The UFC is concluding its chapter with USADA.
Out With The Old, In With The New
Starting in 2024, the premier MMA promotion will move on from their longtime anti-doping partner and is set to take on another in Drug Free Sport International (DFSI).
Going forward with the new drug-testing program, the UFC has already picked out somebody to spearhead their operation. That somebody isn’t just anybody, however. It’s former FBI agent George Piro, UFC executive Jeff Novitzky announced this week.
Piro, who was in charge of interrogating Saddam Hussein decades ago, will serve as the independent administrator of the UFC’s ‘new and improved’ anti-doping program.
“When you talk about George Pirro, you’re talking about an individual with the highest level of integrity and credibility you can possibly imagine,” Novitsky told reporters on Thursday. “And while I had a noticeable federal law enforcement career, my resume pales in comparison to that of George Piro.
“As I talk about George Piro, he’s quite literally an American hero. He just recently retired as the special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Miami, Florida. He previously was the assistant director of the International Operations Division at FBI headquarters. He was the supervisor of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
Piro ‘Knows The Sport’
On top of years as a special agent, Novitsky echoes that Piro knows his stuff when it comes to the fight game as well (Piro also trains at American Top Team). According to him, more so than the people over at USADA ever did.
“He’s also a world champion no-gi jiu-jitsu masters level,” Novitsky continued. “He knows the sport, he knows what the athletes go through from his world class level training. We actually had George out at headquarters a few weeks ago, and he was mentioning to us that he’s watched every single UFC pay-per-view, every single fight, virtually everyone live. He knows more about this sport in the UFC than probably the entire personnel of USADA does.”
Giving testament to what George Piro has already done, Jeff Novitsky says the new hire will never compromise the integrity of the UFC’s new drug testing program, which will be put into place next year.
“Most significantly, when the United States captured Saddam Hussein, George was solely in charge of his interrogation. The US government literally put the safety of the citizens of the United States in his hands, sent him over to Iraq, and he was Saddam’s only contact with the outside world for a period of about nine months.
“George will make every, and I stress, every final decision in the program. That authority will be his and his alone. We will surround him with experts with the likes of Dr. Eichner so that George has every single resource at his disposal to make the right call every single time. He was featured on 60 Minutes, actually a two segment, which you very rarely find there on his interrogation of Saddam Hussein.
“Go watch and go see what kind of person George Piro is, and whether he would compromise the integrity of the UFC’s program. [It will] never happen,” Novitsky said.