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Tag: drug testing

Following Cung Le Debacle, UFC Ends Its Out-of-Competition Drug Testing Program


(White, seen here introducing the UFC’s latest catchphrase, ”Whaddya gon’ do?” Photo via Getty.)

Of all the things that went so, so wrong for the UFC in 2014, the biggest positive that could be taken away was easily the promotion’s decision to begin drug-testing its athletes in house and year-round. As luck would have it, 2014 also went down as one of the druggiest years in MMA since the PRIDE days (allegedly). Random, out-of-competition drug testing was an expensive but necessary step forward and one that helped quell the near-constant questions regarding the legitimacy of the organization’s product. And it was working, dammit.

That was, until the UFC started farming out their drug testing to fly-by-night laboratories like the one that handled Cung Le’s sample. You know, the one which led to a 12-month suspension for the high-profile middleweight (that was quickly overturned) and played a huge role in Le’s request to be released of his contract as well as his class-action lawsuit against the UFC that followed? Yeah, that one.

Well put your minds at ease, Potato Nation, because the UFC’s short-lived attempt to run an out-of-competition drug testing program is over. HIP, HIP, HOORAY!!

Dana White broke the news during a media session on Thursday afternoon at the MGM Grand. Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter has the details:

“Our legal team completed screwed that up. We f—-d it up, and we will f–k it up again. That’s what the commission is there for,” he said.

White continued by saying that, while they have come to the realization that the promotion cannot oversee its own drug testing program, Zuffa will instead give more money to athletic commissions to help fund additional testing.

“What we’ll do is we’ll help fund it, so they can do more drug testing,” he said. “Our legal department screwed that whole thing up. We’ve got no business handling the regulation.”

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The Hong Kong Lab That Handled Cung Le’s Drug Test Is Somewhat Less Than Legit


(“Tastes fine to me.” / Photo via Getty)

When the UFC suspended Cung Le for 12 months following a positive test result for excessive Human Growth Hormone, Le’s team immediately cast doubts on the UFC’s testing methods. Notably, his sample was sent to a non-WADA approved laboratory, and was destroyed afterwards. A new report from MMAJunkie reveals more information about the lab in question, which doesn’t sound like it would be anybody’s first choice to test the athletes of a major sports promotion. Here’s the important stuff:

The Hong Kong Functional Medical Testing Center (HKFMTC) resides in Hong Kong’s southern Yau Tsim Mong District, about an hour’s ferry ride from the Macau’s Cotai Arena where August’s UFC Fight Night 48 was held.

The company’s website offers to test your metabolic function, examine hair for heavy metals or nails for drugs of abuse, for example. It also offers a service called “autism medical testing.” The company opened its doors in February, according to an online records search, and recently put out a job posting for its marketing department.

Following the Aug. 23 event, a phlebotomist hired by the UFC took blood samples from headliners Cung Le and Michael Bisping immediately after their fight and shipped them to the HKFMTC, the promotion told MMAjunkie…It’s unclear how the HKFMTC tested the samples, and the UFC declined to answer any additional questions on the procedures used in connection with the event. On the drug testing firm’s website, there is no specific mention of testing for human growth hormone, though the company does offer a test of the endocrine system including “growth factor analysis.” It’s certain, though, that HKFMTC is not accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which sets guidelines used for HGH testing. The nearest WADA-accredited lab is in Beijing, a four-hour flight from Macau.

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Cung Le and Michael Bisping to Undergo Enhanced Drug Testing; Le Defends His Suspiciously Jacked Physique


(Cung Le in November 2011, and Cung Le in August 2014. The only thing that hasn’t changed is his underwear.)

Over the weekend, UFC middleweight Cung Le posted a photo of himself flexing after an intense workout — and immediately raised the suspicions of armchair endocrinologists around the globe. Despite his athletic gifts, Le hasn’t always been the leanest or most muscular fighter out there; in fact, he’s looked rather soft at times, relatively speaking. But now, at the age of 42, he’s showing up looking this jacked? In a sport where aging veterans are getting popped for PEDs left and right, MMA fans were understandably dubious.

