When Jon Jones requested random drug testing leading up to tonight's UFC 172 bout with Glover Teixeira it was a bit of a surprise. Random testing programs for individual fights are very uncommon in the UFC and, though it doesn't appear that this was a particularly thorough program utilizing such tests as Carbon Isotope Ratio testing, it was treated as a step forward for testing in the UFC.
Bloody Elbow has learned that the company hired by the Maryland State Athletic Commission for the sample collection is Drug Free Sport. DFS has overseen testing for the NFL, NBA, NCAA and MLB.
News broke yesterday that DFS is named in a lawsuit that includes improper handling of drug test samples for the NFL. A New York Times story says that Andrea Wickerham, a former DFS executive, was fired after she expressed concerns over the 2013 handling of an NFL player's drug test sample.
Some of the details are here:
In September or October, the senior director for N.F.L. testing of Drug Free Sport came to Wickerham with concerns about the collector and said that he had also spoken with another executive at the company. That executive had not addressed the concerns because "he was afraid the company would lose the N.F.L. as a client," the lawsuit stated.
When Wickerham reported the issue to Uryasz, she claims she was then excluded from the investigation.
DFS has come under fire in the past for an extremely low rate of positive tests. Such as in their NCAA testing program where, for example, they had 63 positive tests on 10,735 tested athletes, or around 0.6%. Leading to the former head of the U.C.L.A. Olympic testing lab to claim that they have such a low rate "because they're not doing real testing."
There are other concerns that include things like "random testing" involving a day's notice, allowing athletes time to take measures to pass testing.
This, of course, does not mean that there will have been issues with the Jones vs. Glover testing. But the idea that a company could mishandle samples so they don't lose clients is at least worth some concern over how far that kind of behavior would reach.