Skip to content

Education

Introduction

IMMAF actively promotes education and awareness of anti-doping, in particular the principles and values associated with CLEAN MMA.

In partnership with IMMAF’s medical programme and SAFE MMA, (https://safemma.org/) our programme includes anti-doping prevention interventions, information and education of medical and coaching support personnel.  IMMAF is firmly committed to doping free MMA and will sanction those who cheat by doping, in accordance with the IMMAF Anti-Doping Rules. 

IMMAF member federations are responsible for actively promoting education and information at the national level.  All Athletes and Athlete Support Personnel under their jurisdiction should be aware of and abide by the Anti-Doping Rules and supporting policies, in particular:

  • Substances and Methods on the Prohibited List;
  • Risks of supplement use, safe weight management, good hydration practices;
  • Safe use of medications and how to apply for Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), if required;
  • Testing procedures (urine and Blood, Athlete Biological Passport), requirements of the IMMAF Registered Testing Pool, including whereabouts;
  • SAFE & CLEAN MMA, values and principles, rights and responsibilities.

Information sessions can be organised at local, national and international level.  IMMAF hosts seminars to assist National Federations with their planning and delivery of education and testing.  Partnering with your National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO) to establish outreach programmes promoting anti-doping information at events you host is good practice. 

Outreach at the World Youth Championships 2021, Bulgaria

 

Presentations

Technical Seminar 2021 (Doping Risks and Anti-Doping Solutions)

National Federations Anti-Doping Responsibilities

IMMAF Anti-Doping Education Plan

IMMAF Athlete Support Personnel have Anti-Doping obligations including (but are not limited to):

  • knowing and complying with all applicable anti-doping policies and rules, including the IMMAF Anti-Doping Rules (in line with the World Anti-Doping Code) and
  • refraining from possessing a prohibited substance (or a prohibited method) *, administering any such substance or method to an athlete, trafficking, covering up an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) or other forms of complicity and associating with a person convicted of doping (prohibited association). These are ADRVs applicable to Athlete Support Personnel under Article 2 of the World Anti-Doping Code and Article 2 of the IMMAF Anti-Doping Rules.

* unless the Athlete Support Personnel can establish that the possession is consistent with a TUE granted to an athlete or other acceptable justification. Acceptable justification would include, for example, a team doctor carrying Prohibited Substances for dealing with acute and emergency situations.

Athlete Support Personnel’s rights include (but are not limited to):

In the case of an ADRV being asserted, the Athlete Support Personnel has the right to a fair hearing and the right to appeal.

Reporting Doping – Whistle Blowing

Help IMMAF protect the integrity of MMA and protect clean athletes.  

Stepping forward with information on doping, helps IMMAF to achieve a clean and fair playing field for all.  

Coming forward with information, no matter how small, can help prevent abuse, detect cheats and protect athletes.

IMMAF Speak up & Report

 

Athletes

Every MMA Athlete has the right to clean sport and to be protected from doping harms.  The principle of strict liability applies in anti-doping.  Each athlete has a personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters their body and that no prohibited method is used.

Athletes’ responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • complying with the IMMAF Anti-Doping Rules (in line with the World Anti-Doping Code)
  • being available for sample collection (urine or blood), whether in-competition or out of-competition
  • ensuring that no prohibited substance enters his body and that no prohibited method is used
  • making sure that any treatment is not prohibited according to the Prohibited List in force and checking this with the prescribing physicians, or directly with the IMMAF if necessary
  • applying to the IMMAF (or national anti-doping organization if the athlete is a national level athlete) if no alternative permitted treatment is possible and a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) is required (see the IMMAF TUE Application process
  • reporting immediately for sample collection after being notified of a doping control
  • ensuring the accuracy of the information entered on the doping control form during sample collection (including stating any medications and supplements taken within the seven days prior to sample collection, and where the sample collected is a blood sample, blood transfusions within the previous three months)
  • cooperating with anti-doping organizations investigating anti-doping rules violations (ADRVs) and
  • not working with coaches, trainers, physicians or other athlete support personnel who are ineligible on account of an ADRV or who have been criminally convicted or professionally disciplined in relation to doping (see WADA’s Prohibited Association List).

Note: during doping control, the athlete must remain within direct observation of the Doping Control Officer (DCO) or chaperone at all times from when the initial contact is made until the completion of the sample collection procedure. The athlete must also produce identification upon request.

