Major League Baseball arguably has the most powerful union in all of sports. During the last strike, that cut short the 1994 season, the union broke the owners, which almost never happens. Ever since that debacle for MLB and its owners the concurrent CBA deals went off with little fanfare. Till this year. Over the weekend sources confirmed that for the first time major league payers will be required to submit to blood tests for enhancement drugs undetectable in urine testing. Why would the players make this unprecedented agreement to become the first major North American sports league to require blood testing? Because it is better for them and the game. Since Jose Canseco started "outing players" to the Mitchel Report and finally the slow leak of high level players like Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez getting exposed baseball has been under the cloud of "The Steroid Era". An era that every accomplishment, every record, every win will forever have an asterisk next to it. By allowing blood testing the players officially put an end to this era on the first day of Spring Training when they submit their first blood tests.
If you were an alien who came to Earth just to observe its sports and studied the history of PED's usage, particularly in North America, you would be flabbergasted that baseball, an almost entirely non-violent sport, was the first to require blanket blood testing. Incredibly violent sports like hockey, the NFL, boxing, MMA all largely have no blood testing required. The NFL players came close to ratifying an agreement for blood testing but balked at the last minute. Now that the precedent has been set, now that a major sports league has made it a requirement to have its players submit to blood testing the pressure will be on for the other sports leagues to follow suit, I believe this will especially be the case for MMA and the UFC. The UFC is entering an incredibly important stage in their existence. The FOX deal puts them under a microscope in a way they have never been. We know this issue has been up to the commissions in the past and some have taken steps requiring fighters submit themselves to blood tests. The other states should follow suit and the UFC should put pressure on for them to do so. If the state does not require the testing then the UFC should do it themselves and have it be handled by independent labs.
The UFC has done a marvelous job becoming "THE" MMA brand in North America. They have grown the sport in leaps and bounds and at fortuitous moments made key acquisitions to maintain that position. Becoming a leader of a sport also makes you its custodian. Dana can no longer hide behind the commissions on this issue when the sport is now being displayed on the biggest stage it will be here in the States. The UFC must lead on this issue. If they do I think it will do wonders for their image to the new group of fans they might attract with the FOX deal. That is going to become paramount and the real question I have is similar to the NFL players who balked at the last minute. What are you afraid of?