The scenario has been repeated over and over again for the last four years. A UFC fighter will get a knock at the door at around 6 a.m. The people or person coming calling at that hour wants to take a urine or blood sample to be tested. The protocol is part of the UFC’s anti-doping program under USADA and has become the norm for athletes in the promotion since 2015.
That exact situation happened Thursday morning to UFC featherweight Dan Ige. Except he found out afterward that the person taking his blood was not affiliated with USADA in any way.
Ige told MMA Fighting that a woman rang his doorbell at least six times around 6:30 a.m. local time in Las Vegas on Thursday morning. He answered the door and the woman, who had a foreign accent, said she wanted to take his blood. Still half asleep, Ige said he agreed, because he has done that numerous times for USADA as part of the process to prove he is a clean athlete.
“I’m used to that,” Ige said. “They usually show up, take my urine or take my blood. So I’m just kind of going through with it.”
So, the woman took Ige’s blood. Several vials of it, he said. Ige said he started to get suspicious when after she was done he asked her about filling out some forms, which is normal procedure with USADA.
“I was like, ‘Alright, are we gonna do some paperwork?’” Ige said. “Because normally USADA will come and do everything on the iPad. My declaration of whatever supplements I’m taking. She was like, ‘Oh, no paperwork. Everything is digital.’ I thought, maybe she’s new or something.”
Before the woman left, Ige said she asked him his last name. Then his first. Neither seemed to match up with the list she had.
“She was like, ‘You’re not John?’” Ige said. “John? No, I’m not John.”
As it turned out, the woman went to the wrong address. Ige said it’s easy to mistake his address for one across the street in the cul de sac. Ige said he got flustered at that point and asked her to leave — but forgot to get the vials of his blood back.
“She just took all my blood and at this point I’m like, ‘OK, get the f*ck out of my house,’” Ige said. “She took [my blood]. I didn’t even think like, hey at least give me my vials of blood. She took my blood. She had like a creepy little smile. She was joking. But she was so nice, to be honest. I didn’t want to curse her out or anything. I was like, ‘alright, you can leave now.’ It’s just so weird, what are the odds that they came to my house where I’m used to getting early wakeup calls with blood or urine tests?”
Ige said when he gets home Thursday from training he’s going to go to the address the woman was supposed to go to and see if he can get more information about who now has his blood.
“It’s just kind of crazy,” Ige said. “I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else. I don’t know if they need to change something. When USADA shows up, they don’t have like USADA uniforms. Sometimes they have their badges or whatever, but typically not.”
Ige said when doping control officers come to take his urine samples in Las Vegas, it’s usually the same two people. But when someone comes to take blood, it’s usually someone different. So, he didn’t think much of this, especially in his half-asleep state.
“It was kind of messed up,” said Ige, who tweeted about the crazy story Thursday morning. “Everyone is calling me stupid or whatever. I’m just following protocol. Yes, I should have asked for maybe ID or something.”
Getting those 6 a.m. wakeup calls from people wanting urine or blood samples is basically a way of life now for UFC fighters. It’s an inconvenience, but one that many make willingly in order to be part of what they desire to be a clean sport.
“I always cooperate,” said Ige, who is on a three-fight winning streak and seemingly about to break out in the 145-pound division. “I usually don’t question the people, like, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?’ I kind of expect them every time my doorbell is ringing that early. I’m like, ‘OK. Get in and get out’. I just want to be left alone.”
This time, though, it wasn’t USADA at all. Ige is still searching for answers.
“Someone f*cked up here,” Ige said. “I might have f*cked up, but they shouldn’t have done that.”