The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has appointed George Piro to manage its newly implemented drug testing protocol. The current process for drug testing in the UFC involves the mixed martial arts (MMA) organization collaborating with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has started conducting random drug tests on UFC competitors that are a part of its testing pool since the middle of 2015. The purpose of these tests is to deter athletes from taking illegal steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
Travis Tygart, the CEO of USADA, made the announcement earlier this month (October 2023) that the UFC has made the decision to terminate its collaboration with USADA.
In the meantime, Hunter Campbell, executive vice president and Chief Business Officer of the UFC, and Jeff Novitsky, senior vice president of athlete health and performance, both announced that the UFC has replaced USADA with DFSI (Drug Free Sport International). The relationship between the UFC and USADA will come to an end on December 31, 2023, while the cooperation between the UFC and DFSI will begin in January of 2024.
The anti-doping program run by the DFSI provides assistance to prominent sports organizations such as the NCAA, MLB, NFL, NBA, and others. More than twenty years have passed since the DFSI first began putting anti-doping procedures into action.
It is anticipated that George Piro, a former agent with the FBI, would take on the role of impartial administrator for the new anti-doping program being implemented by the UFC. After Saddam Hussein’s arrest in 2003, the Lebanese-born American played a pivotal part in the interrogation of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. This involvement has earned him the reputation for which he is best known.
During the civil war in Lebanon, George Piro and his family were forced to flee the country and eventually settled in the United States of America. George was just 12 years old at the time. He subsequently became a member of US law enforcement in California, first working for the Stanislaus County Drug Enforcement Agency and then moving on to the FBI.
Piro, who is 56 years old, has Assyrian ancestry and is multilingual. He is able to speak English, Arabic, and Aramaic (Assyrian) fluently. Additionally, he is fluent in French. Because of his command of the Arabic language, he was one of the few FBI agents in the early 2000s who was in a position to put his linguistic skills to use in an effective manner during the interrogation of Saddam Hussein.
In addition, George Piro had prior experience working for the FBI both as a Supervisor in the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the Washington Field Office and as a SAC (Special Agent in Charge) in the FBI Field Office in Miami. Both of these positions were held by the FBI. In addition to that, Piro held the position of Assistant Director of the International Operations Division at the FBI Headquarters in Washington, District of Columbia.
A closer look at George Piro’s combat sports connection ahead of his anti-doping work with the UFC
As was mentioned earlier, George Piro has been recruited to work as an independent administrator for the anti-doping program that is run by the UFC and DFSI. The world of combat sports is not unfamiliar territory for Piro. At the illustrious ATT (American Top Team) club in Florida, where Wilson Gouveia used to compete in mixed martial arts, Piro has been honing his BJJ skills for a number of years now. His instructor is the legendary Wilson Gouveia.
The former FBI agent shared his enthusiasm for the grappling-focused art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and the sport of BJJ in an interview given to WSVN-TV in the year 2022. Piro mentioned that he applies the abilities he’s picked up as a law enforcement officer to his training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and vice versa. The BJJ practitioner’s social media accounts give the impression that he keeps competing in grappling competitions and working on improving his martial arts skills.