sport clean and ensure no one is at an advantage.

While USADA started its operations in 2000, it was mostly used in other organisations such as the US Olympic teams.

However, it was only a matter of time before it would get introduced into the UFC and surprisingly, USADA came into the sport fairly recently.

When did USADA come to the UFC?

The USADA and UFC teamed up only in 2015 and started testing fighters from then. However, it wasn’t a sudden move to start testing the stars randomly.

The two bodies also started meeting the fighters and coaches to explain how they would go about dealing with the tests.

Joe Rogan made his commentary debut on UFC 37.5
Joe Rogan during the UFC 247 ceremonial weigh-in at Toyota Center on February 07, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Seminars and programmes were held across the world with trips to Japan, Australia, Brazil and Ireland too.

In the first year of testing, 2015, only the third and fourth quarters of the year led to athletes being checked. USADA tested 353 samples in total (in and out of competition).

The numbers kept rising with a total of 2289 tests in 2016, 2818 in 2017, 2888 in 2018 and a whopping 4296 in 2019.

Amanda Nunes defeated Cris Cyborg in their only meeting
Amanda Nunes of Brazil looks on after defeating Cris Cyborg of Brazil by TKO in the first round during a Women’s Featherweight bout during the UFC 232 event inside The Forum on December 29, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

2020’s tests seem to have come down a bit with only 2425 tests being done till Q3. However, that could have been due to the coronavirus pandemic and how the UFC stopped its events for a couple of months.

USADA and UFC also allow their stars an adjudication process in case a result is found positive. This allows the stars to go through the proceedings and possibly confirm that some drugs were taken unintentionally and thus be cleared.

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