Dana Talks to The Edge About Loretta-Gate, Steroids

May 28, 2009

Dana White spoke with gay and lesbian lifestyle website Boston Edge during the UFC 98 show, part of which can be seen in his videoblog. The actual interview itself is up on their website and you can read more in depth on his discussion about the GLAAD situation and the fallout. That is well trodden territory at this point, so check out the link for more info on the subject. There were a few other general interest items, one of which caught my eye.

The interviewer hit on the subject of steroids and the UFC’s policy:

EDGE – Steroids in sports are a hot topic lately. Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez are a few who have been implicated in PED use. It seems like every day another top name gets linked to the culture. Can you explain how UFC fighters are tested?

We comply with each state’s athletic commission. Every state athletic commission randomly test a number of fighters before the fight and then EVERY fighter is tested after the fight.

EDGE – So does the UFC do any additional testing?

Right now the Ultimate Fighter is the grass roots for us. All the guys who come in and try out for the Ultimate Fighter are background checked and drug tested. Not only for steroids but any other drug as well. I think we already have a tough policy for steroids.

“We comply with each state’s athletic commission.” Check

“Every state athletic commission randomly test a number of fighters before the fight and then EVERY fighter is tested after the fight.”

Not every state tests before a fight, Las Vegas is a leader in this respect and reserves the right to do so but even they went several cards without exercising that right (Ivan Trembow did some excellent reporting on this for MMAWeekly, he will be missed greatly over there). They did decide to pre-test this time, selecting 4 out of the 22 fighters on the card for UFC 98. The UFC itself doesn’t test before fights in Europe, otherwise they would have pinched Chris Leben for juicing prior to his Bisping fight. The state commissions also don’t test everyone on the card after the fights. UFC 98 drug tests aren’t back in yet but on the most recent Vegas card prior to that, UFC 92, 12 of 20 fighters were tested.

“Right now the Ultimate Fighter is the grass roots for us. All the guys who come in and try out for the Ultimate Fighter are background checked and drug tested. Not only for steroids but any other drug as well. I think we already have a tough policy for steroids. ”

So if you didn’t start off in TUF and haven’t fought overseas, is it quite possible a fighter has never had to take a Zuffa administered drug test? Looks that way.

The UFC has a policy, that much is true, but I don’t think anyone would describe it as tough. I have expressed my issues with the UFC’s steroid policies in the past: here, here, and here. I’ll say again what I’ve said before: the policy as it is currently constituted is too piecemeal and lacking openness and transparency to be considered effective. The UFC needs to have a fully realized policy (preferably one published on their website) that includes unannounced out of competition testing. Only then can fans believe they are not watching the MMA equivalents of Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez fighting in the cage.

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