USADA Confirms Talks with Professional Fighters League

Rob WIlkinson and Thiago Santos, 2023 PFL 1
Rob WIlkinson and Thiago Santos, 2023 PFL 1 Credit: PFL

After a multitude of failed drug tests stemming from their three-event stint in Las Vegas earlier this year, it’s clear that the Professional Fighters League is looking to clean up doping in the organization.

Nine fighters in total failed drug tests administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission between April 1, April 7, and April 15, where PFL 1, 2, and 3 were held at The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas. Among them, former PFL heavyweight champ Bruno Cappelozza and light heavyweight free agent singing Thiago Santos, a former UFC title challenger.

Additionally, Alejandro Flores, Krzysztof Jotko, Rizvan Kuniev, Mohammad Fakreddine, Cezar Ferreira, Will Fleury and Daniel Torres all failed in-competition drug tests.

In the wake of those failed tests, a statement released by the PFL stated that they were in talks with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to bring in additional drug testing. On Friday, USADA confirmed to Cageside Press that this was the case, and that the organization was hoping to announce a new anti-doping program for the league.

“We can confirm as previously released by PFL that we are in discussions with PFL and are hoping to announce a new anti-doping program for PFL to have a gold standard program to ensure clean sport and to protect its athletes,” USADA officials stated.

No details are available regarding what a testing program for the PFL would look like. USADA, however, is a signatory to WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and adheres to their banned substance list.

The organization oversees and enforces the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy.

The need for enhanced drug testing in the PFL is likely being driven by more than just a batch of failed drug tests. With the signing of Jake Paul and Francis Ngnannou and the league signalling their intent to enter the Pay-Per-View market, the money on the line is suddenly more than ever before — especially with “The Predator” in particular reportedly securing $2 million USD for his next opponent.