UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC President Dana White hosted a press conference in Las Vegas, Nevada this afternoon to discuss UFC PEDs problem and how the promotion aim to combat it moving forward.
White revealed the confidential test report for Anderson Silva’s failed Jan 9 drug test. The test was conducted by the Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake CIty, Utah.
The lab received the sample on Jan 12, however the report wasn’t revealed to the UFC until 10am on Feb 3, which was White’s response to callings that the UFC had covered up Silva’s failed drug test to preserve the UFC 183 main event.
In 2013/2014, the UFC administered 900 tests, on 1,800 occasions. During that time, 10 fighters were popped for recreational drugs (1.1%) and 12 fighters caught using PEDs (1.3%). In terms of statistics and percentages that isn’t the UFC’s main problem, that lay with the fact that out of 19 competition UFC PEDs tests given, five tested positive, which is an alarming 26.3%.
So how are they going to solve the UFC PEDs problem? Fertitta announced as of July 1, 2015 a new, “enhanced” set of PED testing for all UFC fighters. The CEO announced that the UFC would work with local athletic commissions for stricter out of competition PED testing for main event and championship fighters, which will be around 96 fighters tested on an annual basis depending on the number of events.
All fighters on the roster; up to 585 on an annual basis, will be randomly drug tested out of competition from Summer 2015 as well, which the UFC state will be up to WADA testing standards.
“If you are using performance enhancing drugs, you are going to get caught,” said White. This is obviously a promising start to the UFC squashing the number of fighters using PEDs, but there is still a long way to go for the UFC and the sport of MMA to recover its largely diminished integrity
In terms of fiscal expenses, the UFC reportedly spent $500,000 of drug testing in 2013/2014, with the figure going forward now to be around several million dollars.
Fertitta also advocated longer suspensions and harsher penalties by athletic commissions for a fighter who is caught using PEDs.
It was also announced that Rory MacDonald will face Robbie Lawler for the welterweight championship on July 11. Hector Lombard was set to face MacDonald at UFC 186, but was removed from the fight after it was revealed he failed a UFC 182 post-fight drug test, testing positive for the anabolic steroid desoxymethyltestosterone.
UFC PEDs conference in brief: We messed up, we’re trying to fix things, but here’s an awesome fight we are making. Overall, it was a bit of a sh*t sandwich.
From a paradoxical standpoint, announcing a major championship fight at a press conference aimed at problematic drug use in MMA is a bit weird but you get what you’re given with the UFC.