Fertitta on funding $45k per fight enhanced drug testing


Fans reacted with disbelief when word came out that enhanced, out-of-competition testing comes to about $45,000 per fight.

So did ZUFFA CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.

“I’ll be honest, when they told me $45,000, I thought, like, they misspoke,” Fertitta told UFC-remains-committed-to-battling-PED-use" target="_blank">MMAJunkie's  Steven Marrocco. Fertitta noted that the costs are prohibitive to do them for each of the 500 fighters under contract, multiple times per year.

The costs are prohibitive for Athletic Commissions as well. The $45,000 for one fight is about 10% of the entire yearly budget for the Nevada State Athletic Commission. A single UFC card would break the years' budget.

Fertitta has made a commitment to underwrite the costs where Athletic Commissions think it is merited, but are unable to foot the bill. So far they have paid for Travis Browne vs. Josh Barnett at UFC 168, and Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira at UFC 172. They will be paying for Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger at UFC 173.

The testing that government athletic commissions do varies enormously from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but it is fairly typical to do day-of urine testing for PEDs and recreational drugs for title fights, and at random for several other fighters on the card. When a fighter had previously tested for PEDs, the top commissions try to do a non-fight day test. The testing is generally done on urine, and is not completely comprehensive.

By contrast, the enhanced testing involves flying a testing professional to the athlete multiple times (Jones for example said he was tested four times). Both blood and urine samples are taken. And the samples are subjected to much closer scrutiny at a WADA-accredited lab in Utah, looking for for example HGH and synthetic testosterone.

Fertitta details the difficulties.

“We’re developing this as we go along, and it’s not something where we’re going to have all the answers right away on this,” said Fertitta. “The sport has made tremendous strides over the last 12 to 24 months, as far as drug testing, and I’ll argue beyond any other sport – I don’t know any other sports that are doing enhanced drug testing and have the commitment that we’re giving.”

“We said we would do it, and we’re going to do it. Now we’re going to continue to work with them to see if there’s maybe a way to get a deal where we’re doing so many of them that the cost will come down or becomes a little bit more cost-effective.”

“I think we’re going to have to get smart about how we deal with it. Obviously, for some of the bigger fights, you’re going to do the enhanced drug testing no matter what it costs. I think for some of the other fights, we’re going to have to be smart.

“Maybe, I’m just throwing this out, maybe it’s kind of half an enhanced drug test. I don’t know. But we need to come to some resolution that accomplishes our goal of ridding the sport of performance-enhancing drugs and at the same time being somewhat reasonable from a cost standpoint. We may have to go to some states and get some additional funding, but this is all very new.”

“The budgetary constraints that these states have just trying to fund education, I don’t think we’re going to be on the list for drug testing in MMA or boxing.

“Ultimately, it’s going to fall on the shoulders of the promoters as it is today. So the question becomes, all the taxes that are paid, and I’m sure it may vary state by state, but in Nevada, all the taxes that are paid to the commission don’t necessarily go to the commission. They go to the general fund of the state, so there’s no allocation back to the commission even though the commission generates a substantial amount of revenue.

“So the longer term items we’re going to have to work through and try to figure out, if there’s a way to maintain those taxes that are paid, at least to help maintain the sport and run the sport, but that’s down the road. For now, we’re paying for it.”

“Everything seems to be geared toward us, which is fine, we’re the leader in the industry. We’ll take the leadership role, and we’re going to do whatever we can to rid the sport of these issues.”

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tags: UFC   regulation   PED   Lorenzo Fertitta   


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Recent Comments »

Chromium site profile image  

5/3/14 1:32 PM by Chromium

Meant Gaff vs. Rosi Sexton, my bad.

crazydave site profile image  

5/3/14 3:25 AM by crazydave

So it costs them one blackjack hand for Dana.  

FCM site profile image  

5/3/14 1:28 AM by FCM

Enzo just trying to justify why UFightCheap wont introduce a comprehensive PED testing program.

The Winter Soldier site profile image  

5/3/14 1:11 AM by The Winter Soldier

What, did Sheila Gaff have a mirror match? 

surf2live site profile image  

5/3/14 1:11 AM by surf2live

IF they do truly Olympic testing each athlete would have to submit an itinerary of where they will be. Not sure how time specific it has to be, but I know that if they go on vacation and shit they would have to explain where they were going and what hotel they are staying at ect.

hawaiidave site profile image  

5/3/14 12:55 AM by hawaiidave

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ufc-contracts-independent-drug-testing-170636777--mma.html<br><br>So Zuffa has been doing independent drug testing on their own outside the US for years, yet they have no idea what the price tag is? Sounds legit.... <img src="/images/phone/apple.png" alt="Phone Post 3.0" border="0" style="vertical-align:middle;"/>

time traveling 12er site profile image  

5/3/14 12:26 AM by time traveling 12er

No way a fighter should be at risk of losing more money than he makes in a fight. That's just crazy. Losing a potential purse should be punishment enough.As for the random testing, have you really thought it out? How will the testers know where the fighter is? Are they going to be ninja's, stalking their prey from they alleys and pouncing on them? The tests are already expensive, just wait till a tester shows up to town and finds out the fighter is in Europe doing a press tour, or on vacation, or even just taking a shit at home and doesn't answer the door.Apparently how "random" testing works in the Olympics is that the athlete fills out a form saying they'll be in a certain place in a certain period of time. Like for instance they'll say I'll be at my gym training, May 9-12 from 10am-5pm. Not that random is it? On top of that apparently you can be absent from the location a certain number of times and get away with it because they can't expect you to be there the whole time. Anyone who is on top of their doping will laugh at that kind of "randomness."

Whambo site profile image  

5/3/14 12:03 AM by Whambo

45k is before them shopping around, trying to get a long term deal with a test lab. They will be able to bring that figure down. They should just use this enhanced testing on the main and co-main events, and then test every other fighter on the card with the standard test the day of.

kalt site profile image  

5/2/14 10:52 PM by kalt

I hope you people realize 99% of drug testing fees are pure profit. Extorted profit. The drug testing industry only exists, and only makes these ridiculous profits because of anti-drug idiots who think they have a divine right to stick their noses in the blood and piss of professional athletes. So they can charge whatever they want, the test doesn't cost them more than $3 in material and $20 in labor and one penny worth of electricity. They make millions off of this shit.What athletes put in their bodies is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. It's not cheating, it's not unfair, and it's not something we should have any concern over. Seeing these drug testing jackasses make so much money, all pure profit, just makes me sick.

whoabro site profile image  

5/2/14 10:03 PM by whoabro

Bunch of experts here on the ug, zuffa should hire them as consultants!!