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Tag: UFC drug testing

Cung Le Seeking Release From UFC in Wake of Drug Testing Fiasco, Expresses Interest in Fighting for Bellator


(“So…tomorrow night at Dave & Buster’s?” / Photo via MMAWeekly)

On yesterday’s installment of the Gross Point Blank podcast, UFC middleweight Cung Le revealed that he’s seeking to be released from his UFC contract. Despite having two fights remaining on his deal, Le has asked his manager Gary Ibarra to request his release.

“I’d just prefer not to be part of the UFC anymore,” Le told host Josh Gross. “I’d prefer not to put the effort into something I don’t believe in anymore.”

Le’s negative stance on the UFC stems from the dreadful way that the promotion handled his drug testing at UFC Fight Night 48 in August. In short, the UFC farmed out drug testing for that event to a fly-by-night laboratory operation in Hong Kong that wasn’t equipped to handle enhanced PED screenings, suspended Le for nine months when his sample came back positive for elevated HGH, bumped the suspension up to 12 months when Le started to make noise about it, then canceled the suspension when it became apparent that the testing lab’s methods were a joke — but never apologized to Le publicly.

It’s not the kind of the thing that Le can easily forgive and forget. Because there was so much speculation about Le’s action-figure physique leading up to the fight, his positive test — despite its total lack of legitimacy — convinced many fans that Le was a cheater, and put a major dent in his reputation. As Gary Ibarra explained to Gross:

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Vitor Belfort Passed His Random Drug Test! Good Job, Vitor!


(Would you expect anything less from the UFC’s most trusted Values Enforcer?)

Earlier this month, the Nevada State Athletic Commission finally got off its collective ass and subjected UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort to a random drug test — his first since being granted a conditional license in July. Well, the results are back, and in the case of 37-year-old Vitor…he is NOT currently using performance enhancing drugs!

ESPN reported yesterday that Belfort passed the blood and urine test that he submitted at the request of the NSAC on November 1st, coming up negative for all banned substances. Belfort’s blood serum testosterone levels were also within normal range. According to NSAC executive director Bob Bennett, the UFC paid for the cost of Belfort’s test.

Vitor Belfort is currently scheduled to challenge Chris Weidman for the UFC middleweight title in the main event of UFC 184, February 28th in Los Angeles. “The Phenom” is expected to undergo further random drug-testing by the California State Athletic Commission prior to the match.

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Great Job, Nevada!: Vitor Belfort Has Been Drug Tested Exactly Zero Times Since Being Re-Licensed by NSAC


(Well, the visual evidence is definitely on Belfort’s side.)

Back in July, UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort went before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to answer for his failed drug test for elevated testosterone in February. It went pretty well, which is completely unsurprising since a big-money fight against Chris Weidman hung in the balance. Belfort was given a conditional license, and his title challenge against Weidman was immediately booked for December 6th in Las Vegas.

But NSAC commissioner Anthony Marnell left Belfort with this dire warning: “[W]e’re going to drug test you to the day you retire…We, in my opinion, should be in and around your career until the day you call it quits.”

Hell yeah! Nevada is gonna be up in them guts, son! [Ed. note: Gross.]

Except, no, not really. The truth is, Belfort hasn’t been drug-tested at all (!) since July 23rd, and the NSAC has no intention of testing him before his fight against Weidman, since that fight will now likely take place in California in late February at UFC 184. MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani breaks it:

On Wednesday, MMAFighting.com spoke to NAC executive director Bob Bennett, who said he currently has no plans in place to randomly test Belfort because the UFC recently informed the commission that the Weidman vs. Belfort fight would probably take place in California next year. (Note: the UFC has yet to publicly announce the official date and location of the title fight, however, UFC president Dana White recently said it would happen in February.) Bennett also said the commission had yet to test Belfort, despite the fact that the title fight was official for two months before Weidman had to pull out. Weidman confirmed he had not been tested, as well.

Bennett was confident that California State Athletic Commission executive officer Andy Foster “will spearhead” the Belfort testing, if the fight does in fact end up in California.

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Cung Le’s HGH Suspension Lifted by UFC Due to ‘Lack of Conclusive Laboratory Results’


(Photo via Getty)

After being suspended from competition for 12 months due to a positive test for excessive human growth hormone (HGH) following UFC Fight Night 48, UFC middleweight Cung Le went on a public campaign arguing that the testing protocols used by the UFC for its August event in Macau were completely sub-standard. Essentially, the UFC farmed out the work to a local lab that maybe didn’t know what it was doing and destroyed Le’s sample so he couldn’t appeal the result.

