ROUNDTABLE: What would you change about UFC’s USADA program?

Josh Barnett (photo credit Jayne Kamin-Oncea © USA Today Sports)

What one or two things would you change about UFC’s USADA program?

Frank Hyden, MMATorch Contributor

As long as it tests everyone equally, everything else is fine. Drug-testing is like referees, officials, umpires, etc., the best ones are the ones you don’t notice. As long as the athletes are able to do what they do and everything is on an even playing field, the rest is just background. I don’t know the intricacies of the USADA program so I’ll just assume everything is running smoothly and as intended. By that, I mean everyone is tested the same amount of times at the same times with regard to their fights. As long as that happens, I’m fine with the program.

Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch Managing Editor

In light of some recent events, USADA should add a ‘promise of return’ clause for fighters. After Tom Lawlor and Jesse Taylor were both released from UFC at the very end of their respective suspensions, it highlighted to me how unfair UFC’s drug-policy is to fighters in its current form. UFC and USADA have to guarantee fighters at least one fight post-suspension if they are going to hold them hostage for two years or even longer. Both Taylor and Lawlor sat on the sidelines for one and two years respectively. This left them unable to earn a living by fighting, only to be released once the suspension had been served. There are many ways USADA is unfair to fighters, but this one stands out to me right now. This is the type of problem only a fighter’s union or association is going to fix.

Cole Henry, MMATorch Contributor

I think the idea is a good one but it does seem to have some flaws. Admitting a mistake if a test failure is due to a tainted supplement isn’t enough. A recent case is the one involving Josh Barnett. Barnett failed a test with USADA and was on the shelf for something like sixteen months while USADA investigated the tainted supplement claim. To me that is unacceptable. After completion of the investigation USADA issued Barnett a “public reprimand”. To me an apology on the part of USADA would have been more appropriate. So, I guess my point in this rant is that if USADA is going to investigate the tainted supplement claims, which they should, they should do so in a much quicker fashion so that innocent fighters don’t suffer.

David McGrath, MMATorch Contributor

In regards to USADA, I think the major frustration among fans is the inconsistent decisions being handed down in regards to actual suspension times. Also, athletes should be able to produce evidence to call into question a prohibited substance. In short, more across the board uniformity in suspensions and athletes should be able to argue what’s banned and why.

Robert Vallejos, MMA Talk for Pro Wrestling Fans Host

When it comes to USADA, I am an abolitionist. The program has shown to be a strain on the promotion. It doles out harsh punishment for low-level fighters, yet somehow has found a way to keep Jon Jones on the active roster.

The UFC has already been sold, and will now be migrating to ESPN. There is no pragmatic reason to keep USADA around in its current form.

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