In an apparent response to the accusations being flung at Le, the UFC has announced that Cung Le and his opponent Michael Bisping will undergo enhanced drug testing for their UFC Fight Night 48 headlining bout this Saturday in Macau. The testing will be performed at the UFC’s expense, and will include blood-testing, which would theoretically identify non-steroid PEDs like human growth hormone (HGH) and recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO).

Of course, we probably won’t get the results of these tests until weeks after the fact, which does absolutely nothing to prevent potential cheaters from competing. (I kind of agree with Mark Bocek here; if all these drug tests are timed so that big fights still get to proceed as scheduled, it doesn’t reflect well on the UFC’s priorities, or how serious they are about eradicating the PED epidemic.)

But it might be a moot point in this case, because Cung Le doesn’t plan on failing a drug test anytime soon…

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CagePotato Ban: Saying You Don’t Care If Your Opponents Are Using PEDs


(Bagautinov’s doping wasn’t enough to earn him a victory — but that’s no reason to let him off the hook. / Photo via MMAJunkie)

Now that random drug testing is nailing MMA fighters on a regular basis, the truth is inescapable: PEDs have become the sport’s most urgent and embarrassing problem. But not every fighter is an anti-drug crusader like Tim Kennedy and Georges St. Pierre. Before his star-making beatdown of Diego Brandao at UFC Fight Night 46 on Saturday, Conor McGregor told MMAJunkie how he really feels about performance-enhancing drugs:

“I don’t really care about that stupid s–t,” McGregor said. “I’m just doing my thing. I’m just performing and getting better. I don’t care what anyone else does….Take whatever you want, I’m still going to whoop your ass.”

His words were nearly identical to what former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson said about steroids last year, and also echoed those of UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who expressed similar sentiments on The MMA Hour recently, after it came out that his last opponent Ali Bagutinov was using EPO going into the fight:

“I don’t care if my opponents are cheating or not,” Johnson said. “I train my butt off to fight the man who is put in front of me whether he’s on steroids or not. I want to play on a level playing field, but if they knew about it beforehand and didn’t stop it, at the same time, I took care of business. No big deal.”

Except it is a big deal, and saying otherwise makes MMA look like a joke.

Look, I get it. Claiming that you don’t care if your opponents are doping scores you badass points, and it can endear you to the segment of the MMA fanbase that really doesn’t care about the ongoing scourge of PEDs. (“I like Conor because he doesn’t bitch about drug-testing like these other pussies. Let ‘em take what they want!” — Darryl T. Justbleedguy)

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Wednesday Links: Tito Ortiz Gets Probation for DUI, Lawler vs. Ellenberger Subject to Enhanced Drug Testing, Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos + More


(Gervinho: The lovechild of Tyra Banks and Klingon Worf. Check out more awful soccer hairstyles at HolyTaco.com.)

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Brian Stann Becomes the Latest Former Fighter to Rally Against MMA’s “Inadequate” Drug-Testing Policies


(The face of MMA’s anti-PED crusade, ladies and gentlemen.) 

Does it say more about the UFC or its athletes that classy, universally-respected guys like Georges St. Pierre and Brian Stann only feel comfortable discussing their gripes with the organization’s drug-testing policies after they have stepped away from the sport? It’s hard to say for sure, but in any case, Stann has followed suit with GSP, first lamenting the sport’s drug issues as a “major part” of why he retired earlier this month before further explaining himself during an appearance on The MMA Hour yesterday.

While Stann refused to name names, he was quick to admit that MMA’s lackadaisical drug-testing has made it easy for many a fighter to cycle on and off PED’s over the years — a trend that will continue to plague the sport until a change is made:

I think the time when you retire coming off a loss and then you say that, what I didn’t want to do was discredit any of my former opponents. You know, specifically seeing that Wanderlei (Silva) was my last fight, I didn’t want to come off like, ‘Hey, I’m making excuses. The only people that beat me were people on drugs.’ I don’t know any of that for a certainty. There’s one time when I fought a guy on TRT when it was allowed, and that’s the only time that I could say substantially somebody was taking something. But, it was a factor.

