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Here’s a Crazy Idea: Maybe the UFC Should Test Fighters for Steroids, HGH


(Whatever could have been done to prevent this terrible tragedy?!? PicProps: Fightertrends.com)

One of the more interesting side effects of the report this week that Chael Sonnen’s urine tested way, way too manly at UFC 117 is that pretty much everybody in the industry got the chance to weigh in on MMA’s “steroid problem.” From Bloody Elbow’s suggestion that the sport just “accept” steroids in order to regulate them to Kevin Iole’s idea that promoters start funneling money to state athletic commissions for better testing to Bas Rutten saying he’s “blown away” that guys continue to look for unfair advantages, nearly everyone old enough to have a Twitter account tossed out an opinion.

For his part, Dana White told Iole that the UFC already shells out “literally millions of dollars a year to try to prevent the steroid problem” and the promotion brings in DEA officials to “speak to the fighters about the ramification of performance enhancing drugs” at its annual fighter summit. Iole writes that White was “exasperated” to learn over the weekend that Sonnen had tested positive and Big DW sounds downright at-his-wits-end when he moans: “What else do I do?” during the article.

Hey, I’m glad he asked. What the UFC should do about steroids in MMA is actually incredibly simple (Spoiler alert: It’s not spend “literal millions” to hold an annual summit where fighters get a stern lecture) …


Here’s a novel idea: If the UFC is really, truly concerned about getting its fighters off steroids, perhaps it should take the initiative in testing them. All of them. Without warning. Multiple times a year. Olympic-style, with blood and urine exams for both steroids and HGH. It should do this not as a replacement for athletic commission testing, but in addition to it. Athletes who test positive for any banned substance shouldn’t be allowed to fight until they can test clean.

The truth is, when it comes to eradicating the use of performance enhancers, the UFC is in a unique position in professional sports. Other longstanding mainstream entities like baseball and football can’t administer invasive blood tests – the only kind that can accurately check  for HGH – because they have to contend with the players’ powerful labor unions. The UFC doesn’t have that problem. The UFC can and does do whatever it wants, all the time. Anybody who knows anything about your basic UFC contract knows the fight company has certainly never troubled itself with trivialities like privacy or the personal freedom of its employees. What’s to stop it from mandating that everybody who signs a UFC contract also gets blood tested for drugs, say, four times a year?

One thing: Cost. Make no mistake, a move like this would be expensive. Then again, if the company already has “literal millions” to spend on preventing the use of PEDs as White contends, shifting the money into testing doesn’t seem like a big deal. Considering the UFC’s continually swelling ticket prices, PPV prices that certainly aren’t going down anytime soon and the promotion’s stated desire to open an office in fuckin’ China, I assume money is no object.

Also considering the UFC’s somewhat tenuous foothold in the mainstream American sporting culture – which makes ignoring or accepting steroids impossible — the company would be well served to become an industry leader not only in new media and marketing (where it already more than holds its own) but in drug testing as well.

Either that, or we’re left to assume the UFC doesn’t really care about its athletes taking steroids; it only cares about them getting caught.

(CD)

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coastalcruiser- September 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm
the fact is that a promotion is liable if they know a fighter is using or has used and they can be under investigation and fined. UFC would never test and should never test to protect the business. It's actually very simple. The way it is now UFC makes money no matter what, fighters get tested after the fight. If you were a promotion would you test? I think not. Business is about money in the pocket folks.
Seoul Brother- September 23, 2010 at 11:58 am
@ccman: I understand your concerns, but let's be clear about comprehensive testing performed by promoters. This would have to be predicated by boilerplate contract restructuring. As I see it, the promoter would hold the fighter liable if they throw an event into jeopardy if they fail pre-event random drug screening or if events come to light after the fact that said fighter was lying to cover their ass.

This is backed up by the fact that the promoter would have to scramble at the 11th hour to get a new match lined up. This could result in lost revenues because as I said before, are you really excited to see two tomato cans fight or would you prefer to see a grudge match on New Year's?

