USADA Testing In The UFC

The internet is a wonderful thing. Any random tidbit of information you wish to find is basically available to anyone with a computer and some spare time. Earlier today, I was turned on to a rather interesting web tool. The USADA, which took over UFC drug testing in mid 2015, has a list of all athletes tested in a total of 85 sporting leagues, promotions, or competitions. While sports such as bocce or Paralympic blind bowling may not be as notable as professional boxing or football, the USADA does help conduct drug testing for all sports listed.

But in this case, the UFC will be the focus of the USASA testing protocol. Before this piece continues however, this disclaimer, which can be found on the USADA search area of their web page, must be taken into consideration:

This search includes all in- and out-of-competition test sessions on U.S. athletes conducted under USADA’s Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Parapan American movements testing program. This search will also include test sessions conducted on U.S. athletes training internationally by other testing entities when the request for the test session was made by USADA.

This search WILL NOT yield results conducted on U.S. athletes by other testing entities, if the test session was not requested or initiated by USADA. Test sessions conducted by USADA at the request of other sport organizations, events, International Federations, or individuals are also not included (with the exception of the sports of motocross, professional boxing, and UFC mixed martial arts which can be found in the athlete test history). Because of these exclusions, the total numbers listed below are less than the numbers reported as USADA’s total testing numbers located here.. This resource is intended to be used to determine the number of times USADA has organized a test on an individual athlete and is not an accurate representation of USADA’s total testing numbers or the total number of anti-doping tests an athlete will undergo by other and all testing and sport organizations.

Altogether, the UFC rankings currently ranks 160 fighters, 15 in each division plus the champion. While some have competed less than others since the USADA protocol came into place, generally speaking, if you are an active UFC fighter, you should have been tested by the USADA at least once since July of 2015. Some may have more than others obviously, but in the end, in and out of competition testing was initiated to weed out any potential drug use within the promotion. So do all of these 160 fighters stack up evenly? Let’s take a look and see, beginning with Heavyweight:

Heavyweight:                                                       Light Heavyweight:

Fabricio Werdum – 4 tests                                       Daniel Cormier – 4 tests

Cain Velasquez – 2 tests                                           Jon Jones – 2 tests

Stipe Miocic – 3 tests                                                 Anthony Johnson – 6 tests

Alistair Overeem – 4 tests                                        Alexander Gustafsson – 2 tests

Andre Arlovski – 4 tests                                            Ryan Bader – 6 tests

Junior dos Santos – 5 tests                                      Glover Teixeira – 4 tests

Travis Browne – 3 tests                                            Ovince Saint Preux – 0 tests

Ben Rothwell – 2 tests                                              Rashad Evans – 2 tests

Josh Barnett – 3 tests                                               Mauricio Rua – 0 tests

Mark Hunt – 3 tests                                                  Jimi Manuwa – 3 tests

Frank Mir – 0 tests                                                    Rampage Jackson – 0 tests

Roy Nelson – 1 test                                                   Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – 0 tests

Jared Rosholt – 2 tests                                            Patrick Cummins – 3 tests

Antonio Silva – 7 tests                                             Corey Anderson – 1 test

Matt Mitrione – 2 tests                                            Rafael Cavalcante – o tests

Alexey Oliynyk – 0 tests                                           Gian Villante – o tests

Middleweight:                                                    Welterweight:

Luke Rockhold – 6 tests                                          Robbie Lawler – 5 tests

Chris Weidman – 4 tests                                         Rory MacDonald – 0 tests

Yoel Romero – 6 tests                                              Tyron Woodley – 1 test

Jacare Souza – 5 tests                                              Johny Hendricks – 2 tests

Vitor Belfort – 6 tests                                               Carlos Condit – 3 tests

Lyoto Machida – 0 tests                                          Demain Maia – 3 tests

Tim Kennedy – 0 tests                                             Matt Brown – 0 tests

Michael Bisping – 2 tests                                        Dong Hyun Kim – 1 test

Robert Whittaker – 2 tests                                     Neil Magny – 3 tests

Gegard Mousasi – 1 test                                          Stephen Thompson – 3 tests

