The UFC is almost sure to catch some heat from those who criticize the sport as the organization failed to test any fighters for drugs both pre and post UFC 69 and UFC 70, according to Steve Seivert of Brawl Sports. Here’s part of what Steve had to say:
“…drug testing at UFC 69 was the responsibility of the “sanctioning body” of the event. Well, there’s just one problem with that – the UFC itself was, in essence, the sanctioning organization for the event, which put the promotion in the awkward position of having to police its own fighters and administer drug tests. It did not.
In states such as California, Florida and Nevada, the UFC leaves the administration of drug testing up to the state commissions. That didn’t happen in Texas.”
Apparent miscommunication contributed to the non-testing. When asked about testing the UFC VP of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner seemed surprised no tests were done. Herein lies the problem: The UFC normally outsources drug tests to the sanctioning body which is almost always a state board like the Nevada State Athletic Comission. They then run the tests and hand down punishments if necessary. As far as I know the UFC has never done its own tests and doing so would be completely new to the organization.
Rather than put rules in place to allow them to test and punish their fighters the UFC simply didn’t test at all. If someone would happen to fail a test the UFC has no guidelines on how to fairly deal with the situation as they simply haven’t tested their own fighters in the past.
The situation was repeated just weeks later at UFC 70 when the UFC didn’t test their fighters yet again resulting in a lot of unanswered questions from state governing bodies and the media regarding how the UFC polices its own fighters.
My biggest problem with this situation is UFC 69 where Diego Sanchez, who failed a drug test in December, fought yet was never tested for performance enhancing or recreational drugs. I don’t mean to say he is the only one who should have been tested but I think a follow up really should have been done.
I have to commend Steve for his awesome reporting on picking up the story. The next UFC event, UFC 71, will be held in Las Vegas where drug testing rules are fully in effect but this situation may crop up again in June when the UFC heads to Ireland for UFC 72 but I wouldn’t be surprised it the UFC finds newfound “power” to test and punish its fighters by the time June 16th rolls around.