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By Zach Arnold | April 3, 2014
UFC Tonight reporting Jon Jones was just randomly drug tested by the Maryland Commission. Urine AND blood. This is a big deal.
— RJ Clifford (@RJcliffordMMA) April 2, 2014
We know the Georges St. Pierre stick-and-carrot approach on applying pressure to the UFC for improving drug testing protocols was working. Then he lost that leverage when he blew out the ACL in his left knee.
At least he got Lorenzo Fertitta on record supporting the financing of random drug testing for big fights. However, Lorenzo said that the various state athletic commissions should handle the testing rather than using an entity like Dr. Margaret Goodman’s VADA or USADA. Because, you know, they shouldn’t have jurisdiction over testing since they aren’t an athletic commission. I’m sure Lamont Peterson wished he had thought of that line when he got busted micro-dosing on testosterone pellets.
Nevertheless, the UFC has basically given some credit to Dr. Goodman (wittingly or unwittingly) even with their backhanded remarks about the VADA operation.
We know UFC paid for random drug testing last December with the Travis Browne/Josh Barnett fight. They’re paying now for testing in relation to the Jon Jones/Glover Teixeira fight. Nevada claimed the price tag was $20,000 for “enhanced testing” and nobody exactly knew what those protocols entailed. Brent Brookhouse would later go on to expose the holes in that “enhanced testing.”
For Maryland’s testing protocols, nobody is 100% sure what they are. There’s no universal drug testing standard from state to state on drug testing. That problem has not been addressed yet and should be the next issue to focus on. With VADA testing, at least we know what the guidelines are. Not so much with random testing from state to state.
Random drug testing isn’t cheap and the UFC is doing the right thing by paying for it on the bigger fights. However, the same athletic commissions they’re working with are the regulatory bodies that felt pressured enough to give out testosterone permission slips to fighters. So, you never know which way the political winds are blowing and just what exactly is happening. And without a uniform standard for random drug testing, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds with how each state operates.
If the UFC would rather work with state athletic commissions instead of letting fighters test with an agency like VADA, then they could do themselves a big favor and help clear some confusion by getting the various ACs on board with one uniform policy when it comes to random drug testing. The good news is that there does seem to be some hope on the horizon for better HGH drug testing protocols. Plus, this recent BBC news article detailing how laboratories will be able to use existing equipment to detect drug usage by athletes as late as two years ago is promising & optimistic news.