UFC President Dana White is constantly pushing the idea that MMA is a legitimate sport that should be held up alongside boxing and martial arts – but it turns out that at the last couple of UFC events, there was absolutely no drug testing done on any of the fighters.
Why not? Good question. In Nevada, where the UFC is based, the state commission is in charge of drug testing, and it’s the same in several other states. However, UFC 69 took place in Texas, where drug testing for such events is the job of the sanctioning organizations – meaning in this case that it was left up to the UFC themselves, as there’s no larger “sanctioning body.”
A Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation spokesman told the Houston Chronicle that they “have the authority to order drug testing, but did not for that event. Our rules didn’t anticipate a structure like this.”
UFC‘s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner told the Chronicle that he thought the main event was going to be tested. “I think maybe there was some confusion. Maybe they felt we were the sanctioning body and promoter all in one. When we went in there, we went strictly as the promoter. We can’t be judge and jury. We would have no authority to discipline the fighters.”
And at UFC 70 in England, there was also no drug testing done, though this time for slightly different reasons. While they’d agreed beforehand that they would be overseeing the drug testing this time, the UFC failed to carry it out. “They had no commission there. There was no drug testing there. We were ordering tests, but found we had no legal means to do it,” said the UFC’s Ratner.
Ten years ago mixed martial arts was nearly banned, and was only saved by the UFC’s agreeing to conduct drug testing, among other things. If the UFC hopes to take MMA fighting mainstream, they’d better come up with a way to handle this sort of situation.
-Mel, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Sources: AOL Sports, Houston Chronicle