The use of performance enhancing drugs and drug testing to try and catch the cheaters has long been a topic of heated discussion, not only in mixed martial arts, but in all of professional sports.
The topic has continued to boil over in MMA, however, particularly with testosterone replacement therapy exemptions being nixed earlier this year and the more prevalent use of “enhanced” drug testing in recent months.
For the better part of the life of drug testing in MMA, a simple urine test has been the primary option. Urinalysis, however, falls short of detecting many advanced substances utilized in professional sports. PEDs like human growth hormone (hGH) and recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), which Chael Sonnen recently tested positive for, are detected by drawing blood.
Enhanced drug testing requires the athlete to supply both a urine sample and a blood sample.
Sonnen was subjected to such testing, as were Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira before their recent fight.
Despite there being no governmental sanctioning body for this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 48 in Macao, China, that doesn’t mean main eventers Michael Bisping and Cung Le are going to be able to skate by without testing.
The UFC is self-regulating the event in Macao. Company president Dana White told UFC Tonight reporter Ariel Helwani that Bisping and Le will both be subjected to enhanced drug testing with the promotion footing the bill.
Whether or not PEDs are “running rampant” in MMA as some would suggest and whether or not the UFC is doing enough to combat their use will likely remain a contentious debate for some time to come, but fighters will have to be wary that they likely will be subjected to more and more scrutiny as drug testing becomes pervasive in the sport.