https://www.bloodyelbow.com/2017/12...et-exemptions-from-drug-testing-peds-steroids It is a LONG article & I don't know the rules of posting a complete article on here. I will put it in a SPOILER & if a mod wants to delete it - its cool PS ... our own @dimspace is quoted - good stuff UFC-USADA loophole could be letting chosen athletes avoid testing in secret Spoiler: ARTICLE Dana White recently claimed that Ronda Rousey isn’t retired, and that “USADA is still popping up at her house testing her, but she refuses to retire.” USADA maintains a database of all tests conducted, but according to this database, Rousey hasn’t been tested at all in 2017. Rousey was last tested in the fourth quarter of 2016 according to the list. Her last fight was a losing effort to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 on December 30th, 2016. Since it’s theoretically possible that Rousey has been in the registered testing pool (RTP) this entire time, but hasn’t been tested, I decided to try to find out exactly what was happening. During that process, I discovered something disconcerting: There is a loophole in the UFC’s anti-doping policy that allows them to secretly exempt athletes from testing if they so choose. Exemptions and secrecy Under the WADA code, athletes returning from retirement have to undergo testing for six months. WADA may give a waiver after consulting the relevant national anti-doping organization and sport federation. Under the UFC’s anti-doping policy, the UFC gives the waiver. I wrote about that here. That wouldn’t be a big deal if we knew which athletes had retired. If an athlete suspiciously retired and un-retired, skipping the testing pool whenever they didn’t have a fight, we would notice, right? Wrong. It turns out the UFC and USADA can, and do, hide that information. There is no way for anyone to see who is and is not part of the registered testing pool at any time. USADA cannot or will not confirm which athletes are part of the pool, and the UFC, thus far, haven’t even responded to questions about it. We have a situation where we can’t find out who is and isn’t in the testing pool, and the UFC president appears to be making incorrect statements about who is and isn’t being tested to the media. This means, in theory, even if an athlete publicly says they are retired, they might not be. And even if Dana White says they aren’t retired, they might officially be retired as far as USADA is concerned. We would have no way of verifying that information, and Dana has a habit of being less than truthful when it comes to public statements. Since the names of the athletes in the pool are a secret, and the UFC has the final decision on granting exemptions to retired athletes, there’s nothing stopping the UFC from letting a chosen athlete “retire” to avoid testing, lying to the press about them being retired, then allowing them to “un-retire” just before a fight to avoid months of testing. Their opponent, the media, and the public would have no way of knowing. That’s not to say this is happening, but the system, as it operates now, could allow it to happen. Have athletes been exempted before? Normally an athlete has to be in the testing pool for six months if they “un-retire.” In the past this clause was four months. It was part of this four-month testing period that Brock Lesnar skipped when he signed to fight at UFC 200. Instead of being tested for the 16 weeks retired athletes were supposed to under the anti-doping policy, he was tested for around five weeks. It subsequently emerged that Brock Lesnar provided an out-of-competition sample prior to UFC 200 which was positive for the banned substance clomiphene. The result of the test wasn’t returned until after his UFC 200 bout. The decision to exempt Lesnar was controversial at the time, even before he tested positive for a banned substance. It’s possible other athletes have had similar exemptions without the public ever becoming aware of it. According to data provided by @dimspace, there are around 10 athletes (out of around 600), who haven’t been tested at all in 2017, but may have been under contract for at least the past year. USADA’s athlete test history page confirms these athletes haven’t been tested in 2017. The athletes seem to still be under UFC contract—at least there have been no announcements that they have been released, and they are still on the UFC’s roster page—but they haven’t been tested in 2017. It’s hard to be sure if they’re still in the registered testing pool, because USADA refuses to say who is actually in the pool. I sent a request to USADA asking which of these athletes are currently in the registered testing pool, but USADA is unable or unwilling to divulge that information. Why is this an issue? If you’re a fighter who accepts a bout against someone who hasn’t been tested in a year, it’s important to know if your opponent thought they could be tested at any time, or if they knew for a fact they wouldn’t be tested. USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a recent interview that even a short period in which a fighter knew they wouldn’t be tested would let athletes cheat. Here’s what Mr. Tygart said about having a two or three weekperiod of no testing, “That’s not an effective program. Someone can go and cheat and we would never know about it.” If knowing you wouldn’t be tested for three weeks makes the program ineffective, what would knowing you can’t be tested for three months accomplish? What about a year? This is why it’s important for athletes to know if their opponent just got a pass. Right now, they don’t. In fact, USADA actively refuses to disclose the information that would let them know. The USADA site has this to say about transparency, “Instead of wondering if their competitors or role models are being tested, people can track testing data and see how USADA is working to uphold clean sport.” There is an argument to be made that USADA shouldn’t be publishing information that could “out” a retired athlete, but the anti-doping organization’s site rightly notes that knowing when your opponent was tested is an important part of a transparent anti-doping program. That’s why the athlete test history exists. Does an athlete’s right to know their opponent had a time period when they were “retired” and could dope without being tested outweigh the right of an athlete to retire without telling anyone? That’s a judgement call. The UFC doesn’t have a great history when it comes to properly handling fighter exemptions. Recall that ahead of UFC 152, Vitor Belfort was given a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone by the UFC. When tested, Belfort’s free testosterone came back high. Belfort’s opponent was never informed, and the information only came out thanks to an email being circulated to people it shouldn’t have been sent to. Belfort was allowed to compete. The UFC around that time said they used the Nevada athletic commission’s standards for TUEs. Belfort’s total testosterone came back at over 1,000 ng/dL. NSAC executive director Keith Kizer stated that under Nevada rules, testosterone replacement therapy should be 600-700ng/dL at best. By hiring USADA to implement their anti-doping policy, the UFC helped create a firewall between themselves and decisions around things like TUEs, which the UFC has been criticized over in the past. The truth is, there probably isn’t a better option than USADA out there to run an independent drug testing program, but that’s not to say it couldn’t be improved. When the UFC has had the ability to secretly give fighters passes and cover up results in the past, the evidence suggests they have, though the UFC denies there was a “cover-up”. You can argue about whether or not that would happen today, but the optics of the situation means transparency should be favored over opacity to avoid even the impression of favoritism or malfeasance. USADA could make this situation more transparent by listing which fighters are part of the registered testing pool and updating that list each week. They currently have a list of which fighters have been tested which they update each week, so this shouldn’t be a difficult task. Instead, USADA refuses to confirm which fighters are part of the registered testing pool at any point. Whether deliberate or not, this opacity means fighters can never be sure if their opponent has actually been part of the registered testing pool prior to them actually being tested. The UFC has been asked for comment on this story and we will update the post with their response.