Whatever penalties levied against a fighter by the promoter would be completely independent of anything a State Athletic Commission could slap down. Remember when Matt Lindland got in trouble with the UFC allegedly for wearing an unsanctioned t-shirt at an event weigh-in? That was entirely up to Zuffa's discretion. They could penalize a fighter. Instead of a main card or main event fight, they could drop the fucker down to an unaired preliminary fight. They could dock the fighter's purse for their next event. This does not necessarily run contrary to what a state athletic commission could levy against a fighter who pisses hot.

And if Strikeforce or Bellato can't cover the cost of random drug testing of their fighters, that's their fucking problem. It will be absolutely clear which promoter has the cleanest fighters because they can afford to ensure to the general public and to their customers that they have the cleanest fighters.
Hank Mardukis- September 23, 2010 at 9:07 am
@ El Guapo

Crocodile Dundas?
ccman- September 23, 2010 at 8:36 am
Promoter testing is great right up to promotor clean vs commission dirty happens.

Promoter testing is great in the ufc. What of strikeforce? Local promotions? You trust coker to either actually do this and or not lie about results? I do not. They are too broke and to desperate (see barnett\daley signing)

Promoter testing is great right up to the second a commission refuses the results.

End of day once again we over simplify complex issues based on emotions. And anyone who uses bigger stronger faster as a reference obviously must exclude themselves from the debate. The word is sucker.
Dagnut- September 23, 2010 at 8:35 am
What wrong with the system in place now..their catching people aren't they? And the people they don't catch so what?
Everyone is acting all hot and bothered because you mouthpiece meat head poster boy tested and suddenly "its a sporting disaster.... we'll run 2 articles everyday until somebody in tinternetsland can find a reasonable solution!!"

felixhelix420- September 23, 2010 at 1:13 am
I couldn't agree more, my friend. Now that Chael Sonnen is mma's 'Roger Clemens', the subject is unfortunately the topic of mainstream, household discussion. This is beyond terrible on so many levels and for so many reasons! In my humble opinion, the sport (in the U.S and Canada, at least) ought to be forcibly cleaned up...1919 Chicago Black Sox style, if necessary.
Besides, this sport doesn't need to be in the pocket of any more crime organizations. (Maybe North American mma needs a more practical commisioner than can punish fighters for such infractions. Go be in a prison gang if you wanna fuck up the natural balance of the game!) In addition to your statement: "Athletes who test positive for any banned substance shouldn’t be allowed to fight until they can test clean." I agree whole-heratedly... But that same heart REALLY bleeds for the fighter who trained his balls off and came to the party with clean piss. What about that guy? (Or girl... gotta love some female mma, too!) I think an automatic disqualification should be handed down, regardless; give the clean fighter the win. (Hey, that's what the Olympic Committee does! Aren't some of the most talented of these fighters already familiar with that formality, anyhow?) When we put the win record of one of these under-handed, ego-maniacs on the line, maybe they'll learn to respect the purity of this sport.
fatbellyfrank- September 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm
@ Medrare, thanks for the condolences man, I'm still hurtin,
as for the the piss ant thing, I would never take offence from one of your comments, I know the spirit you post in and only insecure fucktards would get butthurt

Now, on to the real issue, you say you do it with your Female cousins, well there's definitely nothing wrong with that, I'm gonna try that next family reunion, I knew I was doing something wrong, .... Doin it with the Female cousins, Fuck me dead, you pick up something new every day!

The Chael Sonnen of intra family relations, is that cause you both had burning peepee's?
King Kong Kim- September 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm
Having the promoter test its own fighters leads to a conflict of interest. It is in the interest of the promoter to make sure their fighters test clean. The expense of the actual tests in addition to canceling or reshuffle fights would lead to losing millions.

I don't think the testing would be very random or anonymous if the promoter tested the fighters, especially for the big draw fights.
MediumRare- September 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm
@ FBF

First off, I should clarify that the do-nothing, busy-body piss-ants I was referring to are the athletic commissions (and any other govn licensing body that makes it their mission to save us from ourselves).

Second, sorry about the Raiders.

