The UFC has parted ways with USADA following a public feud.
In the fall out from the announcement that they’re parting ways, UFC announced they hired former FBI agent George Piro and tasked him with the responsibility of spearheading its revamped PED testing program.
This development marks a departure from the longstanding partnership with the USADA that has been in effect since mid-2015.
George Piro is to collaborate with DFSI to facilitate an in house program testing for PEDs.
Former FBI agent George Piro is anticipated to act as the independent administrator of the UFC’s new program. The Lebanon-born American is well recognized for his critical role in interrogating former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein following his capture in 2003.
George Piro and his family left Lebanon at the age of 12 to relocate to the United States amid the country’s civil war. He finally began working for the FBI in California after joining US law enforcement in Stanislaus County, California.
Over the years, George Piro has held key positions within the FBI, including roles in the Joint Terrorism Task Force and as a Special Agent in Charge in the Miami Field Office. His tenure as Assistant Director of the International Operations Division at the FBI’s Headquarters further showcases his exceptional leadership.
Beyond his distinguished career in law enforcement, Piro is no stranger to the world of combat sports. For years, he has honed his skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under the tutelage of former MMA combatant Wilson Gouveia at the renowned American Top Team gym in Florida.
UFC COO Hunter Campbell cited Piro’s BJJ background as a positive:
” 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. He’s also a world champion no-gi jujitsu master’s level. He knows the sport. He knows what the athletes go through from his world-class level training.”
UFC brass is hoping that by hiring someone with that kind of reputation they can avoid accusations of privilege and bias.
Campbell added: “George will make every, and I stress every, final decision in the program. That authority will be his and his alone. ”
In a candid 2022 interview with WSVN-TV, Piro expressed his genuine affection for the art of BJJ. He emphasized how the skills acquired in BJJ seamlessly integrate with his law enforcement expertise. As evidenced by his social media presence, Piro continues to refine his martial arts prowess and actively participates in grappling tournaments.
“As you’re training and you get on the bottom, you have a guy who is on top of you,” said Piro. “They’re driving their knee into your face, they’re trying to choke you and all that and you have to become comfortable with that as that translates professionally when I’m at work.”
While it’s always good to see someone who understands combat sports assuming a role in the executive position, this does raise questions about impartial treatment.
But Piro isn’t the first UFC exec facing a similar dilemma. According to reports, UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard trains out of Renzo Gracie’s, where he’s sometimes training in the company of controversial manager Ali Abdelaziz.