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Let’s play 20 questions regarding the new UFC & USADA drug testing program

By Zach Arnold | June 3, 2015

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1. Who will ultimately pay the highest price for financing UFC’s new drug testing program? The fighters?

2. Will the improvement in drug testing level the playing field or will it create a competitive disadvantage with top fighters being able to afford their own designer drugs?

3. Why did UFC decide on working with USADA as a partner and not with Dr. Margaret Goodman & VADA?

4. How many more fighters would UFC catch using VADA-style testing as opposed to USADA-style testing protocols?

5. Given USADA’s behavior in handling Erik Morales’ failed drug test, can USADA be fully trusted to handle test failures the right way?

6. How compatible will UFC’s drug testing program with USADA be in relation to the drug testing programs set up by various state athletic commissions, including California (which is on its way to implementing its own out-of-competition program)?

7. If missing a Nevada commission drug test can cost you years in suspension, how can this be reconciled with USADA’s policy of three missing tests = a test failure?

8. Given that UFC is implementing their own company drug testing program in addition to the drug testing done by state athletic commissions, can UFC use a failed drug test for negotiating leverage with a top fighter in order to take a pay cut in exchange for the failed result not going public?

9. UFC & USADA will suspend a fighter for one year if they test positive for marijuana metabolites. However, Nevada’s punishment for a marijuana test failure can be 18 months or longer for repeat offenders. Whose punishment do you go with if a fighter fails both a USADA and NSAC drug test for marijuana metabolites? Concurrent or stacked suspensions?

10. In international sport, there is a court of appeal regarding drug testing. What administrative recourse does a fighter have after failing a UFC company drug test? Arbitration in a UFC-friendly venue?

11. How do you define “aggravating circumstances” for a failed drug test in a statutory manner?

12. How will UFC suspend a fighter who doesn’t fail a drug test but gets caught when arrested with drugs?

13. How you do resolve conflicts regarding Therapeutic Use Exemptions between the TUEs USADA grants and the hall passes from athletic commissions? (E.G. Fighters fails state athletic commission drug test, proclaims a TUE from USADA for permission to use a certain drug)

14. How many top athletes outside the MMA world will want to come and fight in UFC if they think the sport is cleaner? Conversely, how many fighters or future prospects will avoid fighting in UFC due to the new drug testing program?

15. Will UFC force fighters to sign new contracts (like they did after PRIDE acquisition) with modified contractual language to request permission for this new drug testing program? What if a fighter currently under contract says “no”? Can that fighter petition a Vegas court for declaratory relief and become a free agent? Arbitration?

16. If a fighter fails a UFC/USADA drug test and is given a suspension longer than the time left on that fighter’s contract, is such a suspension enforceable a) legally in court and/or b) with all the various state athletic commissions?

17. Will fighters be tested with the same drug screens or will certain fighters be tested for certain drugs and other fighters tested differently?

18. Why was Jeff Novitzky hired by UFC if USADA is the agency running UFC’s drug testing program?

19. Who will see the actual USADA drug testing results besides UFC? Will all positive test results be released to the public? Given that USADA is working for UFC and not for an athletic commission, how will the public be able to access all results given that it is done by a private, not public entity? The honor results with whatever is posted online?

20. If a fighter wishes to appeal a drug test result and has to appeal the result in Las Vegas, are the fighters inherently at a disadvantage due to how many attorneys have worked for the Fertittas in the past and therefore can’t take on clients due to conflicts of interest considerations?

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 9 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

9 Responses to “Let’s play 20 questions regarding the new UFC & USADA drug testing program”

  1. Rob Maysey says:

    Right on Zach–

    I’d be interested in opinion on answers, even if broken into parts.

  2. Answer: “Shut up and sit down!”

  3. Need a fighters union to stop this bs.

  4. Chris says:

    That’s a lot of questions.

  5. Lance says:

    If you aren’t micro-dosing in 2015, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    Perfect? No

    Step in the right direction? Absolutely.

    Out of competition testing program is a great thing. It will probably have to be tweaked over the next few years once problems arise.

  7. Michael Rubino says:

    While I don’t trust USADA, I trust VADA even less. When a fighter tests positive, the information should NOT be passed on to reporters to get headlines. Every time a fighter got caught by VADA, it just so happened that Gabe Montoya reported the information on social networks before the fighter in question or his promoter even knew. But when another organization handled the tests, he found themselves without any scoops at all.

  8. “..can UFC use a failed drug test for negotiating leverage with a top fighter in order to take a pay cut in exchange for the failed result not going public?” Are you serious with this question??? Even knowing what I know about the UFC and the Fertitta Brothers’ history of corruption, this is a preposterous suggestion. Also, for the last question, forget conflict of interest concerns regarding lawyers. The Fertittas don’t really have that many lawyers they personally work with. The bigger issue is outright bias of the courts and all the judges toward their local major taxpayers: The Fertittas, the UFC and the Station Casinos empire. There’s a reason all those anti-trust cases originated in California.

  9. Mark says:

    New question: how long will Ken Shamrock be suspended if he makes it to the Kimbo fight.

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