Former UFC champ Holly Holm first to be honored for 50 clean USADA tests
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm is the first MMA athlete to be honored for submitting 50 “flawless” drug tests to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
During a presentation Thursday at her home gym, Jackson-Wink MMA, Holm (13-5 MMA, 6-5 UFC) was given a custom letterman’s jacket by UFC VPs of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky and Donna Marcolini for her achievement.
Holm, 38, is the first UFC athlete to be recognized for hitting the 50-test milestone of clean samples. Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former featherweight champ Jose Aldo reached the milestone around the same time as Holm, and a UFC official told MMA Junkie they are expected to be recognized at future events.
Holm’s clean drug testing history dates back to the start of her UFC tenure in 2015 and is still ongoing. Novitzky said Holm provided a 51st sample just prior to being recognized for reaching the landmark number.
“It’s an honor to get this and I’m thankful that there is the test because I know that I’m facing someone who’s also clean,” Holm told MMA Junkie upon receiving her jacket. “I’ve never wanted to use any kind of performance-enhancing (drugs) because it’s something I wanted to know that I know my own hard work and my will and my passion and everything is something I’ve always relied on for a victory. I feel like it always gave me more of a confidence boost going in know that I went in and did it myself and didn’t have any help. I think that’s my mentality for it.”
In her UFC debut year of 2015, Holm submitted seven clean samples to USADA. She provided 10 in 2016, 15 in 2017, six in 2018 and 12 in 2019. There have been many fighters who have had test failures along the way (some legitimate and others not), but Holm has not had so much as a hiccup.
Novitzky said Holm is worthy of the distinction and praised her for setting the standard.
“Her performance inside the octagon is clear, she’s a legend, but I think what this shows and what all of us know internally, is that Holly Holm is as much as a legend, a role model and a leader outside of the octagon as she is in the octagon,” Novitzky said. “I’m so proud to be able to be up front and observe her career and have her be that leader and that role model for the UFC and our program. Not just to other UFC athletes, but to other MMA athletes from other promotions, other professional athletes and to young boy and girl athletes throughout the world. Holly Holm is the epitome of a leader and a role model.”
The UFC/USADA relationship has been imperfect at times, but Holm said it has been for the betterment of the sport to ensure a level playing field. There have been situations that span from intentional use to athletes caught in the crosswind of a tainted supplement. But Holm has kept her name out of the headlines since Day 1.
The former UFC champ said her goal is to make sure that remains the case for the duration of her fighting career.
“I still get really curious about all the different supplements because, people out there are taking stuff that they don’t even know that they’re taking, or not intentionally wanting to take,” Holm said. “I’m just really glad we have programs like this that help us out, that let us know and have confidence in what we’re taking. I’m going to try to keep doing well going forward, and having victories, and doing the best I can for my legacy.”