PFL is taking significant steps to enhance its drug-testing protocols.
After facing numerous instances of failed tests that had a detrimental impact on its 2023 season, PFL has made an official announcement regarding its partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). In a memo circulated to fighters and teams on Tuesday, PFL President of Fighter Operations Ray Sefo shared the news. According to the memo, the partnership with USADA is now in effect, and plans are underway for "initial educational sessions" conducted by USADA for all athletes participating in the upcoming 2023 PFL playoffs.
The news was initially reported by ESPN, highlighting PFL's commitment to strengthening its approach to drug testing.
PFL hires USADA to run its anti-doping program https://t.co/VpsZJvZBDq— Marc Raimondi (@marcraimondi) July 11, 2023
In an attached FAQ sent to fighters and teams, PFL outlined its new drug-testing program as “year-round in- and out-of-competition testing” in a setup “very similar” to the UFC’s partnership with USADA, only “with minor distinctions to account for the PFL’s sport season format.”
According to the FAQ, “marijuana is prohibited in-competition, but will only be flagged as a violation if used for performance enhancement.”
PFL fighters will not be required to file whereabouts updates at all times in the same manner as UFC fighters, however “all PFL fighters starting with the PFL Playoffs will be subject to out-of-competition testing and must provide PFL and USADA with residence and training locations for that purpose.”
The complete memo sent to fighters and teams Tuesday can be read below.
We are proud to announce that today we are formally launching the PFL Anti-Doping Program in partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
USADA conducts year-round, independent anti-doping programs for all Olympic, Paralympic, and UFC athletes, and will now do so for PFL athletes as well.
This program is part of the PFL’s commitment as a fighter first organization to supporting a safe, level playing field and advancing the highest levels of competition and the integrity of the sport.
The program will begin immediately with initial educational sessions being scheduled with USADA this week for participants in the upcoming Playoffs. Educational sessions to explain the program will be scheduled with other fighters thereafter.
It is strongly recommended that each fighter have their coach, manager, or other key support person join the educational sessions.
The PFL Fighter Ops Team will follow up shortly with more details.In the meantime, more information about the program is available in the attached FAQs and at http://PFL.USADA.org.
President of Fighter Operations
PFL's collaboration with USADA follows a series of alarming drug-testing incidents that resulted in the expulsion of ten fighters from the promotion's 2023 season. Among the affected individuals were notable names such as Rob Wilkinson, the reigning light heavyweight champion from 2022, Bruno Cappelozza, the heavyweight champion from 2021, Thiago Santos, a former UFC title challenger, and Krzystof Jotko, a former UFC fighter. These unfortunate occurrences prompted PFL to take immediate action by establishing a partnership with USADA.
“The PFL is a fighter first organization and the company feels strongly about creating a safe, level playing field for all of our athletes,” the promotion wrote on Tuesday. “It is paramount for our athletes to know they can compete at the highest levels of the sport and understand that their skills will be the difference every time they enter the SmartCage.”