UFC 131: Vancouver Commission Announces WADA-Based Anti-Doping Testing Policy

The Vancouver Athletic Commission announced today the implementation of an aggressive, comprehensive anti-doping testing policy that will be employed at UFC 131: Carwin vs. dos Santos.

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UFC 131: Vancouver Athletic Commission Clarifies New Testing Policy

I wanted to get some clarification on this new testing policy being employed by the Vancouver Athletic Commission (VAC) ahead of UFC 131. Jonathan Tweedale, the commissioner, tells me a number of things to note about this new procedure:

1. This new policy is not Canada-wide. Each athletic commission in Canada has their own rules and procedures and Vancouver has independently elected to employ the stated anti-doping policy.

2. This new policy slightly differs from how matters were conducted at UFC 115, the last time the UFC held an event in Vancouver. Previously, a medical director of the commission and his personnel oversaw sample collection, not the CCES. This new anti-doping policy is an upgrade in the comprehensiveness, transparency and management from the previous rules that were in place during the UFC's last visit. Lastly, last year's testing was not conducted according to WADA's International Standard for Testing for 'in competition' and the samples were not sent to the only WADA-accredited lab in Canada.

Speaking of which, it should be noted that the VAC's testing is not based on WADA's International Standard as such. It's based on WADA's International Standard only for 'in competition'. What's the difference? The International Standard includes rules governing out-of-competition testing, something the commission is not addressing at this time.

3. The VAC will also be conducting both random AND targeted testing at UFC 131. Fighters who are selected for either random or targeted testing will not be informed until immediately AFTER their fight.

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UFC 131: Vancouver Commission Announces WADA-Based Anti-Doping Testing Policy

The Vancouver Athletic Commission (VAC) today announced their plans for testing fighters for banned performance enhancing drugs, stating they have "engaged the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (the "CCES") to implement anti-doping testing for UFC 131 on Saturday, June 11, 2011, in accordance with the VAC’s Anti-Doping Rules.

In an issued press release the VAC notes "the CCES is responsible for administering Canada’s doping control program, and has worked closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency ("WADA") to promote the ethics of doping-free sport in Canada and worldwide since 1995.

"The CCES will be acting as the provider of sample collection services in connection with the event. Sample collection process will adhere to WADA’s International Standard for Testing, in respect of in-competition testing. Following sample collection, the CCES will coordinate secure delivery of samples to the WADA-accredited laboratory INRS – Institut Armand Frappier, in Laval, Quebec. Samples will be tested for all substances included on WADA’s Prohibited List, in compliance with WADA’s International Standard for Laboratories. Jurisdiction over results management will remain with the VAC, in accordance with the VAC’s Anti-Doping Rules," the press release states.

A copy of the VAC's anti-doping rules being employed for UFC 131 can be found here. A list of WADA-accredited laboratories in the Americas - and the only one in Canada - can be found here.

While WADA itself is not conducting the anti-doping tests, collections and procedures, the VAC is using the WADA-created "International Standard" for in-competition testing as well as WADA laboratories for testing samples.

CCES operates under recently-updated standards for anti-doping, all of which fall under the CCES-controlled Canadian Anti-Doping Program.

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