It’s always nice when someone finally gets it. After days, month or even years of subtle (or not so subtle) hints that things are slowly going awry, it’s exciting when the hypothetical light bulb finally turns on. That’s when the real fun begins. Things change, new ideas are implemented and those who once fought against the establishment are now fighting with it. It’s like the beginning of a Michael Bay movie only with fewer explosions and better acting.
In a statement to EPSN on Wednesday UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner said the company is in talks with several independent drug testing agencies in hopes of partnering with one before the end of the year. Ratner went on to explain how comprehensive and detailed this new testing will be.
“Unannounced blood and urine is going to happen, hopefully in the next three or four months. When you’re talking about 500 fighters, there are a lot of logistics. Having fighters in foreign countries makes it tougher, but we’re coming up with a plan and (agencies) are making proposals to us in the next two weeks. The UFC will be randomly testing a percentage of fighters. When we decide on this regiment, it’s going to be a big cost but it’s well worth it when we do these out-of-competition tests.”
I applaud the UFC for finally taking the necessary steps to ensure fighter safety. Seriously, how many times is one willing to take a public relation hook to the face when it comes to your employees testing positive for performance enhancing drugs? Let’s not forget that stars such as UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre have requested (practically demanded) independent drug-testing prior to a title defense. St. Pierre has stated he will remain in retirement until the UFC implements a legitimate drug-testing protocol. And when your biggest pay-per-view draw speaks, eventually, you listen.
All I know is somewhere at a home gym in Las Vegas Roy Nelson is smiling and looking forward to his Performance Enhancing Dinner.