The Anti-Doping Program was launched in back June of 2015. On June 3, the UFC announced they would join partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
On September 28, 2018, it was reported that the UFC and USADA would grant the fighters some time to go through an adjudication process before announcements are made with the results of the potential doping violation. This happened after several cases of fighters such as Anderson Silva, Junior Dos Santos, Josh Barnett and many more were flagged, but cleared from punishment after they proved it was unintentional use.
Since the birth of USADA, many fighters have had their physiques decline. The program has been very good for the sport and the UFC is making sure that no athlete has advantages over others. Yet, controversy remains for fighters looking for a way around the rules, or those who are not being educated on the supplements they take. Many fighters seem to think too many supplements are on the ban list, however, in the eyes of others, if you need to take anything to help you with testosterone then you should not be competing.
There also has been controversy with fighters feeling that USADA favors fighters. They can also travel around the world, pop up at birthday parties, show up at 2am or 8pm and that doesn’t sit well with many athletes. If you’re not cheating, you shouldn’t have an issue with, when, or where they come. In 2016, Jon Jones was flagged for a potential violation of a banned steroid metabolite. After serving his suspension, the Nevada State Athletic Commission concluded Jones was not guilty and found that he did not intentionally ingest the banned substance. On December 25, a few days before his fight with Alexander Gustafsson, Jones was flagged again and was still granted the chance to fight because what they found in his system was a picogram of the substance. With new science, they were able to tell that what was in his system, was the same substance from his 2017 test.
The controversy lies with USADA. We may never know the truth behind Jones’ flagged substance, however we do know that USADA is going to be around for a while and has indeed made the sport cleaner. It looks like 2019 will be filled with USADA attempting to re-earn the trust of the UFC roster after the UFC 232 fiasco.