Can the UFC Survive Random Drug Testing?


Can the UFC Survive Random Drug Testing?

In the prime of his fighting career, Georges St-Pierre—the former welterweight king and pound-for-pound great—walked away from MMA just eight months ago, citing personal issues. 

Months after his departure, the MMA community gained greater insight on what St-Pierre’s concerns were partially hinged upon: the use of performance-enhancing drugs in MMA and the UFC

As the months went by, it became readily apparent that those sentiments were not unique to St-Pierre. Several other fighters, such as Brian Stann—who claimed that PEDs were a big reason he retired from the sport as well—believe athletic commissions were not doing enough to combat banned substances in MMA, telling Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour back in April (via MMAMania.com): 

I’m 33 years old, and I have seen, in my own training, and in talking and knowing guys in the inner circle, I’ve known what guys are not on, and when they cycle on it. You can feel the difference in the gym and what big a difference it makes, and I do think there are a number of guys who are using just because the testing currently our athletic commissions is inadequate.

Dana White and the UFC have always been quick to claim sufficient and successful drug testing, often stating that the promotion completes its own testing separate of any athletic commission. White first told ESPN’s Michelle Beadle on Sportsnation in April: 

PEDs have been cleaned up in the UFC. What people don’t realize is that the rule used to be that when commissions would test athletes, they’d do the main event and they’d have a couple of random tests. We’ve been testing everyone on the cards. Everyone’s being tested. It’s been a long time since anybody has tested positive for PEDs in the UFC.

St-Pierre didn't agree. He first told Helwani on The MMA Hour in March about how he indirectly disagreed with White’s sentiments (via MMAFighting.com): 

The system is not in place. There are no guidelines. The way they test now, it’s not good. It’s not good the way they test. If you get caught on steroids right now, it’s because you’re very disorganized. It’s so easy to beat the test. It’s ridiculous. It’s not a real test. 

Do you think PED-use is an issue in the UFC?

It’s only taken Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Alistair Overeem and Antonio Silva, among others, to prove St-Pierre’s sentiments true—random drug testing is the way to go. 

But for all the good random drug testing can provide MMA, it could do a lot of harm too.

Take Major League Baseball and the “steroids era,” for example. People weren’t as concerned about clean play as much as they were about seeing home run records be broken. They didn’t care that pitchers looked like they belonged on the cover of FITNESS Magazine as long as they were throwing heat and making dudes whiff. 

Eventually the dirty stuff hit the fan and a bright light was cast upon the shadows that aided cheaters—baseball was officially impure. Much to the credit of the sport’s already established position in the United States, baseball managed to survive. 

The UFC is big, but not MLB-big.

Currently the smelly, pimple-faced, rapidly growing teenager that it is, the UFC might not survive having some of its main attractions fall victim to random drug testing. 

MMA is still currently illegal in the state of New York. An ongoing, debilitating battle with PED users is not a card the UFC can afford to hold in its hands as it tries to convince the Yankee-faithful of its credibility as a sport in the land of the free and the home of the brave. 

That’s not to say that the sport shouldn’t implement random drug testing more often, though—it’s evidently successful in cleaning the sport and creating a more even playing field. But for a promotion that claims it cannot pay its lower-tier fighters more than $8,000 just to show up, there might not be enough money around to keep this party going once all the cool guys and girls have to go home.

Kristian Ibarra is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He also serves as the sports editor at San Diego State University's student-run newspaper, The Daily Aztec. Follow him on Twitter at @Kristian_Ibarra for all things MMA. 

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.
From Around the Web

Related News

  • 21 days ago
  • 1 views

As performance-enhancing drug use in MMA spins out of control, former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre pulls further away from a return. read news >>

  • 20 days ago
  • 34 views

The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Tuesday issued a statement regarding Hector Lombard's positive drug test result for steroids. read news >>

  • 20 days ago
  • 3 views

UFC 184 headliners Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano have been subjected to out-of-competition drug testing prior to their Feb. 28 bantamweight title fight, according California State Athletic Commission read news >>

  • 14 days ago
  • 1 views

As Cris "Cyborg" Justino gears up to make her much-anticipated return to mixed martial arts (MMA) against Charmaine Tweet on Feb. 27, 2015, in Los Angeles, Calif., at Invicta FC 11, the current feath read news >>

  • 14 days ago
  • 3 views

UFC light heavyweight Patrick Cummins would like to do his part to clean up mixed martial arts. Cummins, who is scheduled to fight Ovince Saint Preux at UFC on FOX 15 on April 18 in Newark, N.J., tol read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 24 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will hold a special media press conference today (Weds., Feb. 18, 2015) inside the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. The live video stream beings p read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 6 views

Because that's not how they roll in the great state of Texas. Random, out-of-competition drug testing has proven to be a recipe for success -- or disaster -- depending on how you look at it in mixed read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 109 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is going to take a stand against performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) -- yet again -- after failing to get through its last three pay-per-view (PPV) events without read news >>

  • 13 days ago
  • 1 views

LAS VEGAS—The Ultimate Fighting Championship today announced plans for sweeping changes to its overall drug-testing program that could change the face of mixed martial arts as we know it, including p read news >>