USADA Launches “25x” Program to Recognize UFC Athletes Reaching Clean Test Milestone

Holly Holm UFC
Holly Holm Credit: Dave Mandel/

Conor McGregor, Holly Holm, and Daniel Cormier are among the first UFC athletes honored as part of USADA’s 25x recognition program for clean athletes.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Wednesday via press release the launch of a new athlete recognition program for clean UFC fighters. Called ’25x’ the program will honor those reaching the milestone of twenty-five consecutive negative drug tests under the UFC’s Anti-Doping program, which USADA oversees. In conjunction with the announcement, the first nineteen fighters have also been announced.

Fighters reaching the milestone will receive a #followmylead t-shirt with the slogan “Train Clean. Fight Clean.”

The timing of the 25x announcement, coincidentally, follows an investigation by USADA in conjunction with Brazilian authorities into a pair of compounding pharmacies whose contaminated products resulted in positive drug tests for a trio of UFC Fighters. Junior Dos Santos, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Little Nog), and Marcos Rogerio de Lima were victims of contaminated supplements prepared at the pharmacies, who were not named by USADA. However, despite finding the fighters innocent of intentionally taking performance enhancing drugs, all three fighters were handed six month suspensions retroactively, and their positive drug tests stand, eliminating them from 25x recognition, at least for now.

“The initial 19 UFC athletes to be recognized for 25 clean tests under the UFC / USADA Anti-Doping Program are a virtual who’s who of UFC’s roster,” UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky was quoted as saying in Wednesday’s press release. “These athletes are not only role models for clean sport within UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts, but for all professional sports. We are proud to honor the leadership, compliance and commitment to clean sport this group of athletes have displayed over the last three years, as well as the efforts that all UFC athletes put forth to helping make the Octagon clean and safe.”

USADA’s list of the first nineteen honorees is as follows (number of times tested in parentheses): UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (35), UFC women’s featherweight champion Cristiane Justino (33), former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (32), former UFC light heavyweight champion and current UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort (32), UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (30), former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (30), UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (28), former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (27), UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw (27), former UFC featherweight and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor (27), UFC lightweight Edson Barboza (27), former two-time UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (27), former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum (27), former UFC lightweight champion and current UFC featherweight Frankie Edgar (27), UFC women’s strawweight Tecia Torres (26), UFC welterweight Stephen Thompson (25), UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (25), UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier (25) and former UFC welterweight champion and current UFC middleweight Johny Hendricks (25).

New fighters meeting the milestone will be announced each month.