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Game Changer: UFC To Implement Year-Round, Out-of-Competition Drug Testing, Advocate for Longer Suspensions

Unlike the NSAC meeting that preceded it, yesterday’s UFC press conference actually managed to make some huge waves in the MMAsphere.

It got off to a rough start, though, with Dana White addressing Anderson Silva and Hector Lombard‘s drug test failures in a tone that could only be described as “fucking hostile.” Most notably, he pointed out that the UFC had not yet received Lombard’s test results when they booked him against Rory MacDonald, which the most basic research will point out was a bold-faced lie. Second, he denied ever claiming to have scraped the promotion’s out-of-competition drug-testing program, which again, false.

Thankfully, White handed the reins over to the cool and collected Lorenzo Fertitta after announcing that Macdonald would instead face Robbie Lawler for the welterweight title on July 11th (the timing of which seemed…odd). From there, Fertitta dropped a bombshell of an announcement in regards to the future of drug testing in the UFC. Join us after the jump for all the details.

Starting on July 1st, the UFC will begin administering random, year-round and out-of-competition drug tests to *all* of its 585 fighter roster. The UFC will also administer mandatory, enhanced out-of-competition drug testing to main event and championship fighters on all cards starting in July as well.

“You will be tested in competition, you will be tested out of competition, and if you are using, you will be caught,” said Fertitta.

“We’ve been working on this a couple years; we’ve been in conversations with third parties for six or seven months,” Fertitta said. “What the Anderson Silva thing prompted us to address the issues and speed up the process. We don’t have the luxury of debating all these points. We’ve got to just go. The results are going to be what the results are going to be.”

When addressing how they thought this would impact the current roster, Fertitta was surprisingly candid, stating, “Honestly, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

In addition to announcing the year-round drug testing policy, Fertitta also stated that, while still following the lead of the athletic commissions in place, the UFC would be advocating for stronger punishments for athletes caught using banned substances moving forward. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), for instance, has been discussing changing the bans for first time offenders from two years to four (!), which the UFC is prepared to back in either case.

“We certainly advocate for (a two-year ban).” said Fertitta “We are committed to it in every way that you possibly could be. There should be no mistake there. This is a call-out to all of the athletes on our roster: You’ll be tested in competition, you’ll be tested out of competition, and if you’re using, you will be caught, and there will be significant penalties that go along with that.”

“If we lose main events, we lose main events. (Matchmakers) Joe Silva and Sean Shelby are going to have to get just a little more creative.”

The obvious exclusion to this policy would be overseas events, which are largely self-regulated and would therefore fall on the UFC in regards to specific penalties. Should longer suspensions be put into place and a champion be caught using, Fertitta also claimed that said champion would be stripped of their title.

Wow. The UFC is making moves, it seems, and its about damn time. Of course, these new policies open the floodgates for a lot of questions, like whether or not the UFC will choose to add on to commission-handed punishments should said commissions decide not increase the length of suspensions. Steven Marrocco has laid out a few more questions regarding the UFC’s new policy over at MMAJunkie, and we’d highly recommend that you check it out.

So yeah, there’s a lot of outliers right now, but let’s all keep our fingers crossed and pray that this doesn’t turn into a complete shitshow.

You can listen to the full audio of yesterdays press conference below, via Submission Radio.

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