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UFC backs 4-year doping bans, to introduce increased out-of-competition testing

Dana White and Lorenzo Feritta addressed its PEDs issue at a press conference this evening.

UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.
UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.

THE UFC HAS outlined plans to introduce more stringent testing and stricter penalties in a bid to tackle its performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) problem.

MMA’s premier franchise has been rocked a number of high-profile incidents in recent months with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones testing positive for cocaine out of competition and former middlweight champion Anderson Silva failing two tests, pre and post-fight, last month.

“As you know it has been a challenging few weeks here at the UFC,” said CEO Lorenzo Fertitta at a press conference held this evening. “While our popularity worldwide continues to grow, we have recently seen issues with several of our high profile athletes failing drug tests.

“We’re extremely disappointed with these but truthfully they are as a result of our committment to enhances drug testing. We said we were going to catch athletes using PEDs and we are doing just that.

“These findings have caused us to take a deeper look at our current policies, our administration and communication process, as well as how we can better educate and lead our athletes in the areas of health and wellness.

We recognise the need for a more robust out-of-competition plan in accordance with athletic commissions and regulatory bodies. Simply put, we can do better.

“Today marks the continuation of our call to action to combat the use of PEDs. It is our belief that this plan will drive us in making our sport safer and allowing all of our athletes to compete on an even playing field.”

Fertitto announced that the UFC plans to:

  • Test 100% of fighters competing on the night of an event. That will result in an average of 984 tests annually.
  • Subject all main event and championship belt fighters to enhanced out-of-competition PED testing from July 2015.  Approximately 96 marquees fighters will be tested annually. 
  • Introduce comprehensive random out-of-competition PED testing for all UFC fighters from July 2015.
  • Hand out harsher penalties. They will advocate four-year bans for a first time PED offender.

UFC testing 2

He added: “This should be a call-out to all our fighters that you will be tested both in and out of competition and if you are using PEDs, you will be caught and there will be significant penalties.”

It was also revealed that a second title fight has been added to UFC 189. As well as Conor McGregor facing Jose Aldo in the headline bout, welterweight champion Robbie Lawler will defend his belt against Rory MacDonald in a co-main event in Las Vegas on 11 July.

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Ben Blake

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