Jeff Novitzky promoted to UFC senior VP of athlete health and performance

The UFC’s anti-doping czar is moving up in the promotion.

Jeff Novitzky has been promoted to senior vice president of athlete health and performance, the UFC announced Tuesday.

The position elevates Novitzky’s previous position, vice president of athlete health and performance, where he’s served as the promotion’s spokesperson on anti-doping issues and the point of contact for athletes subject to a drug testing by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

“Under Jeff’s leadership, UFC has developed the most comprehensive anti-doping policy in professional sports,” UFC chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein stated in a press release. “The program has proven to be a tremendous success, and Jeff has been a great resource for our athletes by helping them make informed decisions about what to put in their bodies.

“Jeff has been a big part of UFC’s commitment to ensuring that its athletes are competing in a clean sport.”

The UFC cited a 34 percent decline in anti-doping program violations in 2018; there were 29 violations stemming from 2,888 fighters tested. The promotion said USADA is on track to do 4,300 tests this year on a roster of over 500 athletes.

Novitzky, a former agent with the IRS and the Food and Drug Administration, joined the UFC in 2015, when the promotion implemented its in- and out-of-competition drug-testing program.

In 2018, Novitzky announced the UFC had renewed its partnership agreement with USADA to increase yearly drug tests by up to 62 percent. The renewal came amid criticism of the promotion for its handling of UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones’ second anti-doping violation.

A high-profile investigator in the BALCO scandal, Novitzky has defended the UFC’s handling of the Jones case, as well as the case of now-former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, who tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO).

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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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