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UFC to Fund More Extensive PED Testing

Kelsey Mowatt

Dana White

There have been widespread calls for the Ultimate Fighting Championship to implement more extensive and effective drug testing in recent weeks, and the promotion says it plans to do just that.

The UFC held a press conference today in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the company’s President Dana White, CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and COO Lawrence Epstein were in attendance.

During the event, Fertitta announced that as of July 1st, 2015, every UFC fighter could be randomly tested, out-of-competition. In addition, every fighter who is set to compete in a main event or championship fight, will be subject to enhanced, out-of-competition drug testing.

The UFC is looking to partner with an established, third party organization, which will oversee the additional testing. The extra costs of conducting the more extensive procedures will be paid for by the UFC.

Both White and Fertitta also called on commissions to hand down harsher punishments and lengthier suspensions to PED users. The UFC officials say they support a minimum, two year suspension for first time offenders.

Currently, most fighters receive a nine month suspension for their first PED offense. As White noted, if you’re a wealthy, established fighter, a nine month suspension isn’t much of a deterrent.

Fertitta also relayed some interesting stats during the presser. According to the ZUFFA official, approximately 900 in-competition tests were conducted on UFC fighters throughout 2013-14. Only around 1.3% of those resulted in positive tests for PEDS.

But, of the 19 out-of-competition tests which were conducted during that time, 5 fighters failed (or roughly 26%).

So, now it will be interesting to see what unfolds in the coming months, in terms of fighters getting popped for banned substances. White argued during the presser that things will likely get worse, before they get better. He’s probably right.

If you missed it, the UFC also announced at the event that Robbie Lawler will face Rory MacDonald on July 11th.

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