Recently, Jon Jones made headlines with reports that he would undergo random drug testing, paid for by the UFC, and under the guidance of the Maryland State Athletic Commission. Jones requested the drug testing for himself and his opponent, Glover Teixeira, and the UFC seemed satisfied to pony up the extra dough, not just for urinalysis, but blood tests as well. This first step has the potential to be the start of something bigger... Or, just a one off idea; a moment of good press before returning to business as usual. Fortunately for fight fans, it sounds like much more of the former. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta sat down to talk with Jeff Wagenheim of Sports Illustrated about the future of drug testing in the UFC.
"I think it's going to be something that continues to happen on a pretty regular basis going forward," UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told SI.com on Monday evening.
"We've always tried to do whatever we can to embrace and encourage the commissions to test as much as they possibly can," said Fertitta. "Unfortunately for most commissions, they're restrained from a budgetary standpoint. They just don't have the resources to handle random testing because there's a lot more that goes into how it's done. In order for the program to be successful, it truly needs to be random and it needs to be pretty in-depth."
It's because of that expense that the UFC has decided to step in and start writing the checks to make a more in-depth drug testing program happen. And while Fertitta may not have wanted to show this as a policy directed at wooing Georges St-Pierre back into the fold, he did speak about the former champion somewhat, saying "We want to make sure that we have the highest standard of any sport. So I think we're on the same page as Georges."
It's a big step forward for the UFC, and something critics have been calling for for quite some time. The UFC's stance that they are "tested by the government," has always been somewhat undercut by the fact that they could afford to do more, even through the systems they already use. As the NSAC chair, Fernando Aguilar intonated, there may be a few steps to go through before such a plan is a reality, but it appears that the UFC is a very willing partner in the process.