Many people questioned the UFC's decision to return to Germany, where the public sentiment towards MMA isn't overwhelmingly positive. UFC 122
might have been held in Oberhausen this past weekend, but the fights weren't even available on TV in the host country.
But as UFC VP of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner
told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour
, the mixed feelings about MMA from politicians and local media are precisely why the UFC decided to go back to Germany.
"To grow the sport, you have to keep educating," Ratner said. "We want to do business in Germany. We want to show the people and the newspaper people...that's the only way to do it. If you just walk away and say, 'Gee, they won't let us be on TV,' it doesn't make sense. So we're just going to keep pushing. It was the right decision and I'm glad we did it."
Holding fights in places like Germany and the U.K., where there's no oversight from local commissions like there is in the U.S., puts Ratner in a familiar position. The former head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission said he has no problem with ensuring that the UFC regulates itself overseas, acting as a "quasi-commission," though he'd prefer to have external regulation.
"I'd rather have the sport regulated wherever we go, but to grow the sport we've got to do these things and self-regulate and I think we're making inroads that way. Eventually I would hope that the British Boxing Board would get involved more, as well as the German Boxing Federation, and adopt the sport of mixed martial arts."
Ratner also touched on the recent release of UFC newcomer Vinicus Quieroz
, who was let go from the organization after testing positive for steroids following his defeat at UFC 120 in London. Quieroz was nabbed by the UFC's independent drug-testing, but instead of being fined and suspended like other fighters who have tested positive during U.K. UFC events, he was released from his contract after only one fight.
Ratner noted that he wasn't "in on the decision" when the UFC decided to release Quieroz, but suggested the move was prompted in part by Quieroz's performance in the fight.
"That night, he certainly was being talked about as not looking good," said Ratner. "He looked like he was in shape but he certainly got tired in the middle of the first round and wasn't as good as we thought, and then testing positive in your first fight certainly didn't help."
Ratner added that he thinks fighters who test positive for banned substances should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but said of Quieroz, "Here's a kid, his first fight with us, made a horrible mistake. And that's a mistake that you should not make."
Ratner agreed that random testing could be a good way to crack down on fighters who cycle on and off banned substances in order to avoid detection, saying, "I think you will see more states have random testing. I certainly have no problem with it. I think it's the right thing to do and they're doing it in boxing as well as MMA in Nevada."