Cage Rage Penalizes Phillips for Positive Test

Mar 14, 2008
Under the guiding influence of Gary Shaw, Cage Rage promoters Dave O'Donnell and Andy Geer announced late in 2007 that the organization was set to begin testing its fighters for an exhaustive list of prohibited substances. Following only two regulated events, the tests have claimed their first victim: John Phillips (Pictures).

Phillips took on Jake Bostwick (Pictures) in a back-and-forth opening match March 8 at Cage Rage 25. Under heavy fire from his South London opponent from the get go, Phillips did an extraordinary job of turning the tide midway through the first round. Eventually he stopped Bostwick and caused him to wince in agony with a vicious ground-and-pound assault.

As recently announced on the official Cage Rage Web site, though, this impressive performance has been relegated to the status of a no-contest after Phillips' positive test.

No announcement has been made as to which substance the test uncovered. However, Cage Rage said the substance was not a traditionally recognized illegal short cut and banned Phillips from competing in the United Kingdom.

Numerous fighters have tested positive recently for recreational drugs, and the debate roars on as to whether such drug use can truly be described as helpful to their athletic pursuits. Nonetheless, Cage Rage appears set to take a stern line on drugs of all kinds.

"Although the drug is not recognized as a performance enhancing drug," the promotion's statement read, "it is nevertheless on the list and the following action has been taken: John Phillips (Pictures)' fight purse has been withheld, the result of the bout with Jake Bostwick (Pictures) has been declared a non contest and a ban will be in place, prohibiting him from competing in any U.K. MMA event for a period of 120 days."

Aside from any contractual obligations that Phillips may have with Cage Rage, the absence of any form of MMA governing body dictates that a ban of this nature is not subject to regulation in the United Kingdom. Therefore Phillips can effectively approach any promotion the length and breadth of the British Isles, quite legitimately looking for paid employment.

Vast sections of the MMA community have continually called for the establishment of a regulatory body for the sport in the United Kingdom. Many observers see the imposition of Cage Rage's ban on Phillips as an opportunity for other events to uphold the ban and show support for the tests.

Yet even comparatively lucrative smaller U.K. shows could not currently be expected to have the funds at hand that would allow the costly testing procedure. For that reason alone, it appears unlikely that many shows will be implementing rigorous drug testing policies in the near future.

However, this move by Cage Rage sets a definite and uncompromising precedent, clearly showing fighters what's expected of them should they compete in the United Kingdom's most watched promotion.
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