UFC welterweights BJ Penn and Rory MacDonald have agreed to submit to Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) style testing prior to UFC 152. The testing will be the first of its kind in mixed martial arts. VADA will conduct their independent testing at the companies expense. VADA announced the Penn’s decision yesterday afternoon with MMAJunkie reporting that MacDonald would submit to the testing as well.
VADA testing involves eight weeks of random blood and urine tests with the results being sent directly to the Association of Boxing Commissions, the Ontario Athletic Commission, and the UFC.
Penn originally agreed to the testing months ago but hesitated when he found out that VADA reports the test results prior to the fight rather than after. This differs from standard drug-testing protocols that reveal the results of tests after the fight rather than before. Since any discrepancies in the results for either fighter would cancel the fight, Penn was worried about a conflict of interest with the UFC.
UFC President Dana White infamously fired Nate Marquardt due to his fight being called off by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission for elevated pre-fight levels of testosterone.
It appears that VADA has since allayed those concerns however as the agreement was reached with both fighters.
According to VADA’s online bio:
“Professional athletes will volunteer to be subject to unannounced testing at any time during the eight weeks prior to a scheduled fight. As in the Olympic program, an agreement to participate will require fighters to officially inform us of their daily whereabouts, so that they can be tested per the program. Athletes will agree that all results are immediately released to the appropriate adjudicating commission overseeing their upcoming contest. VADA has arranged for a World Anti-Doping Agency approved laboratory to conduct the tests and an internationally-recognized anti-doping group to collect the specimens and maintain the chain of custody.
Perhaps VADA’s most significant role will be to educate both amateur and professional boxers and mixed martial artists, commissions, trainers and public on the hazards of PED use. We will advise athletes regarding safe and PED-free supplements that can be utilized during training through our web site educational materials, pod casts, YouTube videos and periodic chats with nutritional and conditioning experts. VADA will maintain a hotline for athletes to contact experts regarding legal and illegal substances and training regimens. Experts and athlete volunteers can participate in on-line forums and host educational seminars regarding safe training methods, weight loss and hydration.”
UFC 152 takes place September 22 live from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The card will be headlined by the inaugural flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Joe Benavidez. The card will also feature a bout between middleweight contenders Michael Bisping and Brian Stann.