From Rafael Palmeiro To Rafael Feijao: Why UFC Needs To Begin Testing Their Own Fighters
From corked bats to loaded gloves, there have always been ways for unscrupulous athletes to tip the odds in their favor. MMA is no different from any other sport in this respect. The reality of the situation is that Dana White has forced individuals to question the UFC’s steroid policy because of how he runs his business. Now, I don’t want anyone to think that we are bashing Dana White or his business. Nothing could be further from the truth. That’s not what we mean when we say that White has forced the hand of the media.
Dana White will tell just about anybody who will listen about the greatness of the UFC. Zuffa’s purchase of the UFC saved the organization from the brink of extinction and resurrected it into a global phenomenon that struck a major network deal with FOX recently. White is less than shy about the fact that he plans to turn the UFC into one of the largest sports in America. He intends for his organization to rival the four major sports. It is in this sense that Dana White has forced the hand of the media. If your aim is to have your sports organization received on the same level as MLB, NHL, NBA, and NFL then fan expectations are sure to follow.
Among the more reasonable expectations fans are entitled to have, an atmosphere free of substance abuse, steroids, and steroid-related controversy has to be near the top of the list. This has to be one of the safest and most reasonable expectations a fan can have. MMA fans are fickle. This topic isn’t even up for debate and anyone who claims otherwise needs to be slapped with a dose of reality. However, I think demanding a clean sport and demanding a high-profile main event every time someone orders a PPV card are two entirely different expectations. Any sporting organization/event worth its salt has policies in place to prevent athletes from using PEDs. Except for one, that is.
Let us be clear about the fact that we are not suggesting the UFC couldn’t care less about PEDs. They do have a policy in place that requires fighters to submit to a drug test before they sign with the organization and athletes are randomly tested by the athletic commissions before and after the fights, but that is about the extent of the UFC’s policy on PEDs. As it is with most combat sports, the UFC relies upon the testing policies and procedures of the athletic commissions. To say that the athletic commissions have their heads up their ass about the issue would be the grossest understatement since “Houston, we have a problem.”
Before we go any further I feel it is necessary to frame this article and explain how we went about examining these issues. We decided that the best approach to this article would be to have one person examine PEDs/TRT and Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) in the four major sports while the other individual took an in-depth look at the MMA side of things. Here is where you would insert MMA fans claiming how different their sport is and that it should be kept separate from the other sports. This kind of thinking is part of the problem.
While I understand that many MMA fans do not watch other sports, care about other sports, or follow up on other sports, the steroid problem isn’t specific to the UFC. To discount the public beatings and changes other sports, most notably the MLB, have gone through is akin to watching your friend burn his hand because he wanted to see if the stove was hot and then trying it yourself. The amount of foolishness involved in this line of thinking is absolutely absurd. Not only should the UFC be paying attention to PED issues in other sports, they should be learning from them. After all, isn’t White’s goal to have the UFC on par with these other organizations? How does one accomplish that by failing to use some of their models for success?
The Issue At Hand
MMA Fighting’s Ben Fowlkes recently wrote an article claiming that the UFC shouldn’t have to institute a policy within their organization. With all due respect to a Ben, this is the most asinine thing I have seen in a long time. The MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL all conduct testing. Almost every single organization, including the WWE, conducts their own testing as well. To say that the UFC shouldn’t do the same because of the in-house problems it may or may not cause is absolutely absurd. To be fair to Ben, he does say that it isn’t as impossible as Dana White makes it sound, but that point is basically rendered moot when he vocalizes his beliefs that the UFC doesn’t need to be the one to issue the tests. They absolutely do need to be the one issuing the tests. It’s their name attached to the product, Ben. You are what you market and sell; any businessman would tell you the same. You’re only as good as your product.
Furthermore, I take umbrage with the way Fowlkes suggests that the UFC does “more” than any other organization as if their current policy is even remotely close to acceptable. Now, White did tell the Los Angeles Times, in an exclusive interview:
“Yes. We’re going to do our own testing, order these guys into [a lab]; we’re sorting it out now. You have to do this to save the sport. You can’t have these guys fighting on this stuff,” White said.
So, apparently Dana White and the UFC have changed their tone from April of this year to May, but that’s also part of the problem. The UFC cannot afford to play the back and forth game with testing like Major League Baseball did in the 90’s. The UFC, despite the world-wide audience, does not have the historical past and multi-generational fan base that MLB enjoyed. The organization would not survive the lambasting that baseball took from the press and Congress.
