PFL Joins Forces with USADA to Enhance Anti-Doping Measures After Numerous Testing Setbacks
PFL is taking significant steps to bolster its efforts in drug testing.
In the wake of multiple failed tests that plagued its 2023 season, PFL has officially declared a partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) through a memo sent on Tuesday to fighters and teams. The memo, issued by Ray Sefo, the President of Fighter Operations at PFL, confirms that the partnership will be effective immediately. Furthermore, the memo states that “initial educational sessions” in collaboration with USADA are being planned for all athletes participating in the upcoming 2023 PFL playoffs.
The news was initially reported by ESPN.
In an accompanying FAQ document sent to fighters and teams, PFL outlined its new anti-doping program, which involves “year-round in- and out-of-competition testing.” The program structure is described as “very similar” to the existing partnership between UFC and USADA, with minor adjustments to accommodate the specific format of PFL’s sports season.
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As stated in the FAQ, the use of marijuana is prohibited during competition but will only be considered a violation if employed for performance enhancement purposes.
Unlike UFC fighters, PFL athletes will not be required to provide constant whereabouts updates. However, starting from the PFL Playoffs, all PFL fighters will be subjected to out-of-competition testing and will need to disclose their residence and training locations to both PFL and USADA.
The complete memo that was sent to fighters and teams on Tuesday is provided below.
Dear PFL Fighters,
We are pleased to announce the official launch of the PFL Anti-Doping Program in collaboration with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
USADA currently administers independent anti-doping programs throughout the year for Olympic, Paralympic, and UFC athletes. Now, they will extend their services to PFL athletes as well.
This program is an integral part of PFL’s commitment as an organization that prioritizes its fighters. It aims to ensure a safe, fair playing field and uphold the integrity of the sport.
The program will commence immediately, and initial educational sessions with USADA have been scheduled for participants in the upcoming Playoffs. Subsequent educational sessions will be arranged for other fighters.
We strongly encourage each fighter to have their coach, manager, or another key support person attend these educational sessions.
The PFL Fighter Ops Team will provide further details shortly. Meanwhile, you can find more information about the program in the attached FAQs and at http://PFL.USADA.org.
President of Fighter Operations
PFL’s collaboration with USADA follows a series of devastating drug-testing failures that resulted in the removal of ten fighters from the promotion’s 2023 season. Among those affected were Rob Wilkinson, the 2022 light heavyweight champion, Bruno Cappelozza, the 2021 heavyweight champion, Thiago Santos, a former UFC title contender, and Krzystof Jotko, a former UFC fighter.
“The PFL values its fighters above all else, and it is crucial for our organization to establish a secure, fair playing field for all athletes,” the promotion stated on Tuesday. “Our athletes must have confidence that they can compete at the highest levels of the sport, knowing that their skills will be the ultimate differentiator every time they step into the SmartCage.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about anti-doping program
What prompted PFL to partner with USADA for an anti-doping program?
PFL decided to collaborate with USADA after experiencing a series of failed drug tests during the 2023 season. This partnership aims to enhance their drug-testing efforts and ensure a fair playing field for all athletes.
What does the partnership with USADA entail for PFL fighters?
The partnership involves year-round in- and out-of-competition drug testing, similar to the UFC’s collaboration with USADA. However, there are minor adjustments to account for PFL’s sport season format.
Is marijuana use allowed for PFL fighters?
Marijuana is prohibited during competition. However, it will only be flagged as a violation if used for performance enhancement.
Will PFL fighters be required to provide whereabouts updates like UFC fighters?
No, PFL fighters will not be required to provide constant whereabouts updates. However, starting from the PFL Playoffs, they will be subject to out-of-competition testing and must provide their residence and training locations to PFL and USADA.
How will PFL educate fighters about the new anti-doping program?
Initial educational sessions with USADA are scheduled for participants in the upcoming 2023 PFL playoffs. Additional educational sessions will be arranged for other fighters. PFL strongly encourages fighters to have their coaches, managers, or key support persons attend these sessions.
Where can fighters find more information about the PFL Anti-Doping Program?
Fighters can find more information about the program in the attached FAQs and at http://PFL.USADA.org. Further details will also be provided by the PFL Fighter Ops Team.
More about anti-doping program
- ESPN: PFL partners with USADA for new anti-doping program
- PFL Official Website: PFL Anti-Doping Program