The way the UFC handled Cung Le’s HGH test fiasco was unsavoury, to say the least….
UFC middleweight Cung Le was on the wrong end of a nasty TKO loss to Michael Bisping in Macao; UFC Fight Night 49 was the scene, and “The Count” put a pretty severe beating on the Sanshou master before it proved too much in the fourth round. Who would’ve thought that the worst was yet to come for the former Strikeforce champion.
Indeed, news spread like wildfire that Cung Le had failed a post-fight drug test for HGH after the bout against Bisping, and the media storm had begun. Pictures of Le in training for Bisping were scrutinized for his size and how ripped the Vietnamese kickboxer appeared, but it turns out we were all too hasty in judgement. Le’s appeal stood up, and egg was applied to the face of the UFC after we learned that the test was flawed.
Talking to MMAFighting.com, a relieved Le spoke about how the promotion handled the entire fiasco:
“While I feel vindicated in this matter, the UFC’s press release does little in the way of an apology of which I believe I am rightly owed after unfairly enduring the public’s scrutiny. Their decision to announce me as a user of performance enhancing drugs with little thought to the accuracy of the testing or proper procedures has caused my family and I great pain; that we have now come to know was completely unnecessary had the proper care been taken to ensure my test results were in fact valid proof of impropriety.”
Of course the UFC has to be seen to oppose drug cheats in MMA, and within their promotion, but it is now clear that Le was innocent. A little more research and background knowledge would have saved a lot of time and trouble for both parties involved, but I suppose the promotion is still learning about drug testing. It wasn’t until recently (in terms of the UFC lifespan) that fighters were actually rigorously tested. Le’s manager, Gary Ibarra, had some pretty damning things to say about the promotion:
“Regardless of the UFC’s decision, we are left to wonder if this whole matter should have ever happened at all but we do now know several things for certain: 1) my client did not take any performance enhancing drugs, 2) we questioned the propriety of the testing procedures before the UFC announced their initial suspension, 3) sports doping tests should be left to impartial third party experts, and 4) the UFC should have confirmed and evaluated my client’s test results before dispensing discipline and making inaccurate statements that could permanently tarnish Cung’s previously pristine reputation,”
“The absence of a formal apology, in light of the recent ‘medical advice’ the UFC received, which prompted them to lift his suspension, is outrageous. Moreover, the insinuation that my client will not be disciplined due to ‘the [mere] lack of conclusive laboratory results,’ is a clear attempt to deflect responsibility and cloud my client’s innocence, when, in fact, the mistakes that were made resulted solely from the UFC’s reckless and premature actions and decisions.”
In light of all the controversial matters surrounding the essentially false drug test results, would it be appropriate for the UFC to apologize? Le’s camp seems to think so, and for all the trouble this caused him, I’d have to agree…