I have a great deal of respect for Ben Fowlkes, but we sit on two sides of the same fence. Ben believes that the onus for testing should fall on the athletic commissions. At least, that was my take-away from quotes like this: “The Nevada State Athletic Commission reminded us of the effectiveness of random testing when it popped Overeem for elevated testosterone levels in a surprise test just a couple weeks ago. It’s exactly that sort of testing that commissions should be doing more of, even if they also have very valid reasons for why they aren’t.”
Ben also claims that “the UFC shouldn’t be responsible for being its own PED watchdog. That’s not fair to the fighters or to the UFC.”
Here again, Ben loses me. I can’t think of a single precedent set by another organization to support Ben’s claim. Even UEFA has begun administering surprise drug tests to athletes. I am not sure what Ben meant when he said that it wasn’t fair to the fighters, so I won’t speculate. While there are those who claim that boxing doesn’t do this either, I would like to point out that the UFC is a company while boxing is a sport. Boxing, by itself, cannot demand that athletes submit to random testing.
Moving along, I will say that I think it is fair to ask the UFC to ensure that they’re employing fighters who can play by the rules, however. Fans are within their rights to ask for something like this. We are the ones who pay for the card, we are the ones who invite our friends and family over for these events, and we are the ones who are ultimately disappointed when a fighter must be pulled from an event because he tested hot. To claim that we are the only ones affected would be absurd, but this is a reasonable claim fans can make. I realize that fans and media make a lot of obscene demands from White, but I don’t feel like this is one of them.
UFC, MLB, TUE, & TRT
For those who were living under a rock or just chose not to pay attention, Major League Baseball had a steroid epidemic unlike anything the country had ever seen in the 90’s. I’m not sure that baseball has ever recovered from that and likely won’t be able to recover until the last of the remaining players from that era have retired. NBC Sports wrote a timeline covering how the steroid era of baseball unfolded. Much like what’s happening in MMA, a clear pattern of players denying steroid use, claiming the substances they were using weren’t banned at the time, and fighting back and forth over how to deal with the issue, is visible.
If you wanted to break the problem down to the most basic of levels, players were avoiding any sort of penalty by simply claiming that they were using it for [insert reason here] and that it was not banned at the time. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Rather than deal with the epidemic and address the rampant steroid problem, the parties involved argued back and forth over whose responsibility it was and whether or not it was fair. One could actually make the argument that Donald Fehr, the MLBPA Executive Director, damn near made dealing with these issues impossible. Alas, I digress.
Much like Fowlkes’ argument, the issues of whether or not we could demand such things from the athletes was called into question. Baseball eventually got their crap together and went with Selig’s initial proposal, but only after they had exhausted every single other viable option to avoid testing. As it stands right now, a player is to be suspended 50 games for their 1st positive test and 100 games for their 2nd. Also located within the previous link is an extensive timeline of MLB’s drug testing policy. It is also worth noting that these punishments are standard protocol in baseball. It doesn’t matter if an athlete is the star player on a team headed to the World Series.
As it stands right now, the SAC’s are the only organizations that are handing out tangible punishments to fighters who test positive. The UFC has retained independent testing firms for events taking place overseas. For the most part, the UFC has either cut the fighter from their organization or let them serve out their suspension from the athletic commissions. Therein lays the rub. The UFC doesn’t do anything to the fighters. Regardless of what White may or may not claim, there is no standard protocol for how the UFC, strictly as an organization, handles PED-positive tests. Nothing that’s transparent, at least. Thiago Silva returned to the organization without much fanfare after trying to avoid a test by submitting animal urine. The guy submitted animal urine and still has a job. This is unacceptable.
I am not calling for Silva to be fired. Actually, I rather enjoy watching Silva fight and I am a big believer in second chances. That said, this example illustrates that the UFC deals with these fighters on a case-by-case basis and that is simply not conducive to running an athletic organization. For a policy to be effective, it must be unilateral and without bias. Simply put, Alistair Overeem should not be treated differently than Joe-Bob Sclevich who is fighting on the undercard. It is time for people to stop using a fighter’s contributions to the UFC as a basis for giving them less of a punishment. If anything, these fighters should be punished more sternly to set an example for the younger fighters.
This actually segues nicely into the fighters that have claimed TRU for TRT after they have tested for high testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) levels. This has been a growing concern within the world of mixed martial arts and is showing no signs of slowing down. The most recent case of this occurring involved Alistair Overeem. The heavyweight was scheduled to face Junior Dos Santos for the UFC HW title at UFC 146. Overeem failed his pre-fight drug test. He tested for a staggering 14:1 T/E level. Overeem was pulled from the bout and replaced with Frank Mir who would later prove to be a TRT patient himself. The World Anti-Doping Agency allows for a 4:1 ratio and the NSAC allows for a 6:1 ratio.
