Despite the UFC’s relationship dissolving with USADA, the promotion will continue to work with a third-party drug testing agency in the new year.
UFC EVP and Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell and SVP of Athlete Health & Performance Jeff Novitsky spoke for over an hour to the media to outline their plans post-USADA.
The UFC will be moving on to work with Drug Free Sport International in 2024 once the deal with USADA expires at the end of this year.
Drug Free Sport International works with numerous sports outfits including the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA with the UFC naming George Piro as the administrator for the UFC’s drug testing program.
USADA came on board to work the UFC beginning in 2015 and Campbell said it was a “beneficial relationship” until about two to three years ago.
Campbell was adamant that no one at the UFC said that there would be an exemption made for Conor McGregor’s time in the testing pool before he fought again. The protocol is that a retired fighter must be tested for six months before they can be cleared to compete again – McGregor re-entered the pool this past week.
In USADA’s statement, it said:
The relationship between USADA and UFC became untenable given the statements made by UFC leaders and others questioning USADA’s principled stance that McGregor not be allowed to fight without being in the testing pool for at least six months.
Campbell called it “disgusting” what USADA did to McGregor and used him as a “media vehicle” and could have liability.
Campbell said that he and Novitsky alerted Travis Tygart of USADA on Monday they would not be continuing with their relationship past the expiration of their current deal and said that Tygart went “crazy”.
The testing will continue through the end of the year with USADA but noted it would be a “complicated relationship” for the remainder of the year.