On Wednesday, Feb. 18, the UFC announced that they would implement a new comprehensive random drug testing policy that would apply to approximately 585 fighters on the roster, and take effect by July 1. Amongst the fighters who applaud the announcement is women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
The division's ruling queen was satisfied to see that the UFC's drug testing policies had finally caught up to the stringent Olympic testing that she had been subjected to since the age of sixteen.
"I am extremely encouraged by all the steps that they are taking," Rousey said at the UFC 184 scrum. "It's becoming much closer to the testing policies that I got used to growing up. One thing that I thought was really lacking before was random out-of-competition testing for everybody all the time, which is what I've had to deal with since I was sixteen years old. I started getting in-competition testing at fourteen, and then was doing out-of-competition testing by the time I was sixteen.
"I thought it was a real shame that, at sixteen years old, I was getting tested more stringently than when I was a world champion fighter."
Although pleased with the direction that the UFC was taking, the champion advocated for harsher punishments than the ones being handed out by the athletic commissions.
"Now it really seems like the UFC's policies will become much more comparable, and I'm really, really happy to see that. I'm glad to see that they are increasing the punishments; with the Olympics, if you test positive, you could be out of the next Olympics. So you could be out for eight years waiting for another Olympics. I would really like to see increased punishment for people who are repeat offenders; maybe it should double every single time."
Given that MMA is a violent combat sport, Rousey believes that it is imperative to the survival of the sport that steps such as these recent policies are taken. If safety becomes a legitimate issue, the sport will collapse.
"With any combat sport like the UFC, (PED testing) is more important that any other sport. It's not just about fairness, it's safety of the fighters, and keeping the sport safe is what makes it possible for us to do it.
"You can't exchange your honor for the accolades of any kind of accomplishments."