LAS VEGAS - Two months after promising to ramp up drug testing of its more than 500 fighters, UFC hired federal investigator Jeff Novitzky to spearhead the organization’s anti-doping initiative.
The UFC announced Monday that Novitzky will begin serving as its vice president of health and performance later this month when he leaves his job as special agent for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Novitkzy will oversee UFC’s investment in “state-of-the-art sports science studies,” as well as “further develop its out-of-competition (performance-enhancing drug) testing policy and enrich its education and prevention programs,” UFC said.
“I am thrilled to be joining a world-class organization like UFC, that is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure all of its athletes are competing in a clean sport,” Novitzky said in a statement. “I am confident that UFC will be able to create a new gold standard testing program and implement it so a sustainable and level playing field is provided for all athletes.”
Novitzky came to national prominence during the BALCO investigation that implicated Barry Bonds and Marion Jones, among others, and also led a doping probe of cyclist Lance Armstrong.
UFC Senior Executive Vice President Lawrence Epstein said, “There is no bigger advocate of clean professional sports than Jeff Novitzky,” adding Novitzky would “lead the UFC in developing the most comprehensive anti-doping policy in professional sports."