Thales Leites – 0 tests                                             Tarec Saffiedine – 0 tests

Urijah Hall – 3 tests                                                 Rick Story – o tests

Derek Brunson – 0 tests                                         Kelvin Gastelum – 3 tests

Dan Henderson – 7 tests                                        Benson Henderson – 0 tests

Roan Carneiro – 1 test                                            Thiago Alves – 5 tests

CB Dollaway – 0 tests                                             Gunnar Nelson – 2 tests

Lightweight:                                                       Featherweight:

Rafael dos Anjos – 6 tests                                       Conor McGregor – 8 tests

Anthony Pettis – 3 tests                                          Jose Aldo – 8 tests

Khabib Nurmagomedov – 0 tests                         Frankie Edgar – 3 tests

Donald Cerrone – 5 tests                                        Chad Mendes – 3 tests

Eddie Alvarez – 4 tests                                            Max Holloway – 1 test

Tony Ferguson – 2 tests                                         Ricardo Lamas – 1 test

Michael Johnson – 4 tests                                     Cub Swanson – 0 tests

Nate Diaz – 2 tests                                                  Charles Oliveira – 1 tests

Beneil Dariush – 1 test                                           Dennis Bermudez – 0 tests

Edson Barboza – 3 tests                                        Jeremy Stephens – 0 tests

Al Iaquinta – 0 tests                                               Hacran Dias – 0 tests

Bobby Green – 0 tests                                            Darren Elkins – 0 tests

Dustin Poirier – 5 tests                                          Tatsuya Kawajiri – o tests

Michael Chiesa – 0 tests                                        Clay Guida – 2 tests

Benson Henderson – 0 tests                                 Nik Lentz – 1 test

Evan Dunham – 0 tests                                          Brian Ortega – 2 tests

Bantamweight:                                                   Flyweight:

TJ Dillashaw – 3 tests                                             Demetrious Johnson – 1 test

Dominick Cruz – 3 tests                                         Joseph Benavidez – 1 test

Renan Barao – 0 tests                                             John Dodson – 1 test

Urijah Faber – 2 tests                                             Henry Cejudo – 2 tests

Raphael Assuncao – 0 tests                                   Ian McCall – 0 tests

Aljamain Sterling – 1 test                                       Jussier Formiga – 1 test

Michael McDonald – 0 tests                                  Kyoji Horiguchi – 2 tests

Thomas Almeida – 0 tests                                      John Moraga – 0 tests

Bryan Caraway – 0 tests                                         Zach Makovsky – 0 tests

Takeya Mizugaki – 1 test                                        Dustin Ortiz – 0 tests

Johnny Eduardo – 1 test                                        Ali Bagautiniov – 3 tests

John Lineker – 0 tests                                            Ray Borg – 0 tests

Eddie Wineland – 0 tests                                       Wilson Reis – 0 tests

Frankie Saenz – 1 test                                             Louis Smolka – 1 test

Francisco Rivera – 0 tests                                      Chris Cariaso – 0 tests

Iuri Alcantara – 0 tests                                           Sergio Pettis – 0 tests

Women’s Bantamweight:                             Women’s Strawweight:

Holly Holm – 7 tests                                               Joanna Jedrzejczyk – 3 tests

Ronda Rousey – 8 tests                                         Claudia Gadelha – 2 tests

Miesha Tate – 0 tests                                             Carla Esparza – 0 tests

Cat Zingano – 0 tests                                             Rose Namajunas – 0 tests

Amanda Nunes – 1 test                                          Tecia Torres – 2 tests

Julianna Pena – 1 test                                            Jessica Penne – 0 tests

Sara McMann – 0 tests                                          Valerie Letourneau – 0 tests

Jessica Eye – 5 tests                                                Paige VanZant – 3 tests

Bethe Correia – 4 tests                                           Joanne Calderwood – 1 test

Liz Carmouche – 0 tests                                         Maryna Moroz – 0 tests

Sarah Kaufman – 0 tests                                        Michelle Waterson – 1 test

Valentina Shevchenko – 0 tests                           Randa Markos – 0 tests

Marion Reneau – 0 tests                                       Karolina Kowalkiewicz – 0 tests

