The Ultimate Fighting Championship has dropped its plan to implement a year-round drug testing program for its fighters.
Speaking with media members on Thursday, UFC President Dana White pointed to the Cung Le debacle following UFC Fight Night in Macau as the impetus behind the promotion’s decision. Instead, the UFC will fund state athletic commissions to handle the random drug screenings.
“What we’ll do is we’ll help fund it so they can do better drug testing, more drug testing,” White told MMAFighting.com . “They can handle it. They’re the regulators.”
After Le’s loss to Michael Bisping on Aug. 23, the UFC announced that Le had tested positive for an excess level of HGH and would be suspended for 12 months. Later, the Las Vegas-based promotion determined that those results alone did not indicate that the Strikeforce veteran had taken performance enhancing drugs and lifted the middleweight’s suspension.
Still, the damage had already been done. Le first asked for an apology, then requested his release. More recently, the fighter joined an anti-trust lawsuit against the UFC. While the drug test mishap is not mentioned in the complaint against Zuffa, White told reporters that he believes it did play a role in Le joining the lawsuit.
“Our legal team completely screwed that thing up,” White said. We have no business doing drug testing. We f----d it up, and we will f--k it up again. That’s what the commission ins there to do.”
In October, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta appeared on UFC Tonight to discuss the organization’s plans for a more stringent drug testing program..
“Now, the next step for us and what we’re working on, is a complete project where we will random test all 500 of our athletes multiple times per year,” Fertitta said. “We’re working on that. It’s gonna be a comprehensive plan. At the end of the day, if you’re cheating, we will catch you. You will get suspended, possibly fined. We take it very serious because at the end of the day, our fans want to make sure our sport’s clean, and I think the athletes want the sport clean. The clean athletes want the sport to be clean, right?”
Instead, the UFC will go in a different direction as 2015 begins.