UFC president Dana White hosted the media in his office yesterday for the sort of impromptu press conference that you only get from the biggest loose cannon executive in sports. While it appears that White ranted about a whole host of topics, but it was his explosive behavior toward questions about performance enhancing drugs that was most interesting.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports posted a great first-hand account of the meeting:
Give me a name, he demanded, and I'll test them today, or don't ever say it to me again. He was yelling, his face reddened, the fury evident. He sounded more like he was looking for a fight than trying to promote one.
"Give me one [expletive] name right now, I'll get them on the phone, and somebody will drive to their [expletive] house today and will test them," White said. "Say it. Say it."
After pausing for a second to silence, he resumed.
"Then don't ever [expletive] say it to me again," he said, defiantly. "You guys like to play these [expletive] games. Let's do it. I'm ready. I'm down. Let's do this right now. Give me one name. Give me 10 names. Give me all the names you want; I'll test all these [expletives] right now."
The reporters remained silent. It's not a reporter's job to make news; it's to report the news. But White was gunning for a fight.
That last line is especially important. A reporter can't stand in a room and accuse specific fighters of using drugs. And they also should not dictate who gets drug tested just on personal curiosity. I guarantee everyone in the room would have liked to have given a list of names, even if it was just to say "give a test to everyone that currently holds a UFC title."
That also ignores the larger issue of PED use. What kind of testing are we talking about? Would White have asked for a urine test to have been conducted? In that case it'd mostly be a waste of everyone's time.
Still, White made the statement to the media yesterday that "You get [expletive] caught when you're not clean." This despite an utter absence of the testing methods that could do the catching.
So, if we're talking testing, let's get real about it. Who would I like to see tested? Everyone on your roster, blood test with a full workup that includes everything from steroid panels to hGH screening to EPO screening to carbon isotope ratio testing to check for the presence of synthetic testosterone. Also random timing and no warning.
White then went on to talk about wanting to see the sport rid of testosterone replacement therapy. When challenged by Iole to amend the UFC fight contracts to ban TRT, however, White backed down and fell back into the "we're regulated by the government" pattern that ultimately is what defines the UFC's drug testing stance.
Adding such a clause is no different than any other aspect of a fight contract. Boxers can build what gloves will be used in a fight and the size of the ring into a contract despite the "government oversight" of the sport. Same with boxers or mixed martial artists who build in clauses that add testing through VADA or USADA. If White wants to be rid of TRT in the UFC, it can be done and it can be done simply at the UFC level.
White, always willing to take a bold stance, will not take the bold stance of "if you want to fight in the UFC, you can not utilize testosterone replacement drugs." Instead, saying that they'll continue to put pressure on the commissions.
That, more than anything else, is what should be taken out of yesterday's meeting. While White pressured the media to provide names to test, something they can't responsibly do, he was called out on a very simple way to accomplish one thing he claimed he wanted to see happen and he left it for others to clean up.
I don't doubt that White does want the UFC to be clean. A massive drug scandal could be something that hurts a company already seeing a dip in star power. But actions would speak much louder than his shouted challenges to the media.