United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief Travis Tygart recently criticized drug testing in MMA as being far below what he claimed his organization provided. Further, while regulation in North America is done by State, Provincial, Tribal, and Municipal Athletic Commissions, Tygart chose to direct his criticism at the more high profile UFC. "Make no mistake," Tygart told Reuters, "rules that apply to UFC in the states are horrific in comparison to the WADA Code."
Now Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer offers an erudite point by point refutation of Tygart's hypothesis, or in the vernacular, Kizer lays a smackdown.
“We disagree on that point – the blood testing for HGH. He [Tyler Tygart] does this in a way that isn’t the most professional way of debating the issue and makes us all look bad – that is par the course for him and that is fine -- but first off, it is too invasive. Sticking a needle into the arm is more invasive than having a guy pee in a cup and we know that. We made a big deal at a previous NSAC hearing about taking blood too close to the fight and the risks involved, which include developing a hematoma, nicking the vein and so on.
“What’s telling is that USADA took no blood from Shane [Mosley] or Floyd [Mayweather] a week from the fight. They make a big deal about it and when they had their chance, they didn’t do it. That speaks volumes to who has the right attitude about blood testing.”
“There’s also the issue of whether it’s accurate or not. Urine testing is the best test for those substances as steroids are out of the blood very quickly. Travis Tygart has even testified before us about this. As for the HGH blood test, they’ve done thousands of tests and they’ve only caught one guy. Either he is the only guy doing HGH or there are a lot of false negatives. In fact, the guy they caught had just used it so it was circulating in his system and he admitted it immediately."
“The testing results from the HGH blood testing has not been peer-reviewed. So if an athlete got caught and they went to court, they would not get convicted because the test hasn’t been validated by the scientific community. If you do catch somebody but the results are going to get thrown out of court, then why would you test? For those reasons, I don’t know anyone, unless they have an agenda or are trying to get funding, who would say this is the thing to do right now.”
Kizer also addressed a problem that has been dangling over the MMA community, namely what to do to prevent faking urine tests. In short, an official needs to see the urine coming out of the penis. There are many things that separate regulators from everyone else in the sport, but chief among those differences is that we don't need to see urine coming out of the penis.
“Well this kind of thing goes all the way back to Kevin Randleman where he basically used a fake penis, put on a pair of bike shorts, had a cup and came in to take pre-fight urine,” says Keith Kizer, NSAC executive director. “He lifted up the leg of shorts, took out the fake penis and did the test. We checked on temperature, sent it to a lab, and we found it was fake urine. We said ‘look, now you guys have to pull down your shorts so that whoever is administering the test can see everything.’
“When Thiago Silva came in he pulled down his shorts and showed his actual penis, but as he turned towards the toilet he palmed a bottle, grabbing his penis in the other hand, pretended like he was urinating but was really putting the contents of bottle into the sample. We know now that Thiago’s sample was fake urine. It took him until the B sample to fess up to that.”
“So the changes that we’re making are -- and it’s unfortunate we have to go to this level because guys like Thiago Silva and Kevin Randleman ruined it for the bunch -- that you need to see the urine coming out of the penis and into the cup. All fighters will be shirtless, and they shouldn’t have a problem with that since they fight shirtless in front of thousands of people anyway, and they will pull their pants down to the knees and then urinate right in front of the inspector. They have to see the urine actually going into the vial.”
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