The UFC has seen a variety of TRT related issues involving their fighters. Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt are notable examples of the UFC having to do damage control because of a TRT-related problem. I am not here to argue for or against the usage of TRT in MMA. I possess neither the medical expertise nor a pre-existing medical condition that would make me a pseudo-expert on the issue. I will leave the effectiveness, need, and applications of TRT to those qualified to make such claims. I will, however, provide you with some interesting facts and statistics about TEU in other sports. Additionally, I will also provide you with information about blood-related testing issues such as HGH in other sports.
The Numbers You Really Came Here To See
Major League Baseball is currently the only organization that releases an annual drug report including individuals who qualified for TUE. The 2010 report by Major League Baseball found that 110 individuals had qualified for TUE. Now, the most interesting part of this number is that 105 of these individuals received TUE for A.D.D. medication. Only 5 individuals received TUE for something other than prescription medication for a neurological issue unrelated to health. Contrast that with the number of Zuffa fighters who have claimed TUE for their elevated T/E levels just in the past year and a half. Interestingly enough, the other five individuals were 2 cases of hypertension and a case each of hypogonadism, narcolepsy, and post-concussion syndrome.
Now, per White’s own admission, the UFC employs around 400 fighters (I am rounding up), but the MLB tested 3,714 individuals in 2010. The MLB’s 2011 report was very similar to their 2010 report. 112 players qualified for TUE in 2011. Once again, Attention Deficit Disorder medication led the way with 105 TUEs granted. 3868 tests for performance-enhancing drugs and/or stimulants were performed in 2011. The organization managed to test almost ten times the amount of athletes that the UFC employees. Hell, they even managed to release a public report on the testing itself. It is worth noting that HGH has not received a single TUE since this report was made public in 2008. While I am not comparing HGH to TRT, I am simply noting that hormonal treatments have not been approved in any of the four major sports under TUE, at least none that I could find. Nevada has approved 4 TUEs for TRT alone with Sonnen expected to be the 5th. (Roller, Duffee, Mir, & Henderson were the other 4 in case you were wondering and Duffee isn’t even 30.)
Once again, I am not making an argument for TRT one way or the next, but I certainly take issue with a fighter claiming that it was therapeutic usage only after they were caught. Rich Franklin told MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani that even he has kicked around the idea of using TRT. He did specify that he had taken to proper steps to ensure that everything was medically approved, but he’s explored the possibility of TRT as I am sure a number of fighters have done in their career. What stands out to me most is the amount of testosterone-related TUEs that have been granted by the MLB as compared to those granted by the SAC’s.
The World Anti-Doping Agency makes use of the TUE provision, but have a strict set of criteria for applicants. Per WADA’s website:
The criteria are:
- The athlete would experience significant health problems without taking the prohibited substance or method
- The therapeutic use of the substance would not produce significant enhancement of performance, and
- There is no reasonable therapeutic alternative to the use of the otherwise prohibited substance or method.
Exactly how many of these athletes would experience SIGNIFICANT health problems without TRT? More to the point, who is testing the veracity of these claims? Are we just assuming that their doctor legitimately thinks they need TRT? Have they even explored alternative therapies? Randy Couture even stated that he replaced the testosterone in his body the natural way and he’s one of the oldest guys in MMA. If he can do it naturally, are we really to believe that a physical freak like Overeem couldn’t do it?
To quote my good friend Mike Hammersmith, “If Overeem needs testosterone replacement therapy, what does that say about the rest of humanity?”
The UFC could turn to WADA for TUEs due to TRT. Even the NFL was exploring using WADA to test their athletes. Whatever the UFC decides to do with TRT, they need to implement a policy that expressly forbids fighters from claiming TUE after a positive test. It’s an insult to White, the UFC, and the fans to think we are dumb enough to think a grown adult forgot to file the medical paperwork for TRT. This is especially true when so many fighters have been busted right before them and tried the same excuse. Even I would file the paperwork for TRT at this point and I’m not even an athlete. It’s just known that you’re required to do so.
