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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
On Saturday, UFC President Dana White once again opined on the difficulties he claims to face in regards to drug testing in the organization. He claimed that MMA testing is the gold standard in all of sports, then unleashed a tirade regarding why the UFC is at the limit of what they can do on the subject.
"I have 375 fighters in every country all over the world. The battle that I have to get these guys to get their [expletive] bout agreements back and show up for press is un[expletive]believable," White said (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com). "The fact that I have to make personal phone calls to tell guys to talk to the [expletive] press. Now I'm going to start making personal phone calls to go show up for random drug tests? The general public and the media need to grasp some [expletive] concept of reality, okay? The reality of us doing all the [expletive] things that we're doing, when we already have the gold standard in drug testing, and then trying to chase 375 guys all over the world to randomly test them too? It's impossible."
"You know why? Because this job is insane. It's [expletive] crazy. I was standing in Las Vegas ten hours a guy filming a [expletive] TV show, and now I'm sitting here. And I'm going to randomly drug test 375 guys around the world. You know where I'm going in a few hours? To Abu Dhabi. Then I go back and film ‘The Ultimate Fighter,' then I go to Atlanta, Miami, and I'm in Rio de Janeiro for three hours, then back to Las Vegas where I'll film ‘The Ultimate Fighter' again. And in between there somewhere I'm going to randomly drug test 375 [fighters]."
Now, one thing White is missing in this tirade is no one is asking him personally to conduct the testing, and his claims of impossibility don't necessarily hold water. Well, that led to quite the interesting exchange on Twitter on Monday, as outspoken Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren called White out on these claims.
"The USOC random tests Olympic athletes in all sports," Askren wrote. "Dana saying testing his fighters would be impossible is a bold faced lie... just making a statement about a level playing field."
That comment got a reaction out of White, who decided to attack the fighting style of the Olympic wrestler and undefeated welterweight.
"When ambien can't sleep it takes Ben Askren," White said, admittedly lifting a joke from comedian and HBO show host Bill Maher. "The most boring fighter in MMA history. I would rather watch flys f***."
The exchange continued, with Askren writing "Glad you know my name now. Before I was just the bushy haired wrestler," and another fan bringing Jon Fitch's name into the conversation. Bringing up the oft criticized welterweight led to White responding, "Ben makes Fitch look like Wanderlei Silva!!!"
While it may seem like this back and forth tiff on the subject could be detrimental to Askren's future prospects of moving to the UFC, White actually said it's not something that would be harmful to his career at all.
"He didn't damage his career," White wrote. "He is entitled to his opinion. He doesn't know [what the f***] he is talking about [though]."
Penick's Analysis: Askren isn't wrong, but the response from White is quite typical anyway. It's not an impossible thing for the UFC to be testing their fighters, it's simply something that would require a little extra effort and money. The key is the establishment or support of some type of outside agency that can test throughout the year and can cover the UFC in areas where there aren't commissions, because them policing themselves isn't ideal either. But the big issue here is White's characterization of the problem. He's making it seem like it would be his responsibility to test every single fighter wherever they are in the world. That's not the case at all. White doesn't even need to be personally involved. If there was an independently operated organization or branch funded by UFC contributions, they could be in charge of setting up random tests, and handing out disciplinary action accordingly. There are ways more can be done, and White is wrong to keep spouting the line that it's the most tested sport or has the best testing, because that's not where we're at yet.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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