Photo: Josh Hedges, Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Dr. Margaret Goodman tells Bloody Elbow that VADA has offered to oversee an extensive blood and urine testing program for their fighters with no administrative fees.
Recent months have seen a noticeable uptick in the number of positive drug tests in the UFC. Over the last 6 months there have been nine disclosed positive drug tests in the world's largest fight promotion.
I reached out to Dr. Margaret Goodman of the Voluntary Anti Doping Agencey earlier today and asked if the UFC has asked for any assistance from VADA. Dr. Goodman provided the following statement:
On 2/16/13, VADA sent a proposal to the UFC addressed to Lorenzo, Dana and Frank that VADA would help them set up a state-of-the art PED program with unannounced random testing for blood and urine. We indicated that there would be no adminsitrative charges at least for the first year. This would include education courses. We would use a WADA-accredited lab, certified doping collection officers and the results would go to the fighter, the UFC, the ABC/the official MMA record-keeper for the ABC, and the commission where the fighter held a license. I believe the UFC would save money, improve public confidence that fighters are competing clean, injuries would be less with fighters competing less on PEDs, and overall safety would improve. We also mentioned that although VADA no longer has THC in our testing panel, we would include it at their request. The testing would include EPO, hGH, CIR. To date, we have had no response, but we remain happy to discuss.
In short, this means that the UFC would have no fees to pay for this drug testing other than collection fees and the testing panel -- again, only from WADA-accredited labs. The actual program would be overseen and administered by VADA along with the education portion. So, VADA would basically make no money off of the UFC as they don't own or run the WADA-accredited labs that would receive the collection/testing panel fees.
This is a very serious offer and unannounced random blood and urine testing at basically the cutting edge of sport testing with a low cost could seriously benefit the UFC if they're serious about having the cleanest, safest sport possible. And, with more and more positive drug tests lately, could keep public confidence high.
Of course, year round random testing may lead to more positive drug tests before fights. Which would mean more cancelled bouts. So it is still to be seen if that is something the UFC has any interest in risking.