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.

Related News

Brock Lesnar Informs UFC of Retirement from MMA, Removed from Drug Testing Pool

  • 12 days ago
  • 4 views

Brock Lesnar's mixed martial arts career appears to be over. A UFC spokesperson on Tuesday told MMA Fighting's Marc Raimondi the former UFC heavyweight champion informed the company of his retirement read news >>

Inside the impressive career facts and figures for UFC 208 co-headliner Anderson Silva

  • 18 days ago
  • 14 views

Former longtime pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva once again returns to the octagon on Saturday when he takes on Derek Brunson in the UFC 208 co-main event. Get a look at his impressive career numb read news >>

Brock Lesnar Retires from UFC, Exits Drug-Testing Pool | MMAWeekly.com

  • 12 days ago
  • 13 views

Brock Lesnar has retired from the UFC, effectively removing himself from the USADA drug testing pool. read news >>

UFC on FOX 23 video highlights: Jason Knight vs. Alex Caceres

  • 29 days ago
  • 7 views

In the biggest fight of his career, Jason Knight came through with flying colors, and “The Kid” may have graduated to manhood at UFC on FOX 23.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Holm, de Randamie look for career-defining wins; Silva, Brunson want more at UFC 208

  • 23 days ago
  • 2 views

Everyone that steps into the Octagon does so for their own reasons, but next Saturday night at Barclays Center, Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie will enter the UFC’s eight-sided proving ground wit read news >>

Scratched from UFC 208 due to eye issue, Luis Henrique says his career options now limited

  • 20 days ago
  • 10 views

Luis Henrique said his career options have dwindled after he was pulled from Saturday’s UFC 208 lineup. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Germaine de Randamie Looking to Solidify Fighting Career with UFC Title | MMAWeekly.com

  • 16 days ago
  • 3 views

The UFC will crown its first female 145-pound champion at UFC 208 on Saturday. Either Germaine de Randamie or Holly Holm will make history. read news >>

Anderson Silva Wins, Decisions Derek Brunson (UFC 208 Results) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 15 days ago
  • 6 views

Former middleweight champion Anderson Silva picked up his 34th career win on Saturday when he defeated Derek Brunson by unanimous decision at UFC 208. read news >>

Pena vs. Shevchenko Results: Winner and Reaction from UFC on Fox 23

  • 29 days ago
  • 7 views

With Ronda Rousey's career possibly over, the UFC women's bantamweight division is officially trying to move on. The first step in doing so? Determining the next challenger for reigning champion Aman read news >>

Daniel Omielanczuk Found to be 'Without Fault' After Testing Positive in UFC Anti-Doping Case | MMAWeekly.com

  • 20 days ago
  • 33 views

USADA announced on Monday that UFC athlete Daniel Omielanczuk has tested positive for a prohibited substance, but found "without fault." read news >>