Included in a Yahoo! Sports article about Jessica Eye and the PR nightmare that took place when she decided to lie to fans and the media about her UFC 166 drug test failure was a bit about the UFC's alleged willingness to go the extra mile in drug testing. The UFC came under some PR fire following Georges St. Pierre stepping away from the sport as the long-time welterweight champion said that he felt the UFC did not have his back on cleaning up the sport.
Here are quotes from the Yahoo piece, discussed earlier today here at Bloody Elbow:
Even more, Fertitta told Yahoo Sports that the UFC embraces regulation and has told commissions that it would pay to have any fighter it has under contract tested at any time. He said that offer would include as many fighters as the commission would want and said it would cover any test, including Carbon Isotope Ratio testing.
Yahoo Sports contacted Francisco Aguilar, the new chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission, who said Fertitta had indeed made such an offer.
"The UFC has been phenomenal to work with in regard to the enhanced testing of the athletes we're looking to do," Aguilar said. "All that has ever been communicated to us from Lorenzo, Lawrence [Epstein, the UFC's chief operating office] and Marc [Ratner, its vice president of regulatory affairs] is that they're in favor of testing. At no point has the UFC ever pushed back on any testing request we've made. We just did an enhanced testing program with Travis Browne and Josh Barnett for their fight [in December at UFC 168] and the UFC was fully supportive and did what we asked.
"Not only haven't they pushed back, they've been the opposite. They've told us they've been open to any and all testing and would gladly pay for whatever tests we wanted to do."
Bloody Elbow obtained the documents for the enhanced testing program for Browne and Barnett from the NSAC and there are some serious things lacking considering the supposed "enhanced" nature of the testing.
The test documentation can be read in PDF format here. The fighters are not named for medical privacy reasons.
If it's confusing, let me break it down for you. The testing consists of a "WADA partial menu." It appears that what is included is a standard steroid panel, a test for Human Growth Hormones (hGH) and a blood count. None of this testing appears as though it would catch any narcotics, drugs of abuse, stimulants, diuretics, etc. The tests go up through fight day, when it appears they're still given the WADA out-of-competition panel. It is possible that Browne and Barnett were also given standard pre and post-fight urine tests by the NSAC which would catch those, but the NSAC has not confirmed that they did the standard urine panel in addition to the enhanced testing as of press time.
There is no EPO testing -- possibly due to the blood count test, but my understanding is that blood counts alone are a flawed EPO testing method if you don't know the blood counts prior to starting the testing routine.
Most importantly, there is no CIR testing, mentioned as something Fertitta said the UFC would cover if a commission wanted to do the test. You can see it mentioned in the "Analysis Requested" portion of the form where it reads "no IRMS." CIR/IRMS testing is considered among the absolute best methods for determining if testosterone is natural or synthetic. As it stands now, an athlete would have to violate the testosterone to epitestosterone limit before any sort of CIR test would be administered. So, without CIR testing, if an athlete is using synthetic testosterone they could get away with it if they keep their T/E ratio in check.
Leaving off the CIR testing undercuts the NSAC's ability to say that their enhanced testing is on the level of VADA, who have always stressed CIR testing as a basic strength of their testing routine, and USADA who has also made it clear that they embrace CIR testing as a part of their standard testing protocol.
The enhanced testing program for the NSAC is lacking what VADA and USADA can bring to the table with that one test alone.
And, if the UFC is truly willing to pay for any testing including CIR testing, that should be included in every single "enhanced testing" program that is carried out for a UFC fight.
Especially one that features a multiple time steroid abuser like Josh Barnett.