Steroids in Mixed Martial Arts
As far as positive tests for steroids, there have been 4 positive tests by Zuffa fighters in 2012 and the year is only half over. This might not seem like a large number, but you have to remember that fighters are barely tested by athletic commissions and are only pre-screened by the UFC prior to employment. Two of the fighters in question had the steroid cloud hanging over their head LONG before they were actually caught. Of those 4 fighters, all 4 of them were current or ex-champions within the organization. This begs the question, if 4 people at the top are using, what is everyone else doing? I hate to slide down that slippery slope, but we have little idea what is actually going on because of the limited testing in MMA. For those who remember correctly, the MLB only agreed to do complete random testing if more than 5% of the league tested positive when they initially administered the tests. More than 5% tested dirty.
31 MMA fighters have tested positive for something or another since 2007. Think about that for a second and realize that this is without random testing. I wonder if Ben still thinks the UFC shouldn’t have to test its own fighters. The WWE Wellness Policy states that the WWE can administer a drug test of any kind to their athletes upon request. They can even blood test their athletes and anyone in the business will tell you that blood tests are almost unheard of in any sort of professional sports organization. I will acknowledge that Player Associations and Unions are the biggest reason why blood testing isn’t allowed, but they aren’t the only reason it’s not the status quo.
Here is where I am going to turn things over to my friend and colleague, Alex Donno.
Mr. Webb and I share a passion and desire to see the UFC become clean from PED’s. To understand my zeal on this issue, you must first understand why steroids are so much more dangerous in the UFC than they are in a sport like baseball.
The “steroid problem” in baseball is primarily an issue of competitive advantage. Players use PED’s for three basic reasons:
- To hit the ball harder and farther
- To pitch the ball faster
- To recover more rapidly from injury
Baseball fans are disgusted by steroids because those who use them are creating an unfair competitive advantage. The idea that a juiced up player like Barry Bonds holds the record for career home runs (762) is unsettling. However, Bonds didn’t punch and kick people in the face for a living. As an alleged steroid user, Barry Bonds was hurting the game of baseball (in a figurative sense) but he wasn’t physically hurting other people.
In a pure combat sport like mixed martial arts, fighters who use PED’s are not only creating an unfair competitive advantage, they are unfairly increasing their ability to injure other men. So far, in the UFC’s short history, there has never been a death caused by injuries sustained in a fight. Dana White boasts the apparent fact that the UFC is safer than mainstream sports like football and hockey. However, increasing PED use puts this stellar safety record in jeopardy. Imagine this scenario: two fighters enter the Octagon, one of which is on steroids and the other all natural. The juiced up fighter beats up the natural fighter so badly, that he sustains a serious head injury, or worse. A post fight drug test reveals the winning fighter to be a PED user. Not only would such a scenario create a public relations nightmare, but it could have been prevented by random, prefight testing. Now, one would hope that a competent referee would stop the fight before such a point is reached, but should a safety concern such as this be left in his hands? Dana White and the Fertitta brothers have spent over a decade tirelessly building the UFC into a multi-billion dollar empire. It would potentially only take one death in the Octagon to make that entire empire crumble.
Like any other MMA promotion, the UFC relies on state athletic commissions for regulation and drug testing. There’s no denying that commissions are necessary. Without the regulation of a separate entity providing judges, referees, and broad supervision, it would theoretically be easy for a promoter to incur multiple conflicts of interest. But in the matter of drug testing, specifically, it’s worth questioning whether or not the UFC should trust commissions to do enough.
Athletic Commissions Failing the System
One glaring problem is the fact that not all SAC’s are created equal. Commissions in states like New Jersey, California, and Nevada are considered the gold standard. Earlier this year, a random prefight test issued by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) revealed elevated testosterone levels in UFC 146 co-headliner Alistair Overeem. Overeem was ultimately denied a license in the state, and pulled from the fight card. Without a doubt, this is an instance where the NSAC should be applauded. However, the reality is, most states don’t have the money or the resources to issue random pre-fight tests. In fact, some states don’t test at all, unless the promoter is footing the bill. Such is the case in Louisiana, where the commission doesn’t receive any funding from the state. Some other states, like Washington, only issue mandatory tests for title fights. The majority of states who do perform random testing can only afford post fight tests. In other words, a fighter’s drug use isn’t discovered until after the fight takes place. If the goal here is fighter safety, doesn’t such a process seem counterintuitive? The hope here is that the threat of a post-fight test will serve as a deterrent to potential PED users. While it may deter some, the volume of fighters who have failed post-fight tests since 2002 proves it’s far from an exact science. Furthermore, the stats from the above timeline show positive tests coming from 3 sources: The NSAC, CSAC (California State Athletic Commission), and the UFC’s independent testing overseas. Are we supposed to believe that the only fighters to ever use PED’s happened to be fighting in Nevada, California, or overseas? These stats aren’t a coincidence; they’re a glaring indictment of the failed testing procedures from most state athletic commissions.
