The Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) has announced a "multi-year" contract with the International Testing Agency (ITA) to manage its anti-doping programme.
The GAMMA said the deal - which has an extension option - was part of its goal to become compliant with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations.
The organisation is a rival to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF), which launched legal action against WADA after its bid to become a World Anti-Doping Code signatory was rejected and is struggling to gain recognition from the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).
According to the GAMMA, the ITA will oversee its anti-doping programme, including in-competition testing, results management, therapeutic use exemptions, risk assessment and test-distribution planning.
The ITA is also expected to help update GAMMA anti-doping rules, ensuring they follow WADA’s policies, and roll out an education programme for athletes.
"By signing the agreement we show that the sport of MMA welcomes an independent body for doping controls and sanctioning," said GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt.
"With the ITA agreement, GAMMA can ensure the independency of the program, but more importantly, it shows its determination to fight against doping.
"Through ITA we have the highest level of expertise on clean sport available.
"This is the first step to facilitate synergies with other mixed martial arts promotions to promote harmonised anti-doping efforts under the ITA umbrella."
The ITA feels the agreement signals the GAMMA’s intention to become a World Anti-Doping Code signatory.
The GAMMA is therefore likely to be assessed by WADA and a signatory expert group.
The drug-testing umbrella body said it would also be "attentive" to any future WADA decisions made over the GAMMA’s signatory status.
"The ITA has a broad expertise in managing anti-doping programmes for combat sports," said Benjamin Cohen, director general of the ITA.
"As part of our mandate to fight doping independently, we stand ready to support any organisation with its anti-doping efforts.
"We look forward to assisting GAMMA and providing them with the needed expertise and independence to establish a robust anti-doping programme."