UFC held a press conference on Wednesday to announce how they intend to handle the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of MMA going forward.
Following the many recent high-profile drug-test failures of Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz, Hector Lombard and many others, UFC announced a “Testing Call To Action.”
The promotion targeted July 1, 2015 as the date they intend to implement a new, random, out-of-competition drug testing program that will include all 585 fighters on the roster, including enhanced drug testing for headliners and champions leading up to fights.
UFC is looking at hiring a third-party outfit to handle the actual testing and work with the various athletic commissions before fights within their jurisdiction. The company announced that they will personally help fund commission testing in addition to their own program.
For what it’s worth, UFC executives Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta both acknowledged that for their company, things will likely get a lot worse before they get better, but they are completely willing to deal with whatever consequences that comes in an attempt to legitimately clean up the sport.
They cited that out of the 19 fighters that tested out-of-competition in recent months, five failed, which to them indicated that there was a significant issue that needed to be addressed.
The key to the new testing policy is how UFC intends to handle punishments for those who continue to test positive in out-of-competition, pre-fight and post-fight tests.
At the press conference on Wednesday, UFC made it very clear that they are pushing for much stricter penalties, pointing out that they are personally advocating that first-time offenders be handed down a two-year-to-four-year suspension, as opposed to the current system, which only results in a nine-month suspension for first-time offenders.
Below is the graphic that aired during the press conference that outlined some of UFC’s intentions.