Les Carpenter: The UFC precisely might have the best drug-testing program in sports but the rash of failed tests around UFC 200 pictures credibility comes at a price
Just a week ago, Brock Lesnar stood in a tent behind Las Vegass T-Mobile Arena celebrating a most preposterous win. He giggled. He strutted. He joked about was intended to booze a beer from a company that was not an official UFC sponsor. It seemed a tale too good to be true: How could a practically 39 -year-old man, five years removed from his last motley martial arts oppose, stomp back in the cage and look like he was a decade younger?
The US Anti-Doping Agency mentions this was likely a satire, announcing on Friday that Lesnar has been pennant for a possible anti-doping misdemeanor on a sample taken 12 epoches before last weekends UFC 200. If Usada ultimately substantiates that Lesnar tested positive for PEDs, that will represent half of 200s original main event fighters have been caught cheating. In the end, the most honest human in Las Vegas that week might have been a person who wasnt even there to fight, Nate Diaz, who at one point snarled: Everybodys on steroids.
Diaz and two brothers Nick have long alleged that most of the UFCs soldiers take steroids, through their proof has largely “re coming for you” demoralize anecdotal screeds, most from Nick who points out that his five-year suspension for positive marijuana tests seem hypocritical given the other fighters attempts to manipulate competition.
In a lane, the UFC themselves are helping to prove them right. A year ago, the organization handed their dope experimenting operation to Jeff Novitzky the federal agent who led the notorious Balco investigation in the early 2000 s. This was a calculated risk on the UFCs part. You dont hire the person who is created down Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones and devastated the gifts of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds if you arent prepared for a avalanche of positive PED tests.
Were putting this programme out there as a gold criterion, The Washington Posts Rick Maese repeated Nowitzky telling a Washington panel the following spring. So that Major League Baseball, so that the NFL tells Hey, heres what a real, solid comprehensive, robust curriculum consider this to be. And were hoping in years to come that they follow suit.
The UFCs differing owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta wanted to push their sport into the mainstream, where the most difficult coin lies. Novitsky returns respect. Who knows how much contributing him and his testing program was value to the $ 4bn sales price the Fertittas went this week when WME-IMG bought the organization from them? But there is no doubt they bought credibility whey they recruited Nowitzky.
Now comes the ticklish area. How far do the UFCs brand-new owneds want to go with their gold standard experimenting program? Most plays tournaments and organizations arent absolutely committed to testing. They do enough to say they are serious about stopping PEDs but good-for-nothing much changes. A few athletes are caught. Suspensions are handed out, but no one wants to risk losing their biggest names.
Whether they wanted to or not, the UFC has. Nine days ago they endured the shame of pulling Jon Jones from the main event of 200 after Usada apprise UFC officials of a positive test less than 72 hours before his rematch with Daniel Cormier. Now they must deal with Lesnar, whose 28 June test was pennant on Friday by Usada officials. They were clearly rattled in the days before 200 as they peeled Joness picture off the side of the arena and quickly added Anderson Silva, another fighter who has are positive for PEDs, to the schedule.
Will the UFC continue to want to be that gold standard? Can they stand having cards come apart at the last minute, potentially undercutting pay-per-view marketings? It appears their dope platform is employment. Do they want to build on that success? Do the new proprietors even view losing half the main event to positive PED tests a success?
The irony of Lesnars test is that it came after the UFC granted him a controversial exemption from their ordinary requirement that a fighter follow through four months of testing before his contest. The exception was procedural question. Since Lesnar didnt re-sign with the UFC until six weeks before 200 there was no way he had been able to undergo four months of tests. He was still subject to measuring upon re-joining the organization.
At the time Hunt who is now demanding half of Lesnars enter $2.5 m pocketbook from 200 complaints about the exception, telling Fox Sports that Lesnar is juiced to the gills. Lesnar shrugged off those disapprovals and even scorned Jones the day after that boxers positive test was announced. Its unprofessional for anybody to do that, he replied at a press conference. Then he smiled, knowing his fight with Hunt had just been given more prominence contributing: Merry Christmas to Brock Lesnar
Instead of Santa Claus, Lesnar got the agent who has already devastated the too-good-to-be-true fibs of Armstrong, Jones and Bonds. Jeff Novitzky has given the UFC exactly what their owners required: credibility. But is it the various kinds of credibility they are willing to embrace as placards dissolve and followers grumble? How many postings do they want to pull off of arena walls in the working day before combats? How numerous celebratory post-fight news conference will turn out to be worthless as Lesnars last weekend?
I speculate any mortal can do anything he requires if you put your intellect to it, Lesnar remarked after his victory.
He meant to sound inspirational. Now he voices empty.
In Jeff Novitzky the UFC might have the person who can prove Nate Diaz privilege. They can prove a testing program that could be a model for all sports. But that credibility comes at world prices, especially when numerous love dont seem to care if Lesnar is drugged to the gills. Now that theyve been sold, will the UFC still want to be a leader in the field of fighting doping?
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