The UFC may have instituted an all-new and more stringent drug-testing policy that went into effect on July 1, but the headliners of tonight’s (Sun., August 23, 2015) UFC Fight Night 74 from Saskatoon, Canada, haven’t felt the ramifications just yet.
Rising featherweight Max Holloway informed MMAJunkie.com that he had not been randomly tested out of competition prior to his pivotal main event against fellow riser Charles Oliveira, adding that he would like to in an effort to help clean up the sport:
“I did not get tested out of competition or nothing, so I don’t know what’s up with that. I would love to get tested. I think it’s great for the sport. It’s awesome and it’s crazy to see the sport finally getting cleaned up. …I think it’s good. I have nothing to hide.”
That effort to clean up the sport involves partnering with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to enact random testing of the UFC’s entire 600-fighter roster, and vastly increased penalties for performance-enhancing drug (PED) such as a hefty three-year suspension for first-time offenders and stiff fines consisting of 40 to 50 percent of a fighter’s purse.
The much-needed plan to clean up MMA is a valiant one to be certain, yet USADA and the Saskatchewan Athletic Commission revealed that neither Holloway nor Oliveira had been tested randomly in their training camps for the event, which airs live tonight on FOX Sports 1 from the SaskTel Centre.
That’s a bit of disconcerting news for Holloway, who voiced his strong anti-PED stance by focusing on the fact that those using steroids in fighting will do more damage due to the violent nature of the contact sport. ‘Blessed’ wonders how such fighters can sleep at night considering they could gravely injure their opponent:
“PEDs, at the end of the day, it’s wrong; especially in combat sports. If me and you are fighting, I can kill you. When one guy is taking PEDs and one guy is not, that’s an advantage. We’re not riding bicycles. This is a contact sport. We’re not playing volleyball. Go do something less contact if that stuff happens.
“This is where someone can actually die. You’re playing with someone’s life and that’s not cool at all. That’s super disrespectful and that’s why I get super hurt when I find out people were on drugs or steroids. That’s just cheating and I look at guys like, ‘How can you sleep at night with yourself?’ I want to get tested. They’re picking them off one by one and it’s great for the sport.”
Several high-profile fighters, including longtime former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and middleweight champion Chris Weidman, have supported the program but noted that they haven’t seen any specific measures go into effect just yet. It’s obviously going to take time to establish all of the plan’s many guidelines.
Still, even though UFC Fight Night 74 is a relatively under-the-radar event, all main event fighters were said to be randomly tested extensively heading into their bouts. Is it time for the USADA and athletic commissions to enforce their new ideas with more consistency, or should they be given a pass as the new rules get implemented?