Dana White, the outspoken President of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), is more worried about mixed martial artists testing positive for marijuana than he is about anabolic steroids. In most anti-doping programs, the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and recreational drugs result in the same penalties e.g. suspension from competition.
“Forget about PEDs,” White said. “If we get into this system that we’re talking about where we would randomly test these guys, do you know how many guys would probably test positive for marijuana? It would be probably off the charts. If you randomly test them and then came out, you’d get the exact same suspension as you do for using PEDs.”
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) currently has about 475 fighter signed under contract. White worries that as many as 80 percent of them use marijuana periodically and could end up being suspended for it if a year-round, random drug testing program was implemented.
In the for-profit drug testing business, steroid testing organizations such as the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) have been lobbying for the UFC to standardize steroid testing in the sport. Both USADA and VADA have pursued contracts with individual fighters to help promote them as steroid-free competitors. However, a big UFC steroid testing contract has remained elusive.
White has no plans to hire USADA or VADA or any other anti-doping organization. He currently seems content with the level of steroid testing done by state athletic commissions. White is not to keen on sport-wide, year-round, randomly-announced testing as being in the best interests of the UFC.
White has previously expressed support for the increasingly widespread use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) among UFC fighters. Therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) have been granted to numerous top-name fighters. Critics have suggested that TRT is simply a convenient excuse for allowing athletes to “legally” use anabolic steroids.
The bottom line is that keeping UFC fighters from using steroids (testosterone) and smoking pot is bad for business.
Iole, K. (December 28, 2012). Dana White fearful that increased drug testing would result in widespread positive marijuana tests. Retrieved from http://sports.yahoo.com/news/mma–dana-white-fearful-increased-drug-testing-positive-marijuana-tests-023723557.html
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