(Until now, the UFC has mainly relied on the “screenshot comparison” method.)
In the wake of some high-profile UFC drug-test failures for performance enhancers like HGH and EPO this year — as well as a resurgence in positive tests for old-school steroids — the UFC has announced plans to implement random, out-of-competition drug testing for all of its fighters. ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto broke the news last night.
Until now, UFC brass has claimed that the expense of such a program would be prohibitive, and the promotion has left much of the drug-testing responsibility in the hands of local athletic commissions, only supporting random testing on an occasional basis. But with the PED epidemic growing worse in MMA, the sport’s leading promotion will be making the financial investment necessary to combat the problem, and UFC officials hope to have the new drug-screening system in place by the end of the year. From the ESPN report:
According to UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner, the promotion is in discussion with “four to five” independent drug-testing agencies and is hopeful to officially partner with one by the end of 2014.
The end goal is unannounced, year-round blood and urine tests on the UFC’s stable of approximately 500 athletes using an independent sample collector.
“We are meeting with different companies right now and we’re going to have out-of-competition testing,” Ratner told ESPN.com. “We’re not sure when it’s going to start, but we’re working on it right now.
“Unannounced blood and urine is going to happen, hopefully in the next three or four months. When you’re talking about 500 fighters, there are a lot of logistics. Having fighters in foreign countries makes it tougher, but we’re coming up with a plan and (agencies) are making proposals to us in the next two weeks”…