UFC announced on Monday the hiring of Jeff Novitzky as vice president of Athlete Health and Performance. Novitzky is a former Internal Revenue Service special agent who played a central role in the BALCO doping investigation.
Novitzky will "spearhead the development of the organization's clean initiative education program designed to ensure that every athlete competes with natural ability on an even playing field," UFC said.
[daily_cut]Novitzky has been a federal agent for the United States Food and Drug Administration since 2008 and has led investigations into various companies linked to dietary supplements and designer steroids. He previously worked for the IRS and has led investigations into Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, Jason Giambi and other athletes.
In February, UFC announced plans for a stronger drug-testing policy after a string of high-profile failed tests, including former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and welterweight contender Hector Lombard. UFC executives said the multi-million dollar policy would provide year-round testing in and out of competitions subject to World Anti-Doping Agency standards effective July 1.
"There is no bigger advocate of clean professional sports than Jeff Novitzky," UFC senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein said in Monday's release. "When we announced our commitment for an enhanced drug testing program in February, we wanted to ensure that the best people would be helping move this program forward and Jeff will lead the UFC in developing the most comprehensive anti-doping policy in professional sports."
Also in the release, UFC announced its fully overhauled drug program is scheduled to be unveiled in July.
- Mike Fiammetta