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UFC

Have there been UFC fighters who ran away from USADA drug testing?

The UFC doesn’t joke around when it comes to drug testing. That’s why there have been cases where fighters evaded/ran away from USADA tests. Who are they?

The UFC doesn’t joke around when it comes to drug testing. That’s why there have been cases where fighters evaded/ran away from USADA tests. Who are they?
Suhaimi AbdullahGetty Images

When we talk about MMA, one of the first questions that often come up is whether these fighters are clean. And while watching two fighters go berserk in a ring could be entertaining for some, one can’t help but wonder if any, or all, of these fighters take illegal supplements or steroids that help their bodies look and perform the way they do.

Rather than having our readers wonder, too, we’ve answered that question for you in profound detail right here. If you’re not in the mood to skim through that, to sum it up for you, the answer is yes. Plenty of MMA fighters take testosterone and/or steroids to enhance their performance and build up muscle strength.

However, that doesn’t mean that the UFC, which is the institution that organizes MMA fights, is slacking when it comes to drug testing. In fact, the UFC has actually been cooperating with USADA, the biggest anti-doping agency, since 2015, where all UFC fighters get tested several times a year for Performance-Enhancing Drugs(PEDs) in and off competition.

And since we’ve already compiled a list of the most famous UFC fighters who tested positive for steroids over the years, we are here to bring you a list of fighters who ran away from USADA drug tests.

Are there any UFC fighters who ran away from getting drug tested?

As there is not enough information on this matter online, it is difficult to confidently claim all fighters who have fled the scene or evaded getting drug tested. However, based on our research, there’s been at least two players in UFC history who have tried to avoid or escape USADA drug testing: Wanderlei Silva and Nick Diaz.

In 2014, Brazilian-American Silva fled a random drug test ahead of his bout against Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 and later admitted he had run away from the scene because he was taking diuretics. The former Pride Middleweight Champion ended up getting a three year suspension from the competition after initially being handed a lifetime ban and a $70,000 fine by the commission. The reason why the ban was lifted in 2015 was because a Nevada judge found the punishment to be “arbitrary, capricious and not supported by substantial evidence.”

Fan-favorite Nick Diaz, on the other hand, had a different scenario happen in 2015. The American who got tested three times, was found negative twice, but did not get lucky with the third test. Marijuana metabolites were detected in his system through the only out-of-competition test that was from a random workplace lab, and not an Anti-Doping Agency. A lot of question marks were raised about the ethics of doping agencies at the time.

Diaz was handed a five-year suspension in addition to a $165,000 penalty after testing positive for marijuana post fighting Anderson Silva. Silva, however, had also failed a drug test for the fight having had anabolic steroids in his system, and only received a one-year suspension.

Who is the most drug-tested UFC fighter?

Even though many might think UFC middleweight bruiser Misha Cirkunov, who was tested 27 times in his career, was the most drug-tested UFC fighter out there, they are wrong. Someone else surpasses that number. That would be Jon Jones.

The American born in 1987, who was widely considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, was tested a whopping 42 times by three separate entities in 2019. That’s reportedly the most of any athlete in one sport in a calendar year, according to UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, Jeff Novitksy:

Jones received a 15-month suspension in 2017 after testing positive for an anabolic steroid (Turinbol). He had previously been banned for a year by USADA for two banned substances, including cocaine, before his UFC 200 bout with Daniel Cormier.

Related: The most famous UFC fighters who tested positive for steroids

How does the USADA test for PED in the UFC?

The USADA testing protocol starts as soon as the fighter signs with the UFC. Once the fighter becomes a part of the promotion, he enters the testing pool immediately. This means that USADA can start collecting urine and blood samples to test the fighter in and out of competition. UFC fighters who refuse to get tested could receive long suspensions or be banned for life, like in Silva’s case originally.