 

Athletes’ Rights

Athletes’ rights include (but are not limited to):

  • during the doping control
    • bringing a representative and, if available, an interpreter
    • asking for additional information about the sample collection process
    • requesting a delay in reporting to the doping control station for valid reasons (International Standard for Testing and Investigations Art. 5.4.4) and
    • requesting modifications for athletes with impairments (if applicable)
  • requesting and attending the B sample analysis (in the case of an Adverse Analytical Finding) and
  • in the case of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) being asserted, the athlete has the right to a fair hearing and the right to appeal the hearing decision

Athlete Reference Guide to the 2021 Code

Doping Control Video

At-a-Glance: About Anti-Doping leaflet

At-a-Glance: The Doping Control Process leaflet

Play True Quiz

Play True Quiz – Youth Version

IMMAF Athletes Rights Act

 

Athlete Obligations

Athletes’ obligations include (but are not limited to):

  • knowing and complying with all applicable anti-doping policies and rules, including the IMMAF Anti-Doping Rules (in line with the World Anti-Doping Code)
  • refraining from possessing a prohibited substance (or a prohibited method) *, administering any such substance or method, trafficking, covering up an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) or other forms of complicity and associating with a person convicted of doping (prohibited association).

Consequences of Doping

We know that the majority of IMMAF athletes, coaches, medical staff and officials abide by the IMMAF Anti-Doping Rules and IMMAF is working hard to provide information and education to support and remind everyone how to stay within the anti-Doping Rules.  IMMAF believes that everyone is responsible for achieving clean MMA, protecting the reputation of the sport and those who participate in it. 

Some athletes (or others e.g. coaches, medical staff, officials) may choose to cheat – and IMMAF will work hard to detect doping behaviour and remove those doing so from our sport.  We know that some athletes may be more vulnerable to a doping decision.

Remember, you are responsible for knowing the rules and abiding by them.  

Ignorance is no excuse. 

STRICT LIABILITY applies to Anti-Doping, you are responsible. 

Those found to commit an anti-doping rule violation face a ban from MMA and all other sports.

The personal consequences of doping to your health, psychological and mental wellbeing – as well as the social and financial consequences – can be far-reaching and damaging.

Your Rights and Responsibilities:

The principle of strict liability, that is, personal responsibility for your actions, applies.  You have the responsibility to inform and educate yourself about how to stay within the anti-doping rules.  Doping negatively impacts all sport and adversely effects the physical and mental well-being of our members as well as having social and economic effects.  

Athletes: Make sure you stay up to date with anti-doping matters to prevent inadvertent doping.  Check medications and supplements before you use them for the presence of Prohibited Substances, do not use Prohibited Methods (except in a medical emergency).  Keep records of all and any enquiries you make about medications and any supplements you may take.  Advise your treating physician that you are subject to anti-doping rules.  Where a permitted alternative exists – USE IT!

If you feel under pressure or unable to cope with the demands of training and competing, seek help.  Do not damage your health, reputation and sporting career by using doping substances and methods.  Be cautious about the advice from others to help you repair injury or improve performance, you will face the consequences. 

You have the right to receive information to assist you understand the Anti-Doping Rules.  Use this website to inform yourself and follow the links to other information. 

A comprehensive Anti-Doping Handbook is available for all participants in IMMAF Championships and Federations which summarises the rules and procedures, gives guidance on how to check medications, TUEs, risks of supplements and where to reduce risks.  READ IT BEFORE YOU ENTER and COMPETE!

IMMAF Anti-Doping Handbook for Athletes and Support Personnel

IMMAF Consequences of Doping

Since the introduction of WADA ADEL eLearning programme, IMMAF actively encourages members to register and complete courses according to their area of interest.  In 2021, ADEL course completing will become mandatory for coaches, officials and athletes attending IMMAF Championships.  Moving forward IMMAF will work with National Federations to identify educators to lead education campaigns. 

https://adel.wada-ama.org/learn

 

What is Prohibited?

IMMAF applies the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List of Substances and Methods.  Links to the list and to supporting documents are found below: 

The Prohibited List identifies substances and methods prohibited in-competition, at all times (i.e. in- and out-of-competition) and in particular sports. Substances and methods are classified by categories (e.g., steroids, stimulants, masking agents). The list is updated annually following an extensive consultation process facilitated by WADA.

It is each athlete’s responsibility to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his/her body and that no prohibited method is used.

Many of the substances on the Prohibited List have no medical application, but for those that do, the list only contains the generic names of the pharmaceutical substances; the list does not contain brand names of the medications, which vary from country to country.

Before taking any medication, please make sure to check with your prescribing physician that it does not contain a prohibited substance.

