UPCA UPDATE: WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE 10 MONTHS SINCE THE UNITED PHYSIQUE COMPETITORS ASSOCIATION WAS LAUNCHED
By Ben Yosef
GOSH, where do I even start?
I suppose, if you would like to know the back story, it would help to check out the issue of NaturalMag that started it all. The April 2015 issue. Click here to download it for free.
Let’s just go ahead and fast forward to present day. The International Physique League (IPL) has set a completely new standard with regards to many things in our sport, but when it comes to drug-testing, we have become the Gold Standard in Physique Competition.
I founded the IPL in order to finally offer drug-free Physique Athletes a TRULY level playing field. You may be thinking, “aren’t other drug-tested organizations also offering level playing fields and drug-free stages to compete on???” Well, that depends on a number of factors. For one, not all drug-testing protocols are created equal.
Let’s start with the actual collection of urine samples. BTW, testing urine is the most efficient (as well as cost-effective-yet NOT cheap) method of testing for banned substances. WHO is doing the actual sample collecting? The Promoter? The Promoter’s grandma? What substances are actually being tested for?
If an organization sanctions let’s say 20 events in a calendar year, is the exact same drug-testing protocol utilized at each event? Well, Shouldn’t it be??? What is the caliber of the testing lab??? All labs are NOT created equal.
What I discovered as a leading journalist in our industry is that the level of drug-testing discrepancy is appalling. You might have a really great promoter putting on a show sanctioned by a particular organization… And this promoter may actually attempt to carry (what he deems to be “good testing”), yet in the next state over you will have another promoter, with a show sanctioned by the same organization, who is cutting corners or not drug-testing at all, yet still waiving the “Natural Bodybuilding” flag in order to appeal to a certain demographic of competitor.
Or what’s even worse is that there are actually promoters AND FEDERATIONS (well, at least one BIG federation that I know of) that are actually collecting money for drug-testing and NOT USING IT FOR DRUG-TESTING.
So, what is the UPCA all about? Again, the UPCA was established to truly LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD. The UPCA (United Physique Competitors Association) has established a drug-testing protocol which is monitored by the UPCAA (United Physique Competitors Anti-doping Agency). The following are some of the key initiatives of the UPCA:
- WADA urinalysis drug testing.
- FULL UPCAA POLYGRAPHS (90 minutes). Polygrapher must be certified by the American Polygraph Association (APA)
- Trained 3rd party Urine Sample Collecting Agents.
- REC – Resource Exchange Center (Federations and athletes may call in or email with questions regarding specific drugs and supplements)
- 20% of athletes at each contest are urinalysis tested according to WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). ONLY WADA-affiliated testing facilities are used.
- Each member federation must have an official Anti-doping agent.
- $80 drug testing fee per competitor for every contest entered.
Since this association was launched, 15 months ago, only one organization is adhering to it. And that organization is the one that I founded, the IPL (International Physique League). And, in the 10 months since the IPL was launched we have identified 4 failed drug tests. And the failed athletes have been issued suspensions ranging from one year (For Ephedrine) to five years (for Furosemide/Lasix… an RX-grade diuretic).
We are following a razor sharp protocol as outlined in the last two pages and this protocol is adhered to at EVERY IPL contest event. From the use of Certified, independent Urine Sample Collectors, to the use of WADA-only laboratories.
The scary thing is everyone who enters an IPL contest is fully aware of our anti-doping program, yet we have still had failed drug-tests. This baffles me and at the same time makes my cringe at the thought of what is mostly likely going on throughout the rest of this sport, where the “drug-testing protocol” is…well, loose.
“Well I assure you, were are here to say and we are practicing what we preach.”
Some of the readers of this publication are fully aware of all (or most) of this. Yet, some of you have only been aware of me, the IPL, and even this publication (NaturalMag) for just a matter of months. Those of you who have been following may recall how rocky things were in the Spring of 2015 when a couple of bombshell announcements were made: The Launch of the UPCA as well as the IPL. Well I assure you, we are here to stay and we are practicing what we preach.
I have MASSIVE dreams for the sport and some day, soon, achieving the recognition that the drug-tested side truly deserves. This mission is my life’s work. My Magnum Opus. NMI