USADA Chief Official Criticizes Drug Testing Policies in MMA

OAKLAND CA - AUGUST 07: Chael Sonnen walks to his corner in between rounds of his fights against Anderson Silva during the UFC Middleweight Championship bout at Oracle Arena on August 7 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Ask UFC President Dana White about steroids and PEDs, and he is quick to repeat the refrain about MMA being the only sport drug tested by the government. The argument is typical promoterspeak, an attempt to convince fans that MMA is clean while also absolving Zuffa from taking a more proactive stance.

Tyler Tygart, chief of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, is calling out the sport's inadequate testing. The Montreal Gazette reports:

"They want, for public relation and marketing reasons, to say they have something that makes them look better than they truly are," Tygart told Reuters.

"Why don't they have better rules to give athletes and sports fans comfort that there is not a rampant culture of cheating with dangerous drugs going on in their sport?

"Not only are they not WADA Code compliant they have fought tooth and nail not to have any principles of the WADA Code," said Tygart. "It's a joke that they claim they are trying to protect their sport with WADA policies.

Tygart said not only are the state athlete commissions inadequate, but that lawyers for mixed martial arts argued at a recent Nevada State Athletic Commission hearing against beefing up anti-doping efforts with blood testing.

"Make no mistake, rules that apply to UFC in the states are horrific in comparison to the WADA Code."

I find the hysteria surrounding PEDs tiring, and Tyler Tygart often comes off as a self-serving blowhard, but it's hard to deny that current testing procedures are a joke. 

Most commissions require a simple urine test, a test that was recently defeated by use of a urine adulterant in front of a NSAC official. There is little (if any) blood testing done, and out-of-competition testing is not utilized despite being on the books in certain jurisdictions.

This double entendre from Dana White is telling:

"If you get caught using steroids these days you seriously have to be a moron."

While White wants to pass the buck over to the commissions, there have been a handful of instances with the UFC handling their own testing. The company chose not to test anyone at UFC 69 with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation rules leaving responsibility to the "sanctioning body." At UFC 70 in England, the company again refused to test its athletes despite Dana White's claims otherwise during a conference call prior to the event.

The UFC did test at UFC 89 in Birmingham, England, where Chris Leben tested positive for Stanazolol. It currently conducts its own testing in Britain and Australia, which don't operate under athletic commissions as in the United States and Canada.

That wasn't the case at UFC 129, however, when the UFC had to step in to handle tests after the Ontario commission refused testing of their own.

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