Third, I understand your point but still think we shouldn't bother ourselves over the liver-condition of grown men.

Lastly, wtf is with the reference to cousin-fucking. My cousin happens to be quite hot and great in bed. No, it didn't hurt anyone. Yes, it felt good during and afterwards. And I don't see what's not right about it. Sure, we were on an epic meth-bender. Sure, we did it in a gas station restroom. Sure, it burned when I peed for weeks afterwards. But she didn't get pregnant (by me) and no long-term harm was done. I suppose I'm just the Chael Sonnen of intra-family sexual relations, huh?
fatbellyfrank- September 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm
@ medrare, I know we're in different camps on this one, and I respect all your points, but to me, my opinion only, taking PED's is a bit like fuckin your cousin (no, not your cousin medrare) it doesn't really hurt anyone, and it feels good afterwards, but there's just something not right about it.
IMO this is an issue that will never be resolved, athletes will use PED's, testers will try and keep up, athletes will test positive and old Fuddy duddies like me will wring their hands in anguish, post on CP and nothing, I repeat nothing will change.
i Just dont like it, I know Benoit was an extreme example, but still.
fatbellyfrank- September 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm
@ munche, Hmmmm, very valid points, very valid, that does kinda put the kybosh on random testing somewhat, pretty much every organisation that has their own testing regime is based in one geographic centre, maybe just leave it as it is, IDK, its a perplexing issue.
Seoul Brother- September 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm
I believe that the issue of doing as CD suggests to any degree has the potential to undermine the tenuous authority of State Athletic Commissions, however no matter what the costs, this has a lot of benefits. Zuffa would be able to present the UFC and the WEC to state legislators as self-enforcing to a much higher degree of athlete safety than in any other sport. This would go a long way to settle fears and misunderstandings about MMA to idiot public officials (Bob Reilly, I'm looking at you, you cockeyed cousin-fucking waste of carbon). The important thing to do is to respect the State Athletic Commissions no matter how corrupt or inept. No one said that a promotion can't enforce their own rules.

Zuffa would also be able to set penalties as per violations of fighter contracts. Think about it - if Zuffa hypothetically started work on a New Year's event, and one of the fighters screws the pooch on pissing hot, Zuffa would not only be able to slap that fucker for the cost of having to work at finding a different match as well as potential lost revenues from that fight. Who wants to see two tomato cans slap themselves when you could have seen a main event grudge match?
munche- September 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm
So, I hate to be a realist here, but how will that work? Random testing...

OK, so Rampage decides to go to England to train. Well, random test time! Who takes the sample? Does UFC fly someone to him? What if they can't get a hold of him?

Fitch decides to go to Thailand to work on his Muay Thai at Fairtex....sorry bro, your random test came up! Again, what do they do? Does he do his own sample? Do they fly someone out? Who takes it to the lab? What lab? How is it transported?

Do fighters have to start wearing a GPS so they can find then at any time? Are they not allowed to leave the country, or state? Guys are all over the world, moving around, changing training camps. How do you keep track of these guys well enough to give them "random" tests?
MediumRare- September 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm
All this hand-wringing over what exactly?

Over rules that try (and fail miserably) to make grown men make certain decisions about what they do with their own bodies.

And there's the fundamental fuck-up. Trying to be nannies to men who should be responsible for what they do to their bodies.

I don't recall any fighters in Pride being strong enough to knock anyone's head off their shoulders. And as for the long-term damage. I'm sure if we just let it be, science would find great ways to mitigate such damage.

This isn't a "disaster" and this isn't the end of Sonnen (unless he wants it to be). This is just more do-nothing, busy-body piss-ants babbling about not much of anything.