Fortunately, the UFC has done the right thing by rescinding the suspension, and Le is now free to fight again. Here’s the official statement from UFC.com:

At UFC Fight Night Macao on August 23rd, UFC contracted with an independent drug testing laboratory in Hong Kong to perform urinalysis testing on all fighters on the card. Additionally, UFC requested the laboratory to test blood samples from 4 fighters for human growth hormone (HGH), erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone.

One of the athletes who had his blood tested was Cung Le. The laboratory results from Le’s blood test were sent to the UFC and showed that his blood had a total HGH level outside the reference range. Based on such results, UFC officials determined that Le had violated his promotional agreement and the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy. Consequently, UFC decided that Le should be suspended from unarmed combat competition for 12 months.

Following the announcement of Le’s suspension, UFC officials have been provided with medical advice regarding the elevated total HGH present in Le’s system. In accordance with such medical advice, UFC has determined that Le’s elevated total HGH by itself does not prove that he took performance-enhancing drugs before the August 23rd bout. As a result, UFC has informed Le that his suspension is rescinded.

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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 Tests Positive for HGH Following Michael Bisping Fight, Receives 12-Month Suspension [UPDATED]


(Ha-ha!)

The UFC announced this evening that middleweight Cung Le tested positive for HGH following his gruesome defeat at the hands of Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night 48 in Macau last month. This is especially hilarious because of how adamant Le was before the fight about how he wasn’t using PEDs; that photo of him looking like the Incredible damn Hulk (see above, right) was just the result of hard work and good lighting and clean living and more assorted bullshit. Cung Le is a liar, and he’ll be punished for it. Here’s the full statement from the UFC:

UFC middleweight Cung Le tested positive for an excess level of Human Growth Hormone in his system following his fight at UFC Fight Night in Macao, China on August 23. Due to his positive test result, Le was suspended by the UFC and notified that he violated the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC. The UFC has a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants or masking agents by our athletes. Le will serve a nine-month suspension and, at its conclusion, will need to pass a drug test before competing in the UFC again.

Update: Correction, he’s been suspended for a full year

After review by UFC Senior Management, an error was discovered regarding the length of Cung Le’s suspension due to a failed drug test. While originally stated as nine months, the correct suspension period to be enforced is 12 months.

I have three things to say about this…

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UFC Planning to Implement Random, Enhanced Drug Testing for All Fighters


(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”…

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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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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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Jon Jones Isn’t Saying Glover Teixeira Is a Steroid-User…But Why Take Any Chances?


(Jones is so committed to clean competition that he carries a bottle of fresh, hot urine with him at all times. / Photo via Getty)

Earlier this month, Jon Jones revealed to FOX Sports that he requested random drug-testing for himself and Glover Teixeira in advance of their light-heavyweight title fight at UFC 172 (April 26th, Baltimore). At the time, it seemed like Jones was taking up the Anti-PED Superhero mantle from Georges St-Pierre.

“It was something me and my management team asked for several months ago,” Jones said. “We thought it would be great to make sure everyone was playing fair in this fight. I’m not accusing my opponent of anything, but it’d just be great to see. [The Maryland State Athletic Commission] said they would need the UFC to approve it, the UFC approved it and paid for the whole thing and they never told me or Glover when our tests would come…

“I just think it’d be great to know that the athletes that are competing are competing clean,” Jones said. “I’ve never taken any kind of performance-enhancing drug and I don’t think any of my opponents should. I know that I’ve probably fought people in the past that have, and I’ve still come up with a way to win, but I just think it’s important that it goes away.

“I want our sport to be a clean sport. I want athletes to have pride and hard work and that’s why I thought I would put my money where my mouth is and get the test for myself. I have no right to accuse [Teixeira] of being on anything,” Jones said. “I know when people get chances to fight for world titles maybe they’ll do anything to get an edge, and I think the only edge you should have is work ethic so I thought we should both get tested.”

Now, in a follow-up interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Jones explained what really motivated him to request enhanced testing for this fight, and it has nothing to do with any lofty goals of cleaning up the sport. Basically, Glover Teixeira is 34 years old, he’s strong as an ox, and Jones finds that kind of suspicious:

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