Heavyweight Josh Barnett isn’t the only fighter who will undergo random testing prior to UFC 168; his opponent is on the hook, as well.
Travis Browne (15-1-1 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC), who fights Barnett (33-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC) on the pay-per-view event’s main card, will participate in the same WADA-certified program ordered for the ex-UFC champ by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, manager John Fosco confirmed with MMAjunkie.com.
As with Barnett, the UFC will foot the bill for Browne’s testing, NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer also confirmed with MMAjunkie.com.
“I think it’s a great idea, and I’m a big supporter of it,” Browne said in a statement released through Fosco. “I think our sport and the commission taking actions like this is putting us ahead of the game compared to other sports. We’re not putting out a fire. We’re attacking the problem before it becomes an epidemic.”
UFC 168 takes place Dec. 28 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. A middleweight title rematch between champ Chris Weidman and ex-champ Anderson Silva headlines the event. Co-headlining is a women’s bantamweight title rematch between champ Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, which takes place immediately after Barnett vs. Browne.
Browne, a three-time UFC “Knockout of the Night” winner, has fought eight times in the organization and has never failed a pre- or post-fight drug test. Barnett, meanwhile, has failed post-fight tests on two separate occasions, in 2001 and 2002, as well as one in 2009.
Prior to an NSAC meeting this past week that granted him a conditional fight license, Barnett told the NSAC that his post-fight failures arose from using supplements later reclassified as steroids. A pre-fight test failure was the likely result of a contaminated supplement, he also said, and added that he would never apply for a therapeutic-use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy.
As part of his licensure, Barnett will be subject to random testing for all of 2014. He passed a test that the commission administered this past month.
Browne and Barnett’s fight could determine the next heavyweight contender to champ Cain Velasquez, who is scheduled to meet Fabricio Werdum sometime in 2014. Browne and Barnett are riding high following stoppage victories over Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir, respectively.
The random testing program checks athletes for substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, an independent body dedicated to drug-free athletics. It requires an athlete to provide notice of his whereabouts at all times so that doping tests can be conducted at random. Tests for the NSAC will be conducted at a WADA-accredited lab in Salt Lake City.
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(Pictured: Travis Browne)