In a press conference in Las Vegas today the UFC unveiled a hard-hitting new approach to tackling the growing problem of performance enhancing drugs in the sport.
UFC president Dana White, CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and COO Lawrence Epstein revealed that starting from July 1st of this year every fighter will be subject to testing during the night of their fights.
In an even bigger move, they will also be implementing comprehensive out-of-competition random drug testing for all 585 fighters on the roster using a still to be announced reputable drug testing organization who will adhere to WADA testing standards.
In doing so they’ll be ramping up their spending on testing expenses from their current $500,000 a year to several millions of dollars annually.
In addition to that the UFC hopes to implement a major deterrent to anyone who still tries to cheat the system by dramatically increasing the potential suspension period that a fighter will face if caught using PED’s.
Currently 9 months is the standard suspension a fighter would receive, but the UFC are now suggesting that they should be subject to a minimum of a 2 year suspension, with even a 4 year suspension being under consideration.
As White stated, such a punishment would be “career threatening” and they hope it will serve as a major deterrent that could convince cheaters that it’s not worth the risk and in doing so help clean up the sport.
However, both Fertitta and White acknowledged that, “things are likely to get worse before they get better”, but they highlight the fact that they are in this for the long haul and have successfully tackled major issues like this in the past such as getting the sport regulated in almost every state in the U.S.