With the slew of failed drugs the UFC has had to deal with to kick off 2015, the planet’s most prestigious mixed martial arts promotion knew they had to do something more than just issue their generic press releases stressing their stance against performance-enhancing drugs.
On Wednesday, UFC co-owners Lorenzo Fertitta (pictured), Dana White and COO Lawrence Epstein hosted a press conference in Las Vegas to discuss their plans on implementing a stricter drug testing policy and enforce harsher penalties beginning July 1, 2015.
First and foremost, the UFC will advocate to all athletic commissions that all of their fighters be subjected to in-competition PED testing on fight night. Furthermore, all main event and championship affairs will be subjected to enhanced out-of-competition PED exams, which will account for roughly 96 marquee fighters getting tested per year.
To seal the drug testing deal, the UFC will hire a yet-to-be determined third-party agency to conduct random, out-of-competition PED testing for their 585 athletes throughout each year.
The UFC is estimating they will spend millions of dollars annually for this action, either by financially assisting athletic commissions to help them execute their plan or picking up the entire tab for what the commission don’t cover.
The cherry on top of the stop cheating cake, the UFC will push athletic commissions to enforce stricter penalties, similar to the two-year suspensions WADA hands down for first-time offenders.
White even said they would fully support commissions levying four-year bans.
“Fighters are going to look at risk vs. reward,” White said. “If I can make a couple million dollars, I’ll take the risk. Two or four year [ban] could be career threatening. Now you look at the risk vs. reward, and it’s a lot more dangerous.”
The UFC’s words should certainly scare some of their fighters straight. Hopefully, the execution of this aggressive plan will keep their athletes honest.