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Not Enough Drug Testing in MMA?

Under the headline "Drug Testing Hasn't Grown With a Sport," the New York Times has an article today saying mixed martial arts "has no national or international governing body and lacks a rigorous drug-testing policy."

It's an interesting piece and it's worth reading, especially after Royce Gracie, winner of the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (pictured) tested positive for steroids. But it suffers from the fundamental flaw that much of the mainstream media coverage of mixed martial arts has: It doesn't seem to fully grasp the distinction between the Ultimate Fighting Championship and other mixed martial arts organizations.

At one point, the article refers to "the I.F.L. and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the two most popular mixed martial arts organizations in the United States." That's kind of like saying "Arena Football and the NFL, the two most popular football leagues in the United States." It's true, but it doesn't quite capture the huge gap in the leagues' popularity. UFC is by far the most popular mixed martial arts league, and IFL isn't even close.

UFC has a drug testing policy that, while it could be strengthened, has done a lot to take the league into the mainstream. Lumping UFC in with other, smaller mixed martial arts organizations is inaccurate and unfair.