In as timely a fashion as could be, Zuffa has announced it will start screening fighters for performance enhancing drugs prior to signing them to contracts. The news comes on the heels of today’s news regarding Muhammed Lawal’s positive test for an anabolic steroid with former Strikeforce champion Cristiane Santos also having shown PED use after a December fight under the company’s banner.
“We’re committed to the health and safety of our athletes and we take it very seriously,” explained chief executive Lorenzo Fertitta of the company’s decision. “We already work closely with athletic commissions to protect our athletes and now we’re taking it one step further. We’re going to test any potential UFC or Strikeforce fighter before finalizing their contract. This shows that we don’t want performance-enhancing drugs in our sport.”
UFC President Dana White also weighed in on the matter, saying, “The health and safety of our athletes is our top priority. We’ve seen the issues performance-enhancing drugs have caused in other sports and we’re going to do everything we can to keep them out of the UFC and Strikeforce. Our athletes are already held to the highest testing standards in all sports by athletic commissions. Our new testing policy for performance-enhancing drugs only further shows how important it is to us to have our athletes competing on a level playing field.”
The policy has been retroactively dated to January 1, 2012 meaning all future signees will undergo the company’s rigorous testing procedures before being officially brought on.