The WADA Prohibited List

The IMMAF only allows an athlete to use a prohibited substance for medical reasons if the athlete has a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption for the substance that the IMMAF has granted or recognised.

How to check your medications: 

Before taking any medication, please make sure to check with your prescribing physician that it does not contain a prohibited substance.  In summary:

  1. Check that the generic name or International Non-proprietary Name (INN) of any active ingredient is not prohibited under the Prohibited List (‘in-competition only’ or at ‘all times’). 
  2. Check that the medication does not contain any pharmaceutical substances that would fall within a general category that is prohibited. 
  3. Be aware that intravenous infusions and/or injections of more than 50mL per 6 hour period are prohibited, regardless of the status of the substances.
  4. If you have any doubt, contact IMMAF (if you are an international level athlete, or your NADO if you are a national-level athlete).

 

Prohibited List 2022

WADA Prohibited List 2022

Summary of Major Modifications and Explanatory Notes

2022 Monitoring Program

Therapeutic Use Exemptions System (TUE)

What is a TUE: A TUE is a certificate granted by an anti-doping organization (IMMAF for international-level athletes, National Anti-doping Organizations for national-level athletes and Major Event Organizers for athletes participating in an MEO event, eg. the IOC for the Olympic Games). 

The TUE certificate is for a specific treatment (prohibited substance), in certain dosage, with a limited period of validity. 

An application for a TUE must be based on a documented medical condition and diagnosis and the TUE will only be granted under strict criteria laid out in the International Standard of TUE.

International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemption (ISTUE)

Athletes should avoid taking a medication with a prohibited substance without a valid TUE.  In an emergency, you should receive treatment for an acute condition, collect all the evidence and promptly submit your request for a TUE to be determined retrospectively. 

 

What if I fail to apply for a TUE?

The presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample without a valid TUE is an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV), as are the use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method, possession, administration or attempted administration.

Athletes must consult the Prohibited List with their prescribing physician before taking a medication to ensure that no prohibited substance is contained in the medication needed, unless the medication is required to treat a serious emergency, in which case, use without a TUE is at your risk.

An International-Level Athlete whose illness or condition requires treatment with a prohibited substance or method must apply to IMMAF for a TUE following the TUE application process. (see below)

 

How to apply for a TUE?

To apply for a TUE, download the application form and fill it in either by typing or handwriting, in English. Ensure your handwriting is legible (anyone can read it without any problem). Complete all sections with your physician.

IMMAF takes no responsibility for bad handwriting or mistypes or incomplete applications.

1. Download the TUE form

2. Complete your personal details and ask your doctor/specialist to complete the medication and case history details. Please note that the form can be filled in electronically.

3. Your doctor/specialist will also need to attach supporting medical evidence to your application. (eg . Test results, extracts from notes, etc.)

4. Submit the completed form to IMMAF by email ([email protected]) or if registered, through ADAMS

Applications should be made at least 30 days in advance of an IMMAF event. 

If the TUE is rejected you have the right to appeal (within 21 days after the decision to CAS).

Who is an ‘International-Level Athlete’?

As set out in the IMMAF Anti-doping Rules, the following athletes are considered to be International-Level Athletes: 

  1. Athletes included in the IMMAF Registered Testing Pool and any other Testing Pool established by IMMAF
  1. Athletes who compete in an IMMAF sanctioned World or European Championships (Senior or Junior) International Event, 
  1. Athletes who are sanctioned by IMMAF for an Anti-Doping Rule Violation and remain under IMMAF jurisdiction to seek reinstatement at the conclusion of their suspension.

 

When to apply for a TUE?

You have to apply at least 30 days before the IMMAF competition you are entering.  NB: In emergency situation, it may be possible for a TUE to be granted in less than 30 days.

Any athlete wishing to participate in an IMMAF Event must apply for a TUE or the recognition of their existing TUE to the IMMAF TUE Committee.

 

I have a TUE from my National Anti-doping Organisation. Is it valid for an IMMAF event?

National TUEs are automatically valid for international events. All national TUEs must be submitted to IMMAF or filed in ADAMS. The IMMAF has the right to review and reject any national TUEs if they don’t fulfil the ISTUE requirements. 

 

What if my application is rejected?

If your application is rejected, you have the right to appeal to CAS within 21 days of the rejection. Each TUE application will be carefully evaluated by the IMMAF Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee and will only be granted in accordance with the International Standard for TUEs and the criteria laid out in article 4 of this standard.

 

If the TUE is granted, the athlete will then be permitted to use the medication during the period of validity of the TUE without committing an Anti-Doping Rules Violation (ADRV).