If the testing standards don’t improve across the board, the sheer number of fighters to experiment with PED’s will only grow. The competitive landscape of the UFC, where fighters who don’t perform can be cut from the roster at any time, creates the natural urge for fighters to gain any physical advantage possible. And the trend is not limited to struggling mid-tier and below fighters. So far this year, four fighters under the Zuffa LLC umbrella (UFC and Strikeforce) have tested positive. All four of them, Cristiane Santos, Muhammed Lawal, Alistair Overeem, and Rafael Cavalcante, are current or former champions. Four of the world’s elite fighters have allegedly cheated within the past six months. If you look through the past decade, they aren’t alone. Sean Sherk and Josh Barnett are former UFC champions, and they’ve been popped for PED’s. Despite these pitfalls, MMA is still considered a rapidly growing sport. But how many champions and championship contenders need to come up positive before the fan base decides they’ve seen enough?
Predictability of testing is a big problem. While some fighters may jump into PED use with reckless abandon, most offenders do so with at least a minimal understanding of how to outwit the testing process. If a fighter is aware that the only time he may be tested is during the week of his fight, he can take some necessary steps in beating the test. By ending a steroid cycle weeks or months prior to a fight, and implementing “post cycle therapy” (PCT), his testosterone levels could return to an acceptable range by fight week. Such a process is referred to as “out of competition” PED use. This isn’t an error-proof system, though, since every banned substance has different properties, and every individual body responds differently. Some fighters, like UFC light heavyweight Thiago Silva, have turned to masking agents or synthetic urine to try and beat the test. PED testing should be a pop quiz, not an open book test. Fighters will not truly be deterred from using unless they are subject to random, “out of competition” testing.
The UFC Moving Forward
It’s easy for us all to agree that PED’s in MMA are a growing problem. It’s also easy to theorize that random testing would go a long way to help nip this issue in the bud. The hard part is deciding what the UFC can and should do to address it. It’s no longer a question of if, but how? After previously stating that it would be “impossible” for the UFC administer random testing to over 375 fighters, Dana White now plans to move forward with testing to “save the sport.” Overeem’s failed test in March seems to have been the breaking point. While White’s plan hasn’t been detailed yet, it’s likely the UFC will contract an independent and accredited testing agency like the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) or the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Yahoo! Sports columnist Kevin Iole addressed the costs of such an endeavor in a recent piece, with VADA founder Dr. Margaret Goodman estimating an expense of between $1 and $1.5 million a year for the UFC to test each of their fighters twice (at random) annually. For a company with pockets as deep as the UFC, that’s a small price to pay for fighter safety. The UFC simply cannot afford to rely on the inconsistency of state athletic commissions.
A number of prominent fighters are getting fed up with the current testing landscape. The growing group of cheaters is only making things less fair for those who choose to remain clean. UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos aims to lead by example, by subjecting himself to random blood testing. It’s a noble move by dos Santos, and we can only hope the UFC takes notice. As great as it is to see a self-proclaimed “clean fighter” submit himself to random tests, I wouldn’t expect any of the dirty ones to follow suit voluntarily.
The Ongoing TRT Problem
The other troubling trend in the UFC is the increasing occurrence of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). For fighters who legitimately possess a medical condition where their testosterone is clinically low, TRT can be viewed as a necessity, in order for them to compete at a level playing field (again, you can take a look at WADA’s criteria here). Even so, it’s an unnatural solution to enhance performance. For that reason, it raises an ethical debate as to whether or not every athlete should be forced to compete with the hand he’s dealt. It’s a debate I won’t touch on, but there’s a different question worth asking: how easy is it for fighters who don’t actually need TRT to gain therapeutic use exemptions (TUE’s) to use it? According to MMAJunkie.com medical columnist Dr. Johnny Benjamin, the percentage of men between the ages of 25 and 35 in the general population who face clinically low testosterone is less than one or two percent. Five current and former UFC fighters have received TUE’s for TRT in Nevada: Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir, Todd Duffee, Shane Roller, and Dan Henderson. Out of the five, the only one over the age of 35 is Henderson (41). Duffee, the youngest on the list, is only 26! In a perfect world, you’d like to think that doctors who put their patients on TRT will only do so when it’s absolutely necessary. However, Benjamin points out that some fighters have “destroyed or significantly injured their hormone producing glands” from previous steroid use. In essence, they may be trying to correct a problem that wasn’t incurred naturally in the first place. Should we be okay with previous PED abusers now correcting the damage they’ve done to themselves with TRT?
