USADA to continue random testing of UFC fighters despite coronavirus pandemic

Jeff Novitzky, UFC 232, USADA, marijuana
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The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has announced that they will continue random drug testing on UFC fighters despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The sports world has been turned upside down in the last week or so as a direct result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, with multiple leagues and organizations being forced to cancel or postpone events for the foreseeable future.

However, in a statement issued by USADA yesterday, it doesn’t appear as if that’s going to stop them from testing athletes at this moment in time.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart issued the following statement via the organization’s YouTube channel.

“We’re making decisions about our current testing programs,” he said. “We are being conservative and cautiously rational as we put your health and wellbeing, and that of our own team, including our doping control officers, as the highest priority. I also really appreciate talking and hearing from a number of you who have expressed your expectations that testing continue as long as it continues to be safe and possible.

“In line with these interests, we are taking steps to ensure the continuation of our essential mission in a safe and healthy way. Starting immediately, testing done by USADA will be focused only upon mission critical testing of those in sports still competing, and as needed, for those preparing for the Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games.”

Tygart went on to discuss some of the specifics regarding how USADA testing will take place.

“Since our inception in 2000, our urine and blood collection protocols have always been conducted in a way that ensures the utmost safety and health of our athletes and our DCOs,” he said. “We have always anticipated collecting samples from athletes who may be sick or chronic with potentially contagious illnesses. During this time, no USADA DCO who has any sign of sickness or otherwise meets any of the risk criteria identified by the CDC will be collecting samples on our behalf. Additionally our DCOs, where available, will be using personal protective gear which may include masks and gloves during the process.”

Tygart also confirmed that they would be working with WADA and other testing organizations to ensure that other nations can also continue to test, before reiterating to athletes that they must continue to inform USADA of their whereabouts.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/18/2020.