UFC's drug testing policy under severe scrutiny

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No one ever said that starting a multi-million pound, international drugs testing program would be easy and the UFC are certainly finding out why that is.

Following UFC Fight Night 48 in Macau, the UFC suspended middleweight fighter, Cung Le for a year after he failed a post-fight drugs test.

That decision has backfired massively on the UFC, as it's become apparent that the drugs testing facility they've used wasn't WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) approved and that Le wasn't allowed to appeal.

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A rough start

With there being a lack of a commission in Macau, the UFC had to enforce the rules and legislation and became the judge, jury and executioner.

At the same time, the UFC announced enhanced testing, on the back of a highly suspicious picture of Le appearing on the internet, which included blood testing on top of urine testing.

It was on the blood test that Le was failed, and while he was cheating, it was fine because the UFC have their policies in place, which include a minimum nine-month suspension.

However, it was after the UFC upped that to a year that Le and his legal team started to question the decision and the testing procedure and it emerged soon after the facility which the UFC had used had discarded of the primary sample.

This has lead one leading anti-doping scientist to declare the UFC's test invalid and 'useless'.

The proper procedures

Speaking to MMAJunkie.com, Dr Don Catlin said: “I think (the test done by the UFC) is useless. I wouldn't pay any attention to it all.

“The only people who can do HGH testing properly are those who are running WADA labs, and have the reagents supplied by WADA,” Catlin said. “That works. That’s what any sport testing for HGH, that’s legitimate and is useful, will do. But you have to be a WADA-accredited lab to get the reagents. They're hard to come by.”

So with that in mind, which facility did the UFC use? The Hong Kong Functional Medical Testing Center.

That testing center's purpose is more fit for finding out if someone you know has been smoking weed or any of the harder recreational drugs but not for HGH.

Catlin also added that the primary sample should be kept for up to six months but that sometimes they're kept for just three.

Le's fight was two months ago.

“I’m not sure how far ahead they were thinking when they decided to implement their own drug testing. If I'm speculating, I think the UFC saw the test, saw the results, said, ‘We caught him,’ and in a rush to show everybody that they're tough on drugs, they did not make sure that it was accurate and correct,” said Le's coach, Gary Ibarra.

Ibarra says that while he had his doubts, the only test he saw Le fail was an eye test. Other than that, Le's word and the evidence he had from that made him question the UFC's move.

Le won't get his day in court just yet, but if he keeps pushing then maybe, just maybe he'll be able to get another fighter justice in the future.

Michael Bisping

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