With performance-enhancing-drugs plaguing the sport, the UFC is set to launch its brand new and improved, stricter drug testing program on July 1, 2015 alongside the United States Anti-Doping Agency and long-time anti-doping advocate Jeff Novitsky. Given this date, UFC 189, which is slated for July 11, 2015, will be the first event subjected to the new testing.
Although the event is being headlined by a highly-anticipated featherweight title tilt between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor, it seems as if Rory “Red King” MacDonald, who takes on welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in the co-main event, is the first fighter to experience the new drug testing program.
Speaking with MMAJunkie, MacDonald stated that he’s randomly been tested twice already, both blood and urine:
“I’ve been tested twice,” MacDonald said. “Yesterday in the afternoon, and then not last Saturday, but the Saturday before that. (I gave) blood and urine.”
Continuing on, “Red King” claimed that he’s all in favor of the new testing structure, saying that the old system was too easy to play. MacDonald believes that these changes will definitely fix the problem in mixed martial arts, and weed out the cheaters:
“I think it’s a good thing; cheaters need to be punished for what they’re doing,” MacDonald said. “The system that they’re using, it was just so lenient that the guys would cheat anyway and it was not a big deal so they would just keep doing it. This really puts a stop to it, so I’m all for it.”
MacDonald actually has some experience with PED abusers, as he was originally slated to meet Hector Lombard at April’s UFC 186. However, Lombard popped for PEDs following his UFC 182 bout against Josh Burkman, causing the bout with MacDonald to be scrapped, and opening the door for “Red King” to secure a title shot.
According to the Canadian it’s simple: if you’re a professional athlete, don’t cheat. MacDonald also stated that he expects more random testing in the next few weeks leading up to the fight:
“It’s pretty cut and dry for me; don’t take illegal substances if you’re going to be a professional athlete,” MacDonald said. “We’re still three and a half weeks out from the fight, so I’m sure there will be more.”
MacDonald’s long time trainer, Firas Zahabi, also spoke on the situation, saying that he’s thrilled with the new testing. Zahabi said that MMA is not life or death, it’s a sport, and it should be clean:
“I’m thrilled; I hope they keep up with the program, I hope they clean up the sport,” Zahabi said. “It’s about safety first, health first; it’s a sport, it’s not all or nothing. We’re not doing this for life or death. It’s a sport and it should be clean.”
Will we see more fighters popping for PEDs once the new testing is implemented?