Regardless of whether a TUE has been granted or not, athletes should always declare on the doping control form, filled out during sample collection, any medications and supplements taken within the seven days prior to sample collection, and any blood transfusions in the three months prior for blood samples.

WADA’s right to review TUE decisions. 

WADA, through its TUEC, has the right to monitor and review any TUE granted by an anti-doping organisation, and following such review, to reverse any decision. 

An athlete who submits a TUE application to an ADO (IMMAF or a National Anti-Doping Organisation) and is denied a TUE, can ask WADA to review the decision. If WADA determines that denial of the TUE did not comply with the ISTUE, the Agency can reverse the decision. WADA itself does not accept TUE applications from athletes.

List of NADOs – for national TUE applications

WADA’s webpage on TUEs 

WADA’s Q&A on TUEs

IMMAF TUE System Summary

Testing

How is Testing carried out?

The aim of testing is to detect and deter doping among athletes to protect clean athletes.
Any athlete under the testing jurisdiction of the IMMAF may be tested at any time, with no advance notice, in- or out-of-competition, and be required to provide a urine or blood sample.

 

DOPING CONTROL PROCESS

The doping control procedure is clearly defined for all anti-doping organizations in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI). Standardized procedures, professionally trained doping control officers (DCOs), and clearly formulated rights and obligations ensure that doping controls satisfy high quality standards.

 

ATHLETE BIOLOGICAL PASSPORT

The fundamental principle of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) is to monitor selected biological variables over time that indirectly reveal the effects of doping rather than attempting to detect the doping substance or method itself.

IMMAF Anti-Doping Testing Process

 

TESTING POOLS

No-advance notice out-of-competition testing is one of the most powerful means of deterrence and detection of doping. To support this type of testing, IMMAF can develop various testing pools as part of its testing program.

In any case, any athlete under the testing jurisdiction of IMMAF may be tested at any time, with no advance notice, in- or out-of-competition, and be required to provide a urine or blood sample.

 

REGISTERED TESTING POOL (RTP)

Nevertheless, the athletes in the IMMAF Registered Testing Pool (RTP) are required to provide information on their whereabouts in ADAMS, WADA’s online anti-doping administration and management system.IMMAF updates the composition of the RTP yearly. Athletes in the RTP are chosen based on set criteria, see IMMAF Anti-Doping Policy.

 

WHEREABOUTS

IMMAF’s Registered Testing Pool (RTP) is the group of top-level athletes who are subject to both in-competition and out-of-competition testing as part of IMMAF Test Distribution Plan.

All athletes listed on the website below have been included in IMMAF Registered Testing Pool and therefore must make quarterly Whereabouts Filings

 

WHAT DO RTP ATHLETES NEED TO KNOW?

RTP athletes are required to:

  • Submit a complete and accurate quarterly Whereabouts Filing
  • Update their Whereabouts Filing information
  • Apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for all Prohibited Methods and Substances in line with the IMMAF TUE Policy

 

RTP Athletes must avoid committing a Whereabouts Failure

A Whereabouts Failure is either a Filing Failure or a Missed Test:

Filing Failure– If an athlete fails to return his/her quarterly Whereabouts Filing by the stated deadlines, fully and accurately completed, this may result in a Filing Failure.

Missed Test– If an athlete fails to be available for Testing at the location and time specified in the 60-minute time slot identified in his or her Whereabouts Filing for the day in question it may result in a Missed Test.

A Whereabouts Failure may lead to an Anti-Doping Rule Violation and Sanction.

Should athletes have any query on ADAMS, such as how to submit whereabouts, please contact the IMMAF Anti-Doping Committee.

 

WHAT SHOULD ATHLETES DO IF THEY WISH TO RETIRE OR RETURN TO COMPETITION AFTER RETIRING?

RETIREMENT

An athlete who retires must promptly inform the IMMAF Anti-Doping Committee (IMMAF ADC) in writing through post or e-mail. If an athlete retires, he/she is immediately removed from the Registered Testing Pool (RTP). IMMAF ADC will confirm the receipt of the retirement by letter and that the athlete is no longer in the RTP.

 

RETURN FROM RETIREMENT

In accordance with the IMMAF Anti-Doping Code, an Athlete who was previously included in the Registered Testing Pool and is returning from retirement may not resume competing unless he or she notifies IMMAF ADC at least six (6) months before he or she expects to return to Competition and during that notice period making themselves available for Out-of-Competition Testing as required by IMMAF.

