When asked about the announcement yesterday that Zuffa is adopting a pre-contract drug screening policy and that the parent company of the UFC and Strikeforce would be stepping up its random drug testing strategy, the former head of the World Doping Agency and one-time vice president of the International Olympic Committee dismissed the news as simply being smoke and mirrors.
Montreal-based lawyer Dick Pound told the Canadian Press that by testing athletes in the month or so prior to and the day of a contracted bout, Zuffa is leaving a wide window of opportunity open for PED use the rest of the year by its athletes.
“It’s complete illusory and obviously intended to be that way.The minute you know when you’ll be tested, it’s very easy to make sure you don’t test positive.”
Pound says that if Zuffa is really concerned with the widespread problem, it would institute WADA or Olympic-style testing to level the playing field and to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
“The only way to really test athletes is to have a random drug testing program 365 days a year so that they cannot prepare,” Pound explained. “They’re just trying to do enough to keep the Congress off their backs.”
Pound was in London, Ontario Monday to speak at a celebrity sports dinner and auction, where he touched on the attraction of PEDs for young athletes.
“It’s very tough because it’s a very seductive approach the people urging it on them are taking.They just say, ‘It just helps you recover.’You have to get them to understand it’s cheating, a dangerous cheating. And you end up not respecting the game, not respecting your opponents and not respecting yourself. Oddly enough, most athletes understand that you need hard work to succeed . . . but this is a shortcut,” he explained, while admitting that it may take the death of a star athlete to make PED users realize that abusing them can have dire consequences.”We tend to react to the big things. It’s a mark of our society. I think there is a growing awareness, but there are always people who are sociopaths, who think the rules don’t apply to them.”