To Catch A PED-ator….(you have to test them)

If you want a clean sport, free from PED’s (performance-enhancing drugs), then you are going to need a stringent regimen of out of competition testing in order to keep folks honest. Recent reports show that our good friends over at the Nevada State Athletic Commission lack the courage of their convictions when it comes to the matter. Former writer with MMAWeekly Ivan Trembow reports on the lack of out of competition testing for UFC 116 and the TUF Finale, despite there being several fighters on those cards that should raise red flags:

one of the fighters who competed on the two recent UFC events in the state of Nevada were asked to take out-of-competition drug tests prior to the events, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer.

A total of 20 fighters competed on the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale” in Las Vegas on June 19, including one fighter who has previously tested positive for anabolic steroids (Chris Leben), but none of these 20 fighters had to take an out-of-competition drug test.

A total of 22 fighters competed at UFC 116 in Las Vegas on July 3, including two fighters who have previously tested positive for anabolic steroids (Chris Leben and Stephan Bonnar), but none of these 22 fighters had to take an out-of-competition drug test.

The question of whether any out-of-competition drug testing had been administered to any of the fighters on the UFC 116 card was first posed to Keith Kizer on Tuesday, June 29, but the question was not answered until Sunday, July 4, after the completion of the UFC 116 event.

Less than one month ago, there was a public meeting about the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s drug testing program on June 9. At one point during the meeting, NSAC Commissioner and Chairwoman Pat Lundvall asked Travis Tygart, the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, to evaluate the NSAC’s current drug testing program. Tygart’s paraphrased response was, “You can do better. You can do a lot better, and I ask you to do so on behalf of clean athletes.”

Tygart added that when athletes are coming to USADA for drug testing because they know that the NSAC’s drug testing is inadequate, something is wrong. Tygart would be referring to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Shane Mosley, and there were also statements that were made a few weeks ago by Josh Koscheck indicating that he wants USADA testing for his upcoming UFC fight against Georges St. Pierre, to which St. Pierre reportedly agreed. However, UFC President Dana White later said in public interviews that Koscheck needs to “shut up” about his desire for USADA-level drug testing in his UFC fights.

In addition to the NSAC’s lack of any blood-based drug testing, both Tygart and Dr. Robert Voy said at the June 9 meeting that there is a reliable, urine-based drug test for EPO that is not currently being used by the NSAC.

Among the list of questionable athletes who appeared on the two cards, Ivan left out the star of UFC 116, Brock Lesnar, which was arrested once for steroid possession, but charges were dropped when it turned out to be just “some kind of growth hormone”, you know, just the sort of thing that Nevada’s piss poor (quite literally) testing procedures aren’t able to catch.

Fightlinker responds to the news with what can best be described as “enablers gonna enable” attitude:

Let’s all just admit at this point that most commissions are doing the bare minimum required of them to catch steroid cheats. I’m still not sure if that makes me happy or sad – a sudden shift towards effective testing would probably beat our sport up worse than Cris Cyborg beat up Jan Finney, so we don’t need a witch hunt. But these incremental changes and tightening test requirements were supposed to put athletes on notice that the days of nearly idiot-proof juicing were over. Instead it’s looking like it’s business as usual for steroid cheats.

On a topic that firmly falls into black and white Ryan decidedly chooses to work in the gray. I take exception to the passage – “a sudden shift towards effective testing would probably beat our sport up worse than Cris Cyborg beat up Jan Finney, so we don’t need a witch hunt” – when most estimates by fighters like Dennis Hallman and journos like Dave Meltzer put the percentage of those on at least some kind of PED being at least 50%…I’m sorry your sport deserves to be beat up worse than Jan Finney, and witch hunts have gotten a bit of a bad rap in my book. If those numbers are indeed true, MMA falls in the same neighborhood of cycling, which has bordered on farce for years due to the rampant doping issues in that sport. If the PED usuage is that high, then it is because the athletic commissions and fight companies (UFC/Strikeforce/Etc.) facillitate and foster an environment where it can take place. If a witch hunt blows the brains out of the popularity of MMA, let the record indicate that it was a self inflicted gunshot. If actual competent and complete drug testing upset the apple cart (maybe derail the money train may be a better metaphor) then so be it. A shrug of the shoulders, the general feeling i get from Ryan’s post, just isn’t the appropriate response in my book.

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One Response to To Catch A PED-ator….(you have to test them)

  1. Pingback: More on steroids

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