If you're a fighter for the UFC, things just got real up in here. More specifically, fans may remember a couple months ago, when the UFC made a big public announcement about how they were going to push athletic commissions to enforce much harsher drug testing policies and much larger punishments for drug test failures. The question, of course, was just how eager would athletic commissions be to take on this UFC proposal? It looks like the answer, at lest in Nevada, is "very."
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NAC) rolled out a number of new drug testing measures on Friday, May 15th, including heavily increased punishments across the board for all number of drug testing violations. Most notably, fighters that fail a post-fight drug test will now be credited with a loss instead of a no contest.
Here's a look at some of proposed changes regarding the use of illegal substances:
Proposed suspension lengths and fines for various substances at NSAC hearing. pic.twitter.com/jwUc04eRKC— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 15, 2015
The new penalties have been approved by the Nevada Athletic Commission— Jason Floyd (@Jason_Floyd) May 15, 2015
ALSO NOTEWORTHY! Earmarked for future discussion: Should NSAC continue to follow WADA's testing and tolerance levels for cannabis?— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 15, 2015
That's right, the second offense for smoking pot will now land you a harsher sentence than using diuretics. There are a handful of UFC fighters who are already sitting right in those cross-hairs. Word is that the new punishments will go into effect starting September 1st, but for now the NAC has officially put them on the books. This is a major shift in the drug testing landscape for MMA, time will tell if it's actually for the better.
UPDATE: MMAFighting's Shaun Al-Shatti reported a couple of interesting additional points from the NAC's announcements:
Nevada Athletic Commission plans to reach out to all commissions in the country and recommend they follow the NAC's lead, re: punishments.— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) May 15, 2015
NAC votes to shift diuretics and stimulants from the 'in-competition' prohibited list to the 'always prohibited' list.— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) May 15, 2015
UPDATE 2: Apparently the NAC has amended some of their own proposals. The updated regulations were posted by ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Twitter.
I believe I noted every amendment, but will confirm after meeting. This is the updated list of fines/suspensions. pic.twitter.com/4M3psalaH5— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) May 15, 2015