UFC’s New Drug-Testing Measures After USADA Begin On December 31st

December 29, 2023
2 months
UFC's New Drug-Testing Measures After USADA Begin On December 31st

The UFC’s new anti-doping measures will start on December 31st, 2023, following the departure of USADA. 

The organization confirmed it would not renew its contract at the end of the year. USADA’s CEO, Travis Tygart, announced it publicly on October 11th, 2023. That left the UFC with no choice but to find an alternative.

The organization parted ways on bad terms after USADA suggested the UFC showed some resistance towards Conor McGregor’s requirements to enrol in USADA. Under the rules, fighters must submit two negative samples over a six-month period before they can compete. McGregor failed to do that under the timeframe, leaving him no choice but to fight in 2024 instead. 

UFC’s News Testing

The UFC moved on as the search began for a new drug-testing organization. VADA could have been used since it is seen as the gold standard in drug testing. This would follow the same lead that boxing has done. VADA has caught numerous athletes in boxing, most recently Conor Benn’s two failed tests.

Instead, the UFC went ahead with the decision to use Drug Free Sports International. This will be sanctioned by the Combat Sports Anti-Doping, an independent organization headed by President George Piro. With that being said, here are the new rules. 

New Rules

“Beginning on December 31, UFC athletes will be subject to no-notice sample collections by UFC’s new biological sample collection and shipping agency, Drug Free Sport International (DFSI), or one of its contracted affiliates. DFSI a global leader in the anti-doping industry and currently collects biological samples for professional and amateur athletic organizations, including Major League Baseball, the National Football League, FIFA, PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, NCAA, NASCAR, and others.

“DFSI has more than 5,000 collection personnel worldwide. [They] will provide UFC with greater global coverage than it had under the prior program. The unannounced sample collections will take place 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. DFSI will only be the sample collector under the new program and will not have any authority to adjudicate violations.”


“UFC’s goal for the Anti-Doping Policy is to be the best, most effective, and most progressive anti-doping program in all of professional sports. UFC is proud of the advancements we have made with our anti-doping program over the past eight years, and we will continue to maintain an independently administered drug-testing program that ensures all UFC athletes are competing under fair and equal circumstances. With this new iteration of the program, UFC has once again raised the bar for health and safety in combat sports,” Hunter Campbell (UFC chief business offer)

“This latest UFC Anti-Doping Program is the result of our continued efforts to protect the athletes who compete in the Octagon. This new program is the result of years of input. And trial and error taken by UFC, our athletes, and third parties who have assisted UFC in operating the program. The anti-doping policy is a living and breathing document that will continue to evolve. And [it will] adapt when clear science supports changes that can further protect UFC athletes who compete in UFC,” Jeff Novitzky (UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance) 

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