(“Diego, chu need to stop worrying, meng. Drug tests? We don’t need no stinking drug tests. Viva Mexico!!” Photo via Sherdog.)
Update: Greg Jackson claims that Rustam Khabilov and Diego Sanchez were indeed drug tested for their fights.
You really have to feel for Ross Pearson right about now. For three straight rounds in the Fight Night 42 co-main event last weekend, the TUF 9 winner outstruck, outscored, and plain outworked fellow TUF winner Diego Sanchez, only to watch a clear cut decision victory inexplicably granted to his opponent. “The Real Deal” was not only robbed of his realness, the biggest win of his career, and the bonus money that typically follows, but has since appealed the decision in a move that stands absolutely zero chance of changing anything.
That the egregious decision happened to occur in Albuquerque, New Mexico — the home of both Sanchez and the infamous Jackson’s Gym at which he trains — only fueled the cries of corruption aimed at the New Mexico Athletic Commission following the verdict. And now, one of Pearson’s training partners, Dean Amasinger, has come forward with some equally sketchy information that kinda-sorta indicts the NMAC as the corrupt sonsabitches that we made them out to be (via MMAJunkie):
Ross was drug tested before the fight, which is perfectly normal. That’s absolutely fine, and all this stuff is supposed to be random. But when Ross came back from the drug test, he said to me, ‘I’ve seen the list; none of the Jackson guys are on the drug test list, or the New Mexican guys who are fighting on the card.’ And so I went and checked and that was the case.
With [Sanchez] being from New Mexico and specifically Albuquerque, there’s obvious connections there and obvious potential conflicts of interest. They don’t have a lot of experience with bigger shows, and I think that’s another factor that’s played into this happening.
Crooked commissions you say? THIS THING GOES ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP! (*puts on Serpico costume, brushes beard poetically*)
Further confounding things is the fact that, less than two months ago, Dana White unveiled a new, more complete drug testing policy to media members. Where drug tests were handed out on an individual, random basis to several (but not all) fighters competing on a card in the past, White vowed to test every fighter on a card to help weed out recent criticism:
We’re testing the whole card now. The whole card is getting tested. Everyone is getting tested.
If you can make sure you take a hard enough stance and you can keep these young, talented kids off these drugs, their careers are going to last longer. Once all the kids realize there is a level playing field, you have these guys paranoid, ‘I know this guy is using, I know he is, I have to fight this guy and he’s on it, so maybe I should do it too’ once we can eliminate all that it’s going to make the sport a lot better for everybody, them and us.
UFC and NMAC officials have yet to respond to these rather bold allegations being thrown at them, but for now, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that the drug tests of all of the Jackson-trained fighters were simply lost in the mail. Or that Pearson simply misread the list of fighters tested prior to Fight Night 42. Yeah, misread…
…I’m sorry. Our sport is either Cecil Peoples-incompetent one day or Don King-corrupt the next, and willful ignorance has become my only defense mechanism. We will have more on this story as it develops.