Hot on the heels of news that “King Mo” Lawal tested positive for the anabolic steroid Drostanolone comes an announcement from Zuffa that all new UFC and Strikeforce fighters will be tested for performance-enhancing drugs before finalizing their contracts.
Excerpts from the official press release:
Continuing a commitment to the health and safety of its athletes, the Ultimate Fighting Championship® announced today that all potential UFC® and STRIKEFORCE® signees will be subject to a mandatory pre-contract screening for performance-enhancing drugs. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, all incoming athletes will be tested prior to finalizing a contract with the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization.
“We’re committed to the health and safety of our athletes and we take it very seriously,” UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said. “We already work closely with athletic commissions to protect our athletes and now we’re taking it one step further. We’re going to test any potential UFC or STRIKEFORCE fighter before finalizing their contract. This shows that we don’t want performance-enhancing drugs in our sport.”
“The health and safety of our athletes is our top priority,” UFC President Dana White said. “We’ve seen the issues performance-enhancing drugs have caused in other sports and we’re going to do everything we can to keep them out of the UFC and STRIKEFORCE. Our athletes are already held to the highest testing standards in all sports by athletic commissions. Our new testing policy for performance-enhancing drugs only further shows how important it is to us to have our athletes competing on a level playing field.”
I’m not convinced this new policy will help eradicate the sport of PED’s, but it won’t hurt the cause either.
What I’m more curious about is if Zuffa is going to reject fighters who don’t pass the initial pre-contract screening, are they also going to release fighters they already have under contract who test positive like Cris Cyborg and King Mo? They haven’t in the past, but with this new policy and their commitment to “do everything [they] can to keep [PED’s] out of the UFC and Strikeforce” that would only make sense.