The UFC and the Issue of Steroids

November 7, 2008

Mike Straka’s FoxNews Fight Game recently had a roundtable discussion on steroids. John Moody of Tri-State Fighter asks some pointed questions about the UFC’s testing process. had some of the same questions and more in the wake of Chris Leben’s positive steroid test.

Anthony Torres tested positive on a Euro Card and was released while Leben gets a suspension. Was Torres under a one fight contract? If not, is there equal protection under the UFC’s steroid policy? If no, Why not? Is the decision based on what level the fighter is with the company (Torres being a newer guy vs Leben being a veteran)?

There seems to be a lack of transparency when it comes to the UK drug tests (Who what when where how many). Zuffa/UFC, being a private company, has transparency issues in many areas, especially financial items, which is understandable, but the lack of transparency in the drug testing area seems to be a PR problem. Will the company be taking any moves to increase transparency in the future?

There are also a couple of questions about the constitutional issues at play here – 2 in particular: (1) due process and (2) full faith and credit.

Issue (1) – What do you suppose would happen to Chris Leben if he were to question or challenge the handling of the drug test performed by the promoter, which he would have undoubtedly done if the drug test were performed by a neutral/State Commission. Undoubtedly Chris would have proclaimed his innocence and said that the testing was flawed on a variety of levels. In this case, Dana White credits Chris for “taking responsibility for his actions and taking the punishment”. What would have been Chris’ fate if he were to challenge the drug test? Also, what it the procedural process for challenging the drug test and for reinstatement?

Issue (2) – What do the other State Athletic/Licensing Commissions do to Chris Leben’s license? Do they offer full faith and credit to the “State” of UFC’s “sanctioning” body and recognize the UFC’s suspension? As mentioned above, what is the procedural process for reinstatement?

The Promotional Agreement has a provision (section 9.5 in the copy I have) that permits the UFC to conduct drug tests of its fighters and to fine and/or suspend the fighter for positive drug test (generally section 9.6) – what recourse does the fighter have and where does the money/fine go? reached out to Marc Ratner with some of these same questions. Ratner is VP of Government and Regulatory Affairs for the UFC and seems to be the point man for the testing on the Euro cards. Ratner referred back to the UFC’s press release regarding Leben’s suspension, leaving the questions unanswered.

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