(Can't wait to see Silva v Belfort.)
fatbellyfrank- September 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm
@ Shaky, damm straight my friend, I know its getting to be an outdated almost romantic notion, but to me MMA is about challenging yourself and using your natural attributes to their full potential to keep improving. I know you still have to put the effort in when using PED's but IMO theres a big difference. We all know there are long term side effects from using PED's and once again I make the point, do you want to give the Green light to people to fuck up their bodies long term for short term gain?.
If Dana went about it the right way, he could bring in a drug testing policy that works with the SAC's rather than against them.
And yes, I am firmly in the anti PED camp, I pose the question: How many of you shook your heads in exasperation and cussed him for being a stupid fucker when you heard about Sonnen pissing hot?
raton- September 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Word up! I say legalize everything!
Clyde- September 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm
Yes, there is a risk that if you start testing tomorrow, a lot of people will be in the shit because they're on something. But Dana knows this and if this did come into effect, he would make damn sure everyone knows when the testing will come into effect and it will be far enough away that everyone has a chance to clean up. Those who don't... well... they're on they're own.
ihateemo- September 22, 2010 at 3:25 pm
I don't think undermining the state commissions is the way to go.

Instead, the commission should draw blood on fighters when they apply for their licenses, have them piss the week before and then draw blood after they fight.

Problem solved.
Sudos KFC- September 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm
Yeah because that dosent undemine the commissions, and is good value for a business, spending money to put out negative press for itself....fail

why do we think the UFC will pay its own money to bring bad press on their guys?Professional sports franchises the UFC included don't give a shit about the "honesty" factor. They want the most butts, in the most seats. And that means freak athletes. However, modern fans are totally naive and don't want to know what actually goes on (the same way they dont care how their meat is raised etc.) so the solution is clear: halfass testing. Now, how is this exactly the UFC's job to fix singlehandily?
MKO- September 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm
What more do you want the UFC to do? Their testing is more rigorous than every other American sports organization. Take for example independent tests performed in Texas, a state where the commission does not mandate it.
I don't know where the idea that "Olympic Style" drug testing is the king of all fucking tests. For the Beijing Olympics, slightly less than half the participants were tested, and of those tested, only about 20 percent were subject to blood tests.
The UFC should not be held to any higher standard, in the past they have gone along with a commission's suspension, though other states do not necessarily have to abide by one commission's suspension.
Yes, their is likely a problem in all major sports, what else can you expect to be done? If anything, this bolsters credibility in that such a high profile fighter is held to the same standards each fighter is expected to be held to.
TheWisestWizard- September 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm
I would say who cares about steroids but I can't. We have all seen what happens from excessive steroid use thanks to the WWE. How many premature deaths have they had most like do to them now? I say if you want to damage your body, go right ahead. But what about the fighters who don't want this want to use steroids? I'm sure plenty of fighters would never take them due to health concerns and good for them. But then these fighters are always at a disadvantage?? Doesn't sound right to me.
RwilsonR- September 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm
Also, I'm not defending Carwin, but everybody who is saying he roided during the Brock fight obviously didn't read about his steroid issue. His name was on a list of athletes who got roids from a doctor, but I think the investigation was conducted in like 2003. So he didn't piss hot manliness after his fight. He may not have even touched the stuff for the better part of the last decade. Still... not defending him, just clarifying.
RwilsonR- September 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm
@ dano - you are absolutely right! It was East Germany, though.

Nice job by Dundas for standing by what he wrote by attaching his initials to it. CD is the new BG.
danomite- September 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm
@Goat

CD is Dundas.

Also, "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" was a documentary done by a guy who is considering taking steroids and who has two brothers who take steroids as well. They only have one credible expert on the whole documentary that says steroids aren't bad for you and the rest of the people saying it's not bad for you are steroid using bodybuilders. It's not exactly an in-depth investigative report. And just because something is a documentary doesn't mean it has to be factually accurate. Just look at anything Michael Moore has done.

I'm pretty sure anabolic steroids as we know them today were created by German scientists who wanted to use them to prove that germans were the superior race in the Olympics. They kept very detailed records of what they gave to athletes, how it affected them, and any side effects that occurred. They found that there were long term side effects of steroid use, so I'm going to trust the scientists word over some guy living in a van outside of a gold's gym.
MoonBelly- September 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm
Whoa whoa whoa, who let Dundas write during a weekday? Heads will roll...
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