Ronda Rousey has praised the UFC’s attempts to clean up the sport. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Ronda Rousey is no stranger to strict drug-testing protocol.
As an Olympian, the reigning women’s bantamweight champion has been subject to drug screenings ever since she was a teenager. However, when the judo bronze medalist entered the a href="http://www.sherdog.com/organizations/Ultimate-Fighting-Championship-2">UFC, she found the Las Vegas-based promotion’s policies to be much more lenient than the program to which she had been accustomed.
That, at least in theory, is expected to change later this year. On Wednesday, the UFC announced a plan to introduce a revamped program that includes more extensive drug testing for the entire roster and harsher penalties for offenders. The promotion is planning to devote “several million dollars” to the effort, a significant increase from the approximately $500,000 it spent from 2013 to 2104.
Rousey is optimistic that her employer is taking the proper steps to clean up the sport.
“Well I'm extremely encouraged by what I've heard the announcement is. Until this point the drug testing that I underwent when I was 16 or even 14 was much more stringent than the drug testing that I got as a world champion in MMA,” Rousey said during a recent conference call. “But now that they have started the random out-of-competition drug testing for everybody on the roster, as well as everybody that competes on every card, it is really starting to become comparable to the U.S. Anti-Doping agencies.
“And, I really think that the USADA is an extremely great model to follow, and I'm also very happy to see that there's going to be third-party drug testing as well. You know, the more testing there is, the better it is because that means the safer that the fighters will be.”
Rousey will defend her bantamweight strap against Cat Zingano in the UFC 184 headliner in Los Angeles on Feb. 28. Both Rousey and Zingano passed random drug tests administered by the California State Athletic Commission earlier this month.
A recent rash of failed drug tests -- most notably Anderson Silva, who twice tested positive for anabolic steroids in relation to his main event bout against Nick Diaz at UFC 183 -- has led to plenty of speculation regarding just how many fighters in MMA have been using performance-enhancing drugs over the years.
Rousey isn’t necessarily worried about what her opponents might or might not be using, but if she can find a little extra motivation for her fights, so be it.
“You know what? I really don't care. I assumed that a lot during the Olympics,” she said. “I assume that every single one of these girls is probably on all kinds of juice, and they've had every single opportunity in the world that I never, ever had. They had better development, they had better coaching, they had better scouting, they have better everything.
“And I assume that they have every single advantage in the world that I don't, and I use that as a reason to beat them in spite of it because I need to be better on my very worst day than they could possibly ever be with every single advantage that possibly exists that I don't have.”