If growing TRT use in MMA is indeed a problem (some might disagree that it is), it’s a nearly impossible one to solve. Trying to distinguish which applicants have a natural deficiency and which have damaged themselves from previous PED use is likely impossible. Meanwhile, if commissions were to universally deny TUE’s for TRT, that would eliminate these abusers, but it would also take the option away from those who really need it. The hope here is that state athletic commissions do their due diligence when granting TUE’s. Again, there’s no consistency from state to state. MMAFighting.com columnist Mike Chiappetta explores the issue in a comprehensive column. In states like Nevada and New Jersey, fighter’s must “submit an application for a TUE at least 20 days before a fight.” In doing so, he provides the results of no fewer than five tests. However, in Texas, an athlete is only required to inform the commission of prescription uses “at least 24 hours prior to the bout.” Wouldn’t it be nice if these standards were the same in every state? Hopefully, things will move in that direction. Chiappetta gives us hope for the future.
In an effort to address the issue, the Association of Boxing Commissions plans to address TUE’s at its upcoming July convention, which is attended by many of the country’s state athletic board heads.
Whether we’re discussing general PED use or doctor prescribed testosterone therapy, state athletic commissions generally take too weak a stance, or no stance at all. It may be too much to ask the UFC to start regulating therapeutic use exemptions among their 375 fighters, but for them to take an active initiative to randomly test their athletes for PED’s is not only a reasonable request, but absolutely necessary. If the UFC is indeed the premiere organization in mixed martial arts, they must hold themselves to a higher standard.
While Mr. Donno and I approach this subject with different degrees of aggressiveness, make no mistake about it, we both agree that PEDs are a problem in the UFC and that the organization must begin testing now. The UFC has the benefit of witnessing the failures of the MLB to address the PED issue and yet they have taken this long to make any serious effort to clean up the sport. The UFC must accept the reality that 4 members of their organization have been suspended for PED’s or elevated T/E ratios in 2012 alone. They also must acknowledge that all 4 of these individuals are/were title-holders within the organization. When that many of your sport’s best are failing drug tests, it begs the question, “who else is using?”
Each of the major sports organizations conduct mandatory testing. The WWE has a testing policy and even UEFA has begun testing their players. For an organization with a major network-television deal, major sponsorship partners, and a global audience not to test their athletes is not only rare, it’s almost unheard of these days. White constantly promotes that the UFC is one of the more forward-thinking organizations in professional sports. How has the UFC managed to operate into 2012 without a drug-testing policy? Even if we look past the responsibility issue, it just appears odd when the claim to be as big as the NFL.
I speak for both of us when I say that what Dana White has accomplished is nothing short of tremendous. White turned the UFC into a household name after the promotion was facing extinction. We acknowledge that Mr. White is often on the receiving end of criticism that has been unfairly directed at him. This, however, is not one of those instances and, given White’s comments about instituting testing, he is completely aware of this as well. He knows testing needs to happen, he knows that testing should happen, and I have to imagine he is sick and tired of his fighters testing positive. That said, if he sits on this any longer, it is sending the wrong message. The fighters need to be tested by the UFC and that needed to start yesterday.
About the Authors
Alex Donno is the host of South Florida’s first MMA talk show, “Fighter’s Fury.” You can catch the show every Sunday from 10am – Noon EST on Miami’s number one rated sports station, 790 The Ticket WAXY. He’s also the television play by play voice for Howard Davis Jr’s Fight Time Promotions. Since fall of 2011, he’s served as BSO’s MMA Insider. Alex has a B.B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Miami, with a minor in Sports Administration. Twitter.com/AlexDonno790
Josh Webb is the host of “MMA@Work Powered by MMAPlayground.” You can catch the show every Thursday from 6:30 – 8:30 EST on BlogTalkRadio. He’s also the MMA & Pac-12 Senior Reporter for Sports-At-Work.com. Additionally, he is a contributor to MMAPlayground.com among other sites. Unlike Alex, who only has a B.B.A., Josh sacked up and got a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Bakersfield. His thesis is entitled “Sweethawt Loans, Sugah Bowls, & Non-Profit Reforms: A Case Study of the Bowl Championship Series’ (BCS’) Abuses of Non-Profit Status.” Twitter.com/FightOnTwist