Dana White defends UFC's drug testing, questions validity of team sports' tests

Esther Lin

LAS VEGAS -- UFC president Dana White knows that the current system in place to test fighters for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational substances is far from perfect.

But when pressed by reporters Thursday at the MGM Grand, White vehemently reiterated his belief that the state government-overseen approach is preferable to the collectively bargained testing utilized in major professional team sports.

"Do you think if they were really testing all the guys in baseball, do you really think there would be a f--- baseball game every day of the week?" White asked. "There wouldn't be, man. They would be pulling guys up from the minors every day. It would be crazy. There will always be a thing in sports where, someone's trying to get an edge on the other guy. You know? As an owner or a commissioner or whatever you want to call it, you do the very best you can do.

"PEDs have been around since people have started making money in sports," White continued. "And, I don't know what the real answer is to crack down on this whole thing. All I know is we are regulated by the government, they come in and they test our guys, that's a fact. However you think, if you think football and baseball are really knocking it out of the park, pun intended, you're crazy."

Critics of the UFC's testing policy, such as Victor Conte, have suggested the UFC turn over their testing to an independent agency such as the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency, who could conduct random tests. White singled out Conte for criticism Thursday, specifically bringing up his past, which included a prison sentence related to his work with the likes of disgraced former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds.

"F--- Victor Conte," White said. "That guy's a lying two-faced piece of s---. I can't stand that guy. You're the biggest cheater in the history of the f----- sports world, and now because you can't make a living cheating anymore, you want to flip to the other side and start calling people out and pointing fingers? I can't believe people even listen to this guy.

"We're regulated by the f----- government," White said. "Some of these places we go, some of these states we go to, they test the entire card. Some places are random, some places the main event and a few other fights that are random. It's better than everyone else's. "

By now means does White consider the government-testing model ideal. Specifically, White is among many who consider commission penalties for smoking marijuana outrageous. While the federal government still bans the drug, both Washington and Colorado have legalized it and several other states have either approved medicinal marijuana or lessened penalties for the drug's use.

But commissions have yet to catch up with rapidly evolving societal opinions on marijuana, making the penalty for weed no different than other substances.

"Is what's being done enough?" White asked. "If you look at how we're regulated by the government, I've said this before, I do not think the penalties should be the same for smoking marijuana as it is for taking performance enhancing drugs, yet it is, it's exactly the same. If you get busted, look at [Nick] Diaz. Look how long Nick Diaz is out right now, right? For marijuana. Same as the guy who's taking steroids. It's crazy. So the whole system is messed up.

"So I can guarantee you this. Forget about PEDs. If we get into this random testing you guys are talking about, you know how many guys would probably test positive for marijuana? It would probably be off the charts. So if you randomly tested and this came out, they give the same exact suspension as it is for PEDs."

In spite of such critiques, though, White will see the current approach to drug testing as better than the version used by his counterparts in other sport.

"If you look at our business and the way our business is run, we've got 475 fighters under contract," White said. "If you look at the s--- that we do every day, we go, go, go, go, go, and there's so much s--- to do you can't even stay on top of all that. Now, not only do we test our guys for PEDs, we test them for illegal drugs, too. Marijuana, cocaine, any other drugs that's out there, this guy gets tested. And there's no penalties out there like our penalties. Our guys have to, or you lose the ability to make a living for a f----- year."

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