I’m a clean fighter. I’m 33 years old, and I have seen, in my own training, and in talking and knowing guys in the inner circle, I’ve known what guys are not on, and when they cycle on it. You can feel the difference in the gym and what big a difference it makes, and I do think there are a number of guys who are using just because the testing currently by our athletic commissions is inadequate.

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(If you’re a Fight Pass subscriber…let us know how this fight turns out, alright? / Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

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The Unsupportable Opinion: Why PEDs Should Be Legal in MMA


(Can we go back to those innocent, joyful days when you didn’t give a damn about your favorite fighter’s T/E ratio? / Photo via MMAWeekly)

By Jon Mariani

Drugs are bad, m’kay? At least that’s the conventional wisdom regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs in mixed martial arts. For the past 12 years, state athletic commissions as well as the UFC have tried to combat steroid use (and hormone therapy abuse) through pre- and post-fight testing, and punitive measures like suspensions and fines.

Some would argue that commissions and promoters should go even further with their anti-PED efforts, enacting more stringent testing for athletes. We say, what’s the point? Why burn so much money and man-hours trying to eradicate a problem that can never be eradicated? Ultimately, it might be better for the sport if all MMA fighters were allowed to use PEDs. Seriously. Here’s why that might not be the worst idea in the world…

It Would Level the Playing Field

When asked what percentage of fighters in MMA currently use PEDs, the most conservative response is usually around 50% of fighters; on the other side of the spectrum, estimates from fighters themselves go as as high as 90%. If those numbers are to be trusted, that would mean the majority of fighters currently use PEDs. It makes sense that so many fighters are using considering how poor the current testing is.

The fighters who don’t use PEDs face a clear disadvantage when they step into the cage against opponents who do. There’s also the murky waters of testosterone replacement therapy hall passes, which are being given away like candy. Legalizing PEDs would mean that all fighters could use, which would mean fighters who would like to use but currently don’t because it’s illegal would get on the gear. For the first time since athletic commissions began drug-testing MMA fighters, competition would be truly fair.

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3 Ways Dana White Will React to GSP’s Talk About Drug Testing


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

One of Dana White’s greatest talents is burying fighters. When old, broke war dogs speak out against the UFC, White cuts them down with assertions that he “makes millionaires” and labels detractors as “goofs” and “dummies.”

But can White do that to Georges St-Pierre, who recently called out the UFC for their drug testing policies. Well, we’ve already had a small taste of White’s verbal stylings. He questioned GSP’s manhood, implying that GSP airing his grievances with the media was somehow cowardly. He also said GSP’s actions were “kooky,” and that his claims were ridiculous.

That was just the opening salvo. What’ll Dana White say about his former meal ticket six months from now, a year from now, two years from now, when GSP’s relevance fades and insulting him carries less risk?

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Georges St-Pierre Blasts the UFC for Lack of Drug-Testing Support; Lorenzo Fertitta ‘Disappointed’ By Comments


(The UFC’s French-Canadian company-man has officially left the building. / Photo via Getty)

During a media appearance in Montreal yesterday, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was uncharacteristically candid about his motivations for stepping away from the sport, and how he felt about the UFC not supporting him when he attempted to arrange enhanced drug-testing prior to his UFC 167 title fight against Johny Hendricks.

“It bothered me enormously,” St-Pierre said (in a translation by MMAFighting.com). “That’s one of the reasons why I stopped fighting. Not really to teach them a lesson, because that would also punish me. I wanted to do something for the sport. I love the sport. I see the direction it’s going, and I don’t think it makes any sense. This is stupid.”

“I tried to do something to change the sport,” St-Pierre continued. “Unfortunately, there were other people, for different reasons, maybe for money, in fear of losing money, because if you canceled the fight because someone tested positive there are millions of dollars [lost]. Also, the sport’s image…If you start testing everyone, how many will get caught? I don’t want to say in public because I don’t want to accuse anyone, but the sport’s image will be hurt. Don’t forget, I have internal information. I’m an athlete. I know what goes on, so that disappointed me greatly.”

Later, St-Pierre described the UFC as a “monopoly,” and suggested that he wouldn’t return to competition until the promotion’s drug-testing policy was improved:

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