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UFC Athlete Health and Performance

UFC ANTI-DOPING POLICY:

UFC has the most comprehensive anti-doping policy in professional sports. The policy is administered by an independent partner, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) – the most reputable drug-testing and anti-doping agency in the US.

  • All UFC athletes are enrolled
  • It is a very transparent and accessible policy, with all information available at ufc.usada.org

The highlights of the policy will include year-round, unannounced drug testing of all UFC athletes, increased sanctions for positive tests, fairness and due process including an appeal option for UFC athletes and the administration of the policy by an independent third-party organization.

USADA determines who is tested, as well as when and where. The sanctions for a positive test are directed by the UFC policy.

Our goal at UFC following the development and implementation of the policy, is to create a level playing field that all UFC athletes can trust and embrace, and as a result, help foster the short- and long-term health of all UFC athletes and our sport.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVE
This program is a central part of UFC’s expanded efforts to protect the health and safety of its athletes, and also to protect their right to compete on a level playing field. UFC’s goal is for this program to be the best anti-doping program in professional sports.

CLEVELAND CLINIC LOU RUVO CENTER FOR BRAIN HEALTH – PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS BRAIN HEALTH STUDY:

UFC is proud to partner with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health on the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study, a landmark research project on how combat sports impact the brain. UFC will reinvest and continue to invest in this project over the long term.  

It is critical that UFC understands the impact of combat sports on brain health so that we can create a safe environment for our athletes. In 2016, UFC committed to a five-year term (up from two years) and made a financial contribution of $1 million.

The study focuses on developing methods to detect the earliest and most subtle signs of brain injury in active and retired professional boxers and MMA fighters. Researchers hope this may lead to being able to identify who is more likely to develop chronic neurological disorders.

The study currently has 600 participants (approximately 500 active fighters: 60 percent MMA/40 percent boxers, 50 retired fighters and 50 controls who have not had head trauma).

ANTICIPATED ANALYSES OF THE CLEVELAND CLINIC STUDY

If any of the MRI findings, computerized testing or blood markers can accurately track accumulating brain injury over time or if they can identify those fighters who are declining in their clinical performance (cognitive or behavioral). (Cleveland Clinic has results from year one but would like to see what happens over years 4-5.)

There are also plans to compare the findings to those obtained from retired football players and military veterans to determine if there are similarities between head trauma in the three groups.

Cleveland Clinic will be finishing up their study with PET tau imaging, which is a new imaging technique that may indicate who is developing CTE.

UFC PERFORMANCE INSTITUTE:

The UFC Performance Institute is the world’s first mixed martial arts multi-disciplinary research, innovation and performance center. This state-of-the-art 30,000 square-foot MMA facility, which opened in May 2017, provides benefits and services to all athletes competing under the UFC banner.

With a multi-million-dollar annual operating charge, the institute is equipped with a full-time staff of experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, nutrition and physical therapy, and has a designed focus to provide athletes with world class performance optimization at no cost.