The UFC’s main man in the fight against doping says the organization’s fighters who have used performance-enhancing drugs in the past don’t feel the need to any more.

Jeff Novitzky, UFC vice president of athlete health and performance, revealed to Fighters Only that when he started his role with the organization, some of its fighters admitted using PEDs in the past, because they felt they had to.

“This was going into an Octagon where if you felt your opponent was on something, almost out of survival instinct, they felt almost forced to choose that route,” Novitzky said. “I came away from many of my conversations with professional athletes with an understanding about why they chose to dope. I never agreed with them – I like to think if I was in that position I wouldn’t have made that decision – but man I never came away saying, ‘I completely don’t understand why they chose to do that.’”

He added that, in the past, it was not very difficult for athletes to use drugs out of competition and still complete clean while retaining the benefits from them. However, since the UFC’s testing program with USADA began, both of these issues have been reduced. Fighters

“The cool thing is (now), a lot of the discussions are, ‘I don’t feel the pressure or the need to do it any more.’ Not to say that doping is completely eradicated, but anybody that is choosing to make that choice – the longer they’re in that program, they’re going to get caught based on the strength and comprehension of this program.”

A full interview with Jeff Novitzky – featuring details of the UFC’s efforts to combat drug use and unsafe weight cutting – will feature in an upcoming issue of Fighters Only. Click here to subscribe.