Raquel Pennington – 0 tests                                Jessica Aguilar – 0 tests

Germaine de Randamie – 0 tests                        Juliana Lima – 0 tests

Jessica Andrade – 0 tests                                      Felice Herrig – 0 tests


Nick Diaz – 0 tests

Anderson Silva – 2 tests

Go back to early June of 2015 now. When the USADA and the UFC announced the partnership for what was called “..the most comprehensive, effective, best program in all of professional sport” by Jeff Novitzy, it was said that a minimum of 2750 test would be administered to UFC athletes, or 5 possible tests per fighter. The policies came into effect on July 1, 2015, with UFC 189 as the first event under these new guidelines. This night, a total of 22 men entered the Octagon, and a total of 22 test from this event would be expected. Breaking down the main card, we see:

Conor McGregor (8 tests) vs. Chad Mendes (3 tests)

Robbie Lawler (5 tests) vs. Rory MacDonald (0 tests)

Jeremy Stephens (0 tests) vs. Dennis Bermudez (0 tests)

Gunnar Nelson (2 tests) vs. Brandon Thatch (0 tests)

Thomas Almeida (0 tests) vs. Brad Pickett (0 tests)

Out of the 10 fighters competing this night, 6 have never been subject to USADA testing, information gathered directly from the USADA website. The other 4, while having been tested, were not necessarily tested this evening either, but have shown to have been tested under the new policies.

Now this is not to say these men have never been tested under the USADA or UFC, but if 4 of the 10 have information stating they have been tested, it would be safe to assume that had the others, we would see it listed. In fact, of the fighters listed above, 67 have no testing information available on the USADA website at all. It is possible that some information has not yet been entered, but look at a recent bout between Rose Namajunas and Paige VanZant.

Both ladies have competed twice since the USADA entered the fray, Van Zant in September and December, Namajunas in October and December. Despite this, VanZant is listed as having 3 USADA tests conducted, while Namajunas is listed as having zero. And even if some will say info from October has yet to be included in these lists, it should be noted that the above list is compiled from half of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. It is hard to believe that fighters tested in 2016 would be listed but others from nearly 3 months ago would not be.

Of the fighters listed above, the ones which have been tested the most are McGregor (8), Aldo (8), Rousey (8), Holm (7), Dan Henderson (7), dos Anjos (6), and Rockhold (6). Fighters such as Antonio Silva, with 7 tests, are understandable. Given fighters pasts with drugs and failures of previous tests, they should be focused on a touch more, but how a fighter such as Rockhold and Ryan Bader, also with 6 tests, have more than a fighter such as Rafael Cavalcante, with 0 despite failing a test with Strikeforce. You have title contenders with zero recorded USADA tests, and some champions with only 1, and then we see other champions and contenders with ridiculous amounts of testing.

Even the train of thought that these are tests only for bouts, and none are out of competition, is hard to swallow based on the fact that Henry Cejudo competed only once in the USADA era, against Jussier Formiga, yet had 2 official tests listed, while Formiga has only one. Even Jon Jones, who has yet to compete in the USADA era, has 2 tests. As listed in the above quote from the USADA website:

Test sessions conducted by USADA at the request of other sport organizations, events, International Federations, or individuals are also not included (with the exception of the sports of motocross, professional boxing, and UFC mixed martial arts which can be found in the athlete test history).

So what does this all mean? Quite honestly, it can show and prove a lot of things. One, the UFC is obviously testing fighters as promised. Two, out of competition is being used, which is always a plus. But third, and maybe most alarming, is that some fighters have yet to be officially tested at all under these guidelines. If you take Novitky’s numbers at all to heart, then at this point, all 160 fighters above should have been tested around 2.5 times at this point. The fact that any show zero next to their name, despite having competed at some point, is a major issue that will need to be addressed. And this is not a case of assuming who was and who wasn’t tested, these are factual numbers obtained from the USADA themselves.

It is hard to argue with any number that is provided to the public, more so when the numbers are damaging to the mission of collection them in the first place.

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Jasyn Zangari

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