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Has UFC lost all credibility drug testing their own fighters for self-regulated shows?

By Zach Arnold | October 8, 2014

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Is UFC’s HGH drug testing of Cung Le their ugly Roger Goodell moment?

Cung Le went into his Macau fight against Michael Bisping with a ripped physique. After he got Freddy Krueger’d by Bisping, UFC announced last week that Le had failed a post-fight HGH drug test. UFC initially suspended Le for nine months, then came back and stated that they made a mistake and the suspension would be a year-long ban.

Le’s camp argued that the Hong Kong lab UFC used wasn’t WADA-approved. The blood sample was collected after the fight. The IGF-1 test wasn’t used for HGH detection. The HK lab only kept the blood sample for one week. The WADA standard for keeping a blood testing sample is 10 years. There was no chance for appeal (the B sample) because the blood sample taken had allegedly been destroyed.

These are very specific allegations being made here. The claims should be easy for UFC to refute. Instead, UFC issued a no comment.

The blowback from defending Le’s protest was swift. On Twitter, Scott Carasik argued that the fighters signed contracts agreeing to let UFC handle the testing and that it is up to Le & other fighters to prove that UFC violated their own drug testing policy & protocols. In other words, UFC isn’t guilty of anything unless they contractually stated that their HGH testing had to be done at a WADA-approved lab. The counter-argument to that point is that UFC attempts to mirror various state athletic commissions and commissions like California and Nevada use WADA-accredited labs.

Whatever your opinion of the situation may be, it appears that UFC got caught with their pants down here. It is entirely reasonable for fans to believe what UFC is claiming regarding Le’s supposed HGH usage while at the same time recognizing that they screwed the pooch here on the process.

Smelling blood in the water and providing an appropriately aggressive defense, Cung Le’s camp is firing back again in the press. Previously, no appeals process was going to be granted by UFC. How can you have an appeal if the blood sample taken was allegedly destroyed?

Then came the U-turn today with ESPN reporting that UFC will allow Le to appeal his HGH test with a third-party arbitrator. The arbitration process will take place in America even though the testing happened overseas. UFC is now claiming that they will never use a non-WADA accredited lab again for blood testing. If you’re a fighter competing on a card where UFC is controlling the drug testing, how can you trust their protocols now? How can UFC stop the paranoia in which fighters & managers will be suspicious of drug testing results being used against their clients as a hardball financial negotiating tactic?

Gabriel Montoya published this damning article today at Bloody Elbow with comments from Don Catlin & Gary Ibarra (Le’s manager). Le’s camp claims that the drug testing results were not in English.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 3 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

3 Responses to “Has UFC lost all credibility drug testing their own fighters for self-regulated shows?”

  1. Alan Conceicao says:

    As had already been revealed before hand on twitter, Cung Le was, at the very least, on a “supplement program” from Victor Conte entering this bout, which he later lied about. This in spite of the clear evidence that he himself provided on his own twitter account in the lead up to the Bisping fight. Conte is also Montoya’s source for all his PED info and they have a pretty tight relationship. I don’t doubt the possibility that Cung Le might be innocent. Well, actually, I do, but that goes with the nature of MMA as a sport. However, it was absolutely not surprising at all that a Victor Conte linked guy was immediately brought up as being innocent as soon as the news struck from Montoya.

    Since this was revealed on Twitter before the BE article also: Victor Conte was a supplier of “supplements” to Omar Henry, who died last year of gall bladder cancer at the young age of 25. Montoya was accused of, and admitted to, attempting to have an article published stating that Omar Henry faked his death. Henry was likely on ZMA (among other things), a substance who’s components are linked to increased potential of cancer. Montoya stated that he was asked to do the article by Henry’s “real management” and that he chose to end investigating what would be a truly astonishing story because Omar’s mom asked him to stop.

  2. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    I can’t help but be reminded of Big John Mc Carthy in this instance. As a metaphor for the nascent PED policy, Big John made every mistake in the book on his way to becoming the best ref in the sport. We can only hope that the ufc will continue to make mistakes and learn from them in regards to their “work in progress” PED policy.

    This fail by the ufc is like Big Johns sakuraba vs conan 1 moment. He saw something that wasn’t there and called the fight. While big Johns motives were clear, he presumed too much didn’t double check Sakurabas eyes, which WERE clear, and this led to a clearer protocol for stopping a fight.
    Fortunately the japanese folks in the back room were able to reverse the call.

    I think they were like Big John a little lazy…”Hey Bisping wants us to test Cungs blood for testosterone hgh steroids so lets do it.” So they did it, on the cheap in HK never bothering to determine what specific type of testing should be done. So the lab guys were told, badly translated most likely, to simply determine how much of those items were in his blood. But since they never retested or saved the sample or compared it to Le’s typical after fasting hgh levels it has zero validity.

    Since it was obvious to everyone the testing was invalid, ufc should just acknowledge their mistake move on and un-suspend Le.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    The sad thing is that everybody could tell that Le was cheating. even Brian Stann made the comment about it and got grief for a while.

    The UFC keeps on dropping the ball here.

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