Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, has boasted that he has established the most effective anti-steroid and anti-doping program in all of professional sports. Novitzky said there was no doubt that his program was the best and should serve as the model for other sports to follow.
“There’s really not a close second after what we’ve put together here,” Novitzky told USA Today Sports. “A goal of this program is for other professional sports to look at what we’re doing and to set the bar up high and to bring them up with us….
“This is a program that I think all professional sports can take a look at and use as an example, to look and see what they’re doing and the possible shortcomings they have in their program and measure up theirs to ours.”
Novitzky was previously a government employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and later the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Novitzky established a strong reputation as a hunter of steroid-using celebrity athletes thanks to his involvement in the investigations of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tim Montgomery, Marion Jones, Justin Gatlin, Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong and many other professional athletes.
Novitzky left public service for the high-paying job offer from Zuffa co-founder Lorenzo Fertitto. Fertitto wanted Novitzky to head the steroid testing program of the UFC. Novitzky orchestrated a partnership with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that introduced a drug testing policy consistent with the more stringent WADA Code.
The introduction of practically any new anti-doping program would have been an improvement for the UFC. But for Novitzky to arrogantly claim that he has created the best anti-doping program ever is a very bold claim. It appears more likely that Novitzky has allowed his popularity and celebrity to go to his head. While his fanboys may feel that Novitzky can do no wrong, others aren’t quite so confident in the UFC’s new partnership with USADA.
Don Catlin, considered a “founder of modern drug-testing in sport”, has nothing bad to say about Novtizky but is highly skeptical of Novitzky’s confidence in USADA to do a good job.
“I’ve heard strong statements about how great (the UFC’s program) is, but I am suspicious until I actually see it in action. Who’s in charge? If USADA is in charge, I’m even more suspicious, because they’re known to do a lot of weird things,” Catlin told USA TODAY Sports.
“I know Jeff is a good guy. I’ve worked with him for years. I’m worried about USADA. They’ve had a lot of bad affairs lately and making up the rules as they go. That’s not a good idea.”
Novitzky arrogance may be even sound a little delusional as he attempts to rewrite the history of his involvement as a government investigator in the cases of numerous high-profile celebrity athletes. He is now claiming that celebrity athletes like Bonds, Clemens, Landis and Armstrong were never really the targets of the investigation. It was always about the steroid dealers according to Novitzky’s recollection.
“I absolutely think I was perceived as this cowboy or hunter that was looking to put heads of big athletes on my wall,” Novitzky told USA Today Sports. “That was never the case. Our goal on all of these cases was looking at the distributors of these drugs.”
This claim is demonstrably false given the feds spent what has been estimated to be in excess of $100 million on the failed prosecution of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens alone. The number of athletes ensnared in the BALCO scandal are numerous. But where are the big bad drug dealers?
BALCO mastermind Victor Conte and co-conspirator Patrick Arnold pleaded guilty to distribution but the total quantity of illegal steroids and PEDs represented a paltry amount. It was far less than what is sold by the lowest level steroid dealer. Make no mistake. Celebrity athletes became the main targets.
Peter, J. (October 14, 2015). Jeff Novitzky, responsible for BALCO bust, aims to clean up UFC. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ufc/2015/10/14/jeff-novitzky-ufc-anti-doping-program-balco-barry-bonds/73737912/