Morning Report: Tim Kennedy requests random drug testing, believes '60-70%' of fighters could be using performance enhancing drugs

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy is hoping to win the drug testing lottery. Booked to face Yoel Romero at UFC 178 Sept. 27 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Kennedy is campaigning to be part of the Nevada State Athleic Commision's (NSAC) enhanced, random drug-testing program.

"They randomly test three dudes and all three fail," Kennedy told ESPN's Brett Okomoto. "All in my weight class. All dudes I could potentially be fighting. I went from just being vocal about drug use, to saying to myself, ‘I have to make a stand about this.' "

Kennedy, of course, refers to the instances where the random tests led to the cancellation of a middleweight bout between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva briefly set for UFC 173 on May 24. Silva was removed from the card after refusing to cooperate with a commission official sent to randomly test him. Sonnen failed random screenings on May 24 and Jun. 5, testing positive for four banned substances, including human growth hormone (HGH) and recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO). On Feb. 7 Belfort was randomly tested by the commission while visiting Las Vegas for the annual MMA Awards, showing elevated testosterone levels.

"I'm really impressed in the change in both the climate and the UFC's perception of it," Kennedy said. "The UFC is forking over money for testing, so it's been top-driven, which makes me proud to be in the UFC. They are really the only organization that is doing it and it's definitely a step in the right direction.

"But the first time [the NSAC] randomly tested people, everybody failed. Imagine what that looks like across 450 athletes. Are we talking 60 or 70 percent? I really believe it's somewhere in that range of fighters that are using."

While Kennedy has offered to foot the bill for his portion of the testing, the UFC has agreed to bear the cost of the program in Nevada, estimated at about $45,000 per fight. Romero, who won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling representing Cuba in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, has never failed a drug screening. Presumably due to the cost, Nevada has committed to randomly test at least one bout of every UFC pay-per-view event in the state.

Although it was administered by the Maryland Athletic Commission, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones underwent similar testing at his own request ahead of his title bout with Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in Baltimore. Both fighters were tested without incident.

With Jones likely to levy the same request for random testing as he faces Alexander Gustafsson in the headliner at UFC 178, it could conceivably hurt Kennedy's chances of being tested should they opt to screen just a single bout. In addition to Sonnen and Silva, welterweights Robbie Lawler and Jake Ellenberger submitted to the random testing ahead of UFC 173.

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Face the music. In a formal response to the NSAC, Chael Sonnen says he 'does not dispute any of the factual allegations' from his failed drug tests and 'accepts responsibility for his actions.'

Surgery for Rousey. UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey suffered a broken thumb at UFC 175 and will undergo a scope on her knee next Tuesday. "My knee is really stable. All the ligaments are fine, there's just stuff floating around in there."

Chat Wrap. Luke Thomas recaps UFC 175 and the TUF 19 Finale, talks Nick Newell's brutal loss on NBC and answers your questions in this week's live chat.

On deck. Cub Swanson (here) and Luke Rockhold (here) explain who they want next.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Jul. 9 2014)

Gegard Mousasi vs. Ronaldo Souza moved to UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Souza

Danny Castillo vs. Tony Ferguson moved to UFC 177

Derek Brunson vs. Lorenz Larkin moved to UFC 177

Beniel Dariush vs. Tony Martin moved to UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Dos Anjos

Walmir Lazaro vs. James Vick moved to UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Dos Anjos

Fabricio Camoes vs. Gray Maynard moved to UFC Fight Night: Bader vs. Saint Preux

Matt Dwyer out, Alex Garcia vs. Neil Magny at UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Dos Anjos

Alistair Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Souza

Derrick Lewis vs. Matt Mitrione at UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Souza

Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveria at UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Souza

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Kyle Noke at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Nelson

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Michael Shulski.

Poll: Is Bellator 122 Worth Watching on July 25?

Disclaimer: I am a UFC fan first and foremost. I find UFC fights to mostly be more competitive and professional than Bellator fights. I watch Bellator when there are gaps in UFC programming. I'm not some "Bellator hipster" or "Spike Zombie", as one forum poster, Joben likes to rant on about. I never preach that Bellator is better than UFC. Nor have I met anyone who has for that matter.

Why would Bellator 122 be worth watching? The fights? No, perhaps the best reason to watch Bellator 122 would be to see how Scott Coker may change the company. Joben writes that Coker may rebrand Bellator. Giving it not just a new name but also better production values. Coker might or might not even announce a PPV. Let's hope Bellator decides to give up on the PPV. One of the best things about Bellator is that it's on free (cable subscription) TV.

So, are the fights any good? Actually, they're not that bad. There are some exciting fights on the card. Take a look at the review of the fights below or just skip to the poll if you're uninterested.

...

Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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