ZUFFA CEO Lorenzo Fertitta sat down recently with ESPN's Brett Okamoto, and called for more random drug testing in MMA by the regulating bodies. Fertitta said he is even willing to pay for it, and has. However, Fertitta, a former regulator himself, explained he is not in favor of the UFC assuming that role. Further, he is also not in favor of VADA or WADA handling testing in MMA.
“I think we have to understand at the end of the day we are unlike other sports,” said Fertitta. “We are regulated and cannot be presumptuous in thinking we can just take away whatever authority [commissions] have and put it in our hands. It’s not that simple.
“You have to understand how state regulatory systems work. You have to work in conjunction with them. They issue us a license in order to promote events. It’s not like we’re putting on events on our own. We’re under their jurisdiction.”
“VADA has no jurisdiction over a fight. Whether a fight takes place, suspensions, a fighter license -- it’s all relative to the commission. I don’t want to put words in their mouth, but they don’t want to be in a situation where a third party has done testing, they have no idea what happened and are then put in a position where they have to render a decision on something they had nothing to do with."
In an interview with Trent Reinsmith, the Nevada State Athletic Commission's chairman Francisco Aguilar, agreed that drug testing needs to be done by government regulators, and not by an outside body.
Mixed martial arts, along with boxing, is unique in the sports world, in that it is regulated by the government, and not by a private entity.
"I understand the perspective that it needs to be done by the state athletic commission because they are the governing body with jurisdiction of the sport and they have some regulatory power over the fighters," said Aguilar.
"We would have to have control and we would have to have chain of custody of the entire process."
"If you look at the last nine months, the progression we've made in our drug testing program has been substantial. But, are we to a point where we are comfortable? No. There's a lot more we need to do, and can do, and will do."
"We have to be smart about how we do this. We can't just develop a drug testing program just to have a drug testing program. There has to be some logic and methodology behind the program, and we will get there, but we've had this little bit of a hiccup of not having an executive director.
"Once we get an executive director in place this is going to be a high priority for the commission. It takes consultation of the doctors, the commissioners, the executive director and some of the past fighters to say, ‘hey, this is a strong program, this is how it needs to work.'"
"We don't want people to know what the full methodology is behind the program, so that they can work to beat it."
"It's going to take some time for us as a commission to force the issue, and we will continue to do that. You've seen our enhanced testing during major bouts that we've done with blood and urine, you look at the decision we made with TRT, now we have to look at what we're going to do as a program as a whole."
"You also have to understand that we have resource limitations too. We have to deal with those limitations."
The NSAC could appeal to the Nevada legislature for funding to do more testing. Another approach could be fight promoters bearing the cost of increased testing.
"We'd have to figure out how that would work. We work with them now with the enhanced testing and they have covered those expenses, and they never have hesitated to do so."
"Lorenzo comes from a perspective of being a previous regulator and understanding it. He wants to do the right thing for the sport - we just have to figure out what that is."
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