Las Vegas, NV — Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky says USADA is working hard to clean up its app.
One of the main gripes from fighters competing under the UFC’s anti-doping program, which is overseen by USADA, has been regarding whereabouts tracking, which in part is handled by an admittedly “challenging” app. But, Novitzky told Cageside Press during UFC X in Las Vegas, the organization is working on improvements — and in the meantime, there are other avenues for fighters to keep their whereabouts up to date.
“There is an app that at times can be a little bit challenging,” Novitzky admitted, adding that “we gave our fighters other resources as well; there’s a website they can go to, there’s phone numbers, multiple phone numbers. Heck I even tell our fighters ‘if you’re having problems, just shoot me a text or a call, and I can update for you.’ But that’s probably the number one thing we’re working on, to make this less burdensome on the fighters.”
Knowing the whereabouts of athletes is key for any anti-doping program, but at the same time, Novitzky also knows that constantly having to keep USADA abreast of your daily life can get challenging. Still, with an unprecedented 10 letterman jackets representing 50 clean drug tests awarded during International Fight Week, the system has been successful.
“You’ve got to imagine, when these fighters go on vacation with their families, when they go visit family in another state, when they have obligations as a professional athlete, they’re always expected to update where they’re going. That’s difficult for me in my life, and I don’t have anywhere as near as busy a life as a fighter, I’m sure for yours as well,” Novitzky observed. “So what the fans need to realize is, these fighters put in a tremendous amount of hard work to be perfect and to be clean under the program, and to keep their whereabouts updated. So part of this program is giving that back to them and giving them that recognition of how special they really are.”
With several fighters coming up on 75 clean tests, expect additional awards to come. And eventually, for 100 clean tests as well — a major milestone for any athlete.
“I don’t know very many if any professional athletes in any sport that has been tested 100 times, without any advance notice like our athletes are,” Novitzky stated.
Watch our full interview with Jeff Novitzky above.