The Professional Fighters League has enlisted USADA to take up a new, bespoke, anti-doping program.

The five-year partnership, effective immediately, will see USADA work with the PFL as “the independent third-party administrator of PFL’s year-round anti-doping policy, beginning on July 11, 2023. The news was first reported by ESPN.

The partnership was communicated to fighters via an email from the PFL president of fighter operations Ray Sefo, with ESPN reporting that Sefo had confirmed to fighters that the anti-doping program would begin immediately, with educational sessions for fighters set to start this week.

The policy, which will be run in a similar fashion to the program USADA handles for the UFC, will see fighters tested in and out of competition, with the notable difference that they will not be required to provide constant whereabouts information to USADA. Instead, athletes are required to provide home and gym addresses.

The move comes after a spate of failed drug tests by PFL athletes following the first half of the 2023 PFL regular season.

Ten fighters tested positive and received sanctions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission following regular season events in Las Vegas, with the list of suspended athletes including former champions Rob Wilkinson and Bruno Cappelozza.

The litany of anti-doping suspensions in quick succession threatened to damage the integrity of the PFL’s season format, with a number of weight classes – and the light heavyweight division, in particular – thrown into disarray by a host of fighter removals from the standings.

PFL regular season: Failed drug tests

  • Krzysztof Jotko (clomiphene)
  • Bruno Cappellozza (drostanolone)
  • Alejandro Flores (furosemide)
  • Rob Wilkinson (elevated testosterone levels)
  • Rizvan Kuniev (drostanolone, methenolone, boldenone, 19-norandrosterone)
  • Mohammad Fakhreddine (stanozolol, drostanolone, GW1516)
  • Cezar Ferreira (clomiphene, androstanolone)
  • Will Fleury (drostanolone)
  • Daniel Torres (drostanolone, amphetamine)
  • Thiago Santos (clomiphene)

The new partnership between PFL and USADA will look to establish a consistent policy, regardless of where events are held, with Sefo telling the PFL’s fighters: “This program is part of the PFL’s commitment as a fighter-first organization to supporting a safe, level playing field and advancing the highest levels of competition and the integrity of the sport.”