11 days after Deadspin article, UFC responds
October 4, 2015
The UFC provided an official response to the Deadspin article written by Josh Gross which reported that the UFC may have known that Vitor Belfort had been using synthetic testosterone.
According to the Deadspin article, an email erroneously sent by Zuffa to fight managers and others with Belfort’s drug test results prior to his title fight with Jon Jones at UFC 152 showed that he had free testosterone levels that were two and a half times above that of the average man for his age. Zuffa attempted to claw back the email and threatened those that did not delete it with “judicial remedies” if they did not comply.
Eleven days after the Deadspin article was published, the UFC finally responded to the article. Notably, UFC’s PR head Dave Sholler responded with stating that a “cover-up” was “categorically false.”
Via MMA Junkie:
“Any suggestion or inference there was a cover-up is just categorically false,” Sholler said. “That period of time with TRT is one that was very tricky for everyone – for the UFC, for athletic commissions, and for athletes alike.”
Bloody Elbow added additional insight on the Belfort situation to which the UFC did not respond to requests for comment as noted in the article. It is not known whether the UFC has responded to this article specifically although one might guess it would be the same response as that given regarding the Deadspin article.
Notably, Dana White was not the one making the statement on the Deadspin article at the news conference Saturday night. It’s interesting to point out that it took USADA 8 days to reply to a scathing report by Thomas Hauser although it had issued a press release denouncing the article a day after Hauser’s article was published. The UFC response (or lack thereof) is an interesting view on media relations and the need to respond to news which affects the company. Perhaps the UFC thought that not responding to the article would mean it would go away. This does not seem like the way to address a PR situation. We shall see if there will be more of a response to the UFC or if we see them attempt to get past the situation.