Sitting down with Joe Rogan on the longtime UFC commentator’s popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, Derek of More Plates, More Dates discussed his take on the promotion’s split with USADA and the new regime that will be taking over testing duties in 2024.
In October, the United States Anti-Doping Agency announced that they would be parting ways with the UFC after eight years and more than 27,000 administered tests to its athletes. The news came as quite the shock to fight fans but was largely celebrated by fighters who often slammed USADA for their frequently inconvenient testing practices.
Beginning on January 1, the UFC will begin an in-house testing program with Kansas City-based organization Drug Free Sport International taking over duties for USADA.
One of Derek’s biggest questions regarding the new switch will be the transparency between the UFC and the public when a positive test is detected.
“I guess it depends on how they document the positive test results because back in the day, depending on the organization, sometimes they’ll publish exactly what the person popped for, what happened,” Derek said. “Scrutiny is happening to them in the moment. How it’s being further reviewed. It was very negative press even before they actually confirmed and proved that this guy cheated. And then USADA took this different angle where they would be a little bit more vague about it and then they would get some scrutiny about whether or not they were covering up for certain people.
“But at the same time, they were getting scrutiny for being hyper-stringent, where they would show up to guys places in the middle of the f*cking night when they’re trying to sleep.”
Shortly after news broke that the UFC would end its relationship with USADA, the promotion announced that it had hired George Piro, a former special agent in charge at the FBI’s Miami Field Office, who was the Team Leader of the Saddam Hussein Interrogation Team in 2004.
Jeff Novitzky, the Senior Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance for the UFC has said that Piro will make every decision in the new testing program and that the authority will be his and his alone.
“As far as the new organization, their level of scrutiny and how it’s going to play out and how private they’re going to keep the results, it’s to be determined,” Derek added. “But if they’re following the same WADA banned substance list and the same protocols, I imagine it’s going to be similar, but from what I understand, more scrutinous testing on some of the endogenous bioidenticals like EPO.
“Novitzky said they’re going to up their testing, but at the end of this day, there’s only so much budget to allocate to where it’s a viable economic thing. It’s like, are you going to EPO test every f*cking sample of every single athlete however many times per year?”
Joe Rogan Advocates for Conor McGregor’s alleged Banned Substance Use during recovery
At the center of USADA’s public break-up with the UFC is Irish megastar Conor McGregor. Travis Tygart, the CEO of USADA suggested in a statement that the pair’s relationship had become “untenable” due to the constant back-and-forth on McGregor’s long-awaited return to the Octagon.
McGregor just recently re-ented the USADA testing pool after suffering a broken leg during his trilogy bout with Dustin Poirier in July 2021. During that time, the former two-division champ had allegedly taken banned substances to help him through the healing process.
Rogan fully supports fighters taking certain substances to help them recover from a particularly devastating injury, like the ones that McGregor, Chris Weidman, and Anderson Silva have all suffered inside the Octagon.
“I imagine it’s going to be a little more lax and I certainly support that and I support guys taking things to recover from injuries like Conor did with his leg injury, 100 percent,” Rogan said. “No question about it, I’m 100 percent all in on that. That’s the only way. No one comes back from that. No one has ever come back from that catastrophic leg break. The shin break, not a single athlete has come back from it and performed at the same level.
“Anderson Silva is the only guy who came back and fought multiple times, and he was not the same guy.
As for whether or not McGregor will reap any real long-term benefits from banned substance abuse, it’s hard to say, even for an expert like Derek.
“As far as the studies go for retention of what’s called myonuclei, like how much you can actually bank up from steroid use, it doesn’t seem”to be something that’s going to sustain for… I don’t know. In perpetuity, like we once thought, it’s kind of finicky if that’s actually something that happens or not,” Derek said.
“A lot of people will shrink back down when they come off, but he’s competing pretty soon after what appeared to be a pretty f*cking full board. The guy was practically unrecognizable compared to the traditional Conor. To me, his face looked like the first time a guy takes gear. Like, ‘Oh, wow. You’ve gained like 15 pounds of water.’ It didn’t even look like it was an attempt to do it in a, ‘I’m trying to micro-dose’ way. It’s like a real cycle, seemingly. And why not, if you’re not being tested?