(Maybe they should let some terrible judges go instead as a cost-cutting measure.)
Last week MMAJunkie reported that the Nevada State Athletic Commission will be cutting random year-round drug testing from it’s 2011 budget due to a lack of available funding. The move will free up upwards of $20,000 that the program required to run in the past. In 2009, NSAC received $18,000 in government funds for the testing program. The governing body requested the same amount last year, but only received $12,000, but before the year was over, were asked to give the money, which was mostly spent by that time, back to State regulators.
Because the costs of effectively running the program are simply too great without an outside funding source, the commission has been forced to suspend out-of-competition drug testing. Athletes are still tested either the day prior to an event or immediately following it — sometimes both — but with adequate time to clean out their systems, fighters can easily test clean even if they have been abusing performance enhancing drugs for months during the rest of the “off-season.”
The question is, should commissions just throw in the towel in the fight against drug use by MMA athletes or should they come up with other means of procuring the funds to try to keep the sport as clean as possible like other professional sports like football, baseball, basketball and hockey do?
One option would be to implement a “testing tax” that would be paid by promotions as part of their license and event permit applications. A yearly surtax or a small percentage of an organization’s live gate from a show would offset, if not cover all of the costs of running a long-term testing program.
NSAC instituted a similar policy with amateur kickboxing and MMA events, taking a .50 cent cut of tickets up to a $1-million gate and a $1 cut from ticket sales above that ceiling. The commission will decide later this month whether or not to implement similar sanctions to cover drug testing. They will also decide if they will lobby the state of Nevada to change NSAC’s funding in the next state budget, which runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013 but the likelihood of that happening, considering Nevada is facing a near $2.2 billion dollar deficit in the state’s general fund, isn’t good.
Who do you think should be on the hook for drug testing?
Check out the poll on the right and have your say.