B.J. Penn and Rory MacDonald have taken a major step forward in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs in mixed martial arts. Both fighters have completed enrollment in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association's testing program, VADA's president Dr. Margaret Goodman confirmed to MMA Fighting on Wednesday.
That makes the UFC 152 matchup between the men the first tested under the stringent protocols of the independent agency.
" I have so much respect for both athletes in coming forward to undergo testing," Goodman said. "This is truly historic, and wonderful for the sport."
Under VADA testing, athletes volunteer to be tested randomly at any point in the eight weeks leading up to a fight. They are required to provide a daily schedule, allowing VADA testers to track them down and request a sample.
VADA also utilizes carbon isotope ratio testing, which is considered by most experts to be a more advanced way of catching testosterone users because it examines the makeup of testosterone to determine whether it is natural or synthetic. Most athletic commissions test for testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, a measure that can be artificially manipulated.
In the recent past, several boxers have signed up for the program, with major names including Andre Berto (nandrolone) and Lamont Peterson (testosterone) testing positive for PED's, scratching fights in the process. Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren is one notable mixed martial artists who has also enrolled.
Penn originally challenged MacDonald to take part in the testing, but then later withdrew the demand after a request to keep the results under wraps until after fight's completion was nixed. After the UFC put together a title fight headliner pitting bantamweights Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson as well as a co-main event with Michael Bisping taking on Brian Stann, Penn said he felt more comfortable taking on the testing without a concern that UFC 152 could possibly lose a main event.
He soon enrolled, and now MacDonald has officially joined him, ensuring a drug-free matchup of legend vs. phenom on Sept. 22.