<div class="Article" style="float: left;"> <table> <tr style="vertical-align: bottom;"> <td> <h3><a href="/go=news.detail&gid=448169" target="_blank"> Penalties for PEDs in MMA are too gentle </a></h3> </td> </tr> </table> <a href="/go=news.detail&gid=448169" ><img class="photo" src="http://img.mixedmartialarts.com/method=get&rs=60&q=75&x=2&y=20&w=310&h=165&ro=0&s=drug-test.jpg" /></a> <div style="clear: both; line-height: 1px;height: 1px;"> </div> </div> <p>In mixed martial arts the standard penalty for failing a Performance Enhancing Drug test for the first time is 30% of purse, a nine-month suspension, and if the fight was won, officially changing the result to a No Contest.</p>
Those penalties are insufficient to fully discourage the use of PEDs.
Fighters in the UFC compete on average twice a year, so the nine month suspension is practically speaking just 90 days more than they would have taken off already. Due to injuries, countless fighters take off nine-month stretches. It is an easy bid.
Having a fight changed to NC is not a big deal. Dennis Siver tested positive for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) last year, and had his unanimous decision over Manny Gamburyan changed to an NC. Ten months later he beat Charles Rosa, and now he is getting the biggest fight of his life, vs. Conor McGregor at UFC Fight Night 59 on Jan 18. Barely a year has passed since he failed the test.
Siver made $66,000 ($33,000 to show, $33,000 to win) at UFC 168. His fine was 30% of the purse, or $19,800. Siver still made a lot more than he would have if he lost.
That doesn't make sense.
In what field does getting caught at cheating leave you off better than if you lost? If you cheat on a test at school do you get to walk away with a C? If you cheat on taxes, do you have to give back just some of what you illicitly got?
At bare bones the penalty should be all of your win money, or at least 50% of the purse.
Last year the World Anti Doping Agency upped the penalty for first time PED test failures from two years to four. The second failure is a life ban.
If fighters knew they would get suspended for four years if caught, it would not make sense to use PEDs. With a functional suspension of 90 days, setting ethical considerations aside, it makes sense to use PEDs, and time their usage so that you get caught only very rarely. Further, if you believe your opponent is using PEDs, what then are your ethical considerations?
Because mixed martial arts is a hurting a game, failing a PED test should have harsher penalties that other sports, not gentler ones. If you take PEDs in Tennis, you win by whatever to Love quicker. If you take PEDs in MMA, you are going to hurt another person more. If you are both on PEDs, you are both going to get hurt more. You play other sports; you don't play MMA - it is a real fight, and you can get real hurt. Every reasonable step should be taken to lower injuries; severely penalizing PED use is one of them.
At an absolute minimum, failing a PED test in mixed martial arts should result in at least a two-year suspension, and a fine of at least 50% of purse. Make the fine 100% of purse and a four-year suspension, and the sport would be very nearly clean within weeks.
Contrary to popular belief, the UFC does not administer penalties for PED test failure, State, Provincial, and Tribal Athletic Commissions do. When the UFC is forced to self regulate, they follow the standards set by the leading ACs. Thus it is incumbent on the leading Athletic Commissions across North America to get far stricter with PEDs. The regulatory system in MMA is the glue that holds the sport together. Expect to see stricter penalties coming during the coming year.
The UFC is gearing up to underwrite the cost of a massive out-of-competition drug testing program for all athletes under contract. However, if the penalties remain as they are, that admirable and expensive effort will be undermined, and that is bad business.
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