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CSAC director says evidence doesn't support 'even 50 percent' of fighters being on PEDs

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CSAC director Andy Foster gives his estimation on the level of PED use in MMA, and how much year-round out-of-competition testing would cost.

Andy Foster is the director of the California State Athletic Commission, a board that handles a lot of PED testing due to the number of MMA events run in the state. Bellator just ran there a couple of weeks ago, WSOF ran there in December, and the UFC is in LA this weekend for a big pay-per-view, UFC 184.

Recently, the sport has been hit by a number of high-profile test failures for performance-enhancing drugs as well as recreational ones. Stars such as Anderson Silva, Hector Lombard, and Jon Fitch have all been suspended for suspected PED use. And while the CSAC head understands that there is a problem there, he does not believe that the majority of fighters are cheating. And claimed that the evidence backs that up when he was a guest on The MMA Hour:

"I mean, I do a lot of testing over here, so I look at all of the results that we get back, and certainly there is a problem. I think we all agree that there is a problem. Do I think that 90-percent of the fighters, or 80-percent, or even 50-percent of the fighters out there are doing performance enhancing drugs? I do not. I do not believe that. My evidence does not support that.

"You get a fight card of 24 athletes and you get one or two who pop -- the percentage of that is not that high. You even go to the out-of-competition stuff, and I think with the recent [results] -- very small numbers, mind you -- but what, 30-percent, or 38-percent, or whatever it was, who popped? I mean, that's certainly a problem. Certainly it's a problem, and I'm not saying it's not a problem, but it's not 90-percent of the people doing it."

The UFC recently put together a press conference where they said they would start doing random out-of-competition testing on all of their fighters. Foster gave an indication about how much would that cost, based on how they went about it:

"I would guess that would be about two millions dollars. Two or three millions dollars. Maybe two million. Depends on how many times you want to test them, but that seems about right. Obviously (it also matters) what you want to test them for. I don't know what they're paying and all of that. I just know what our contract says and how much it costs and these different types of things. Depends on what you want to test them for. If you add blood to the mix as well, which I assume they do, it certainly increases the cost of the test.

"I'm not a lab guy," Foster later added. "I've never taken a performance enhancing drug and only have looked at the studies, so I don't know. I don't know if [fight night urine tests are] easy to beat or not. Maybe they are. But I think out-of-competition (tests are) good. That way people know that they can't take [PEDs] during their training, so I think that's important. I think increasing the penalties are important. Because what you want to create is an environment of deterrence and a clean sport."

CSAC recently randomly-tested the main event fighters at UFC 184, Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano. Both fighters came back clean. We'll have to see if everyone else follows their lead on the card, and in the near future.