IMMAF adopts the Testing Procedures applied by the WADA International Standard.Testing can take place at any time, in or out of competition.

 

Links to Videos:

World Anti-Doping Agency – The Doping Control Process for Athletes

Agence mondiale antidopage – Le contrôle du dopage pour les sportifs

WADA – (Arabic subtitles) Doping Control Process for Athletes

WADA – (German version) Doping Control Process for Athletes

WADA – (Russian subtitles) The Doping Control Process for Athletes

Agencia mundial antidopaje – Control Antidopaje para Atletas

Requirements of the Registered Testing Pool

 

SANCTIONS

Sanctions for Anti-Doping Rule Violations e.g., for the presence or use of a prohibited substance, are as follows:

Intentional cheating, whatever the substance, the period of ineligibility is four years

Non-intentional violations, two years ineligibility – unless you can show you had no significant fault or negligence, in which case ineligibility may be reduced by up to a maximum of one year (that is, to a minimum ineligibility of one year)

If the violation involved a specified substance or a contaminated product, and you can demonstrate you had no significant fault, ineligibility may range from two years to a reprimand (depending on your level of fault)

You should also be aware that multiple Anti-Doping Rule Violations, or the presence of multiple substances may increase the sanction you face beyond four years.

For some Anti-Doping Rule Violations, including those involving Athlete Support Personnel (such as coaches, medical staff and/or officials) the penalty can be a life ban from sport. 

 

CURRENT AND PREVIOUS SANCTIONS:

IMMAF has adjudicated sanctions for Anti-Doping Rule Violations as listed here:

Supplements

Warning on Supplements – the risk is yours.

Be aware of the risks associated with the use of supplements.

Extreme caution is recommended regarding any supplement use.  Several positive tests have been attributed to the misuse of supplements, due to poor labelling or contamination of dietary supplements.  Manufacturing and/or labelling of supplements may not follow strict rules. Supplements may contain an undeclared/prohibited substance.   

Assess the need for the use of any form of supplement. Seek advice from a qualified medical professional or sports dietician regarding the need to supplement your diet; most nutrients may be obtained from food.

Assess the risk of using a supplement thoroughly. Research the product and company and keep evidence of this research; where possible, obtain a written guarantee the product does not contain prohibited substances.

Assess the consequences of using a supplement containing prohibited substances; you could receive a 4-year ban from sport, you could damage your health. Supplement use is no excuse for a doping violation.

Remember that no guarantee can be given that any supplement is free from banned substances.  

Educate yourself about Supplement Risks: the following websites may help to explain the issue further and guide you to make an informed decision about supplement use.

https://www.supplement411.org/supplement411/high-risk-list
https://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/supplements/classification
https://www.antidoping.ch/en/medicine-substances-and-methods/dietary-supplements-guide
https://www.koelnerliste.com/en/cologne-list.html

Certification Testing is one form of reassurance that supplements have been tested for the majority of prohibited substances.  These certification programmes REDUCE the risk but do not exclude the chances of a contaminated supplement.   Here are details of three certification companies.  If you follow their guidelines, it is your choice.  IMMAF does not accept any liability for contamination of certified products.  WADA is not involved in any supplement certification process and does not certify or endorse supplements.

Informed Sport works with nutritional supplement manufacturers which have signed up to the scheme to batch-test products for banned substances on the current WADA Prohibited List. Products which have been batch-tested for banned substances bear the ‘Informed-Sport’ logo. Any batch-lines found to contain banned substances are withdrawn from the market by the manufacturers. A review of testing results from the Informed Sport programme in 2012 shows that contaminated supplements were identified in 2 out of 2,678 samples tested (0.07%) and those products were withdrawn.  Athletes can check supplement products against batch testing results and note the batch number and analysis certificates using the informed sport website: www.informed-sport.com  Athletes should check batch testing for each individual product and not assume that if one manufacturer’s product is safe, all products are.

The NSF Certified for Sport™ program can help athletes identify products (mainly US) that have been tested for purity banned substances, and help minimise the risk of inadvertent doping (www.nsfsport.com). The NSF Certified for Sport mark will appear on the label of a tested supplement. You can consult the full list of certified products at www.nsfsport.com.

Cologne List® includes sport-related nutritional products such as sports drinks, muesli bars, bread mixes etc. can also be found on the list.

Inform yourself about Testing Procedures, your responsibilities and rights. The following resources will help Athletes and Athlete Support Personnel understand the testing process.

International Mixed
Martial Arts Federation
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2021
Contact Us
Sign up for Updates
Privacy Policy