NSAC considering relaxing doping thresholds for MMA and the UFC

It looks like there might be more changes coming to UFC and MMA drug testing, at least from the NSAC.

By: Nate Wilcox | 4 weeks ago
NSAC considering relaxing doping thresholds for MMA and the UFC
The tools of the PED trade. | Oleksandr Latkun / imagebroker, IMAGO

Endeavor-era UFC fans probably don’t remember, but the NSAC and UFC haven’t always been so strict about drug testing. Many of the fans who got outraged a few months back when Darrius Flowers and Kyler Phillips were suspended for ostarine probably don’t remember the TRT scandal of 2014.

Yea yea, ostarine is barely a performance enhancer AND Sean O’Malley received a noticeably lighter sanction for the same substance just a year or so earlier but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.

Rather I’m saying fans who’ve gotten used to complaining about overzealous drug testing in the UFC might have to adjust their outlooks as we enter the post-USADA era of the UFC.

NSAC looking to raise positive test thresholds for several common PEDs for UFC and MMA competitors

Along with tighter Therapeutic Use Exemptions, the USADA era ushered in a far more restrictive time for performance-enhancing substances in the UFC.

Maybe it’s just coincidence, but with recent news that the UFC will be leaving their long time drug testing partner behind it also appears that the Nevada State Athletic commission is looking to bring a bit more lenience to its own stance on positive drug tests.

Erik Magraken of CombatSportsLaw.com highlighted an upcoming NSAC meeting agenda item in a post on Twitter.

Sure there’s potential for sensible reforms given the high amount of tainted supplements athletes encounter in our grossly underregulated free market, but how these changes should also raise alarms for fans and athletes who recognize that less oversight under the new program will undoubtedly invite abuse.

Jiri Prochazka highlights USADA issues

Jiri Prochazka is fighting Alex Pereira at UFC 295 tomorrow for the LHW title.

Not that long ago, however, Prochazka held the inglorious honor of becoming one of the most tested athletes in USADA history, with 64 drug tests in 2022 alone. In a recent interview the former champion discussed how USADA’s aggressive policies affected him.

“In the Czech Republic, yes [almost always the same USADA people],” Prochazka said (transcript via MMA Mania). “Yeah, I know them. One guy and one woman. Yeah [they’re nice].

“Sometimes it was like I woke up and [gasps] ‘Oh —, today they will come, today they will come!” he continued. “I need to be prepared for that. Because it was not good sleeping. It was not good sleeping, many times per week [makes blood drawing motion on arm] from injections, taking blood. Here in U.S. they just do, like, thumb, take the little blood, like a drop of it. But [in Czech] they took a lot of blood. Like one bottle of blood.”

It’s not just Jiri Prochazka either

UFC fighter Paulo Costa has been a vocal critic of USADA's PED testing procedures.
Paulo Costa isn’t shy about criticizing USADA | JeffreyxSwinger / USA TODAY Network, IMAGO

Prochazka isn’t the only UFC fighter who will celebrate the end of the USADA era either. Middleweight Paulo Costa has tweeted about some of the ordeals he had to go through under the drug testing agency’s administration. Among the examples Costa gave were agents waking him up in the middle of the night to take blood and urine samples, or haranguing him during practice hours, interrupting his training camps.

“I hate the way Usada (used to) chase me. Sometimes in (a) hard training camp, I often had anxiety before going to sleep because I was woken up at 4 AM to urinate and have my blood drawn. I could only sleep after breaking my diet and (then) I slept three hours later, losing quality of sleep and (the) morning training (session).”

“Once, they came at me four times in (the) same week. I did seven tests that time, in only one week.” Costa concluded in a following tweet.

Costa also polled his followers on X.com about the end of the USADA era and the results speak for themselves.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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