Over the past year and a half, Kevin Iole has downgraded from full blown Dana White buttboy to mere lickspittle. That’s not much of an improvement, but at least it’s a bit more crowded at that altitude of the UFC media mountain. He’s still Dana’s go to guy when it comes to broadsiding another promotion or disseminating potentially negative news, and as such he has Dana White’s general statement on Chael Sonnen’s mystery PED problems:
White, who said he does not know the particulars of Sonnen’s situation, was exasperated on Sunday. He wants to eradicate steroids from the sport, but is realistic enough to know how difficult it is and is compassionate enough that he doesn’t want to bury someone further.
“What else do I do?” White said. “We’ve spent millions of dollars – literally, millions of dollars – to try to get this thing regulated so they can be tested by the government. Do you know how much it costs us to put on that fighter seminar every year? Let me tell you, we’re bringing guys in from all over the world. We have guys from England, Germany, Croatia, Australia, Korea. We have 350 guys under contract and they’re coming from all over the world. It costs us a (expletive) ton, but we do it because it’s important.
“When one of them fails a test, the government is going to fine them and suspend them and tell them they can’t make a living for a year. So should I come in after they’ve already lost the ability to make a living for a year and been fined all this money and, in the worst economic disaster in the history of the world, fine them another huge amount and take away their ability to make a living even longer?
“These are guys with homes and families and personal lives and bills and debts and obligations, just like me and you,” White said. “After they lost all this money already, money that, A, they’ve probably already spent and B, which they owe taxes, do I fine them another huge amount? What else do you do to a human being?”
Of course this ignores the fact that the sport is bigger than Chael Sonnen, and if that dickbag had actually beaten Anderson Silva we’d have a much worse situation than we have now. His feel good story of overcoming the odds (carefully crafted to ignore his semi racist and homophobic rough edges) would suddenly be a lot less sunny.
Like with Shane Carwin, the UFC just dodged another bullet and here’s Dana White lamenting poor Chael taking the self-inflicted shot in the face when his company was 2 minutes from having a juicer take the belt of one of the best fighters in the world. So what’s to be done? Strangely enough, Kevin concludes that it’s up to the fighters to Just Say No:
More pre-fight testing would help, but state athletic commissions are working with drastically reduced budgets and can’t afford to expand pre-fight testing significantly.
Part of the solution should be a public-private partnership in which promoters contribute a fee per ticket sold to states for more frequent testing and to help fund development of superior testing methods.
In the long run, though, it will be up to the fighters to eradicate steroids from the sport. They need to understand the risks of usage, to themselves, to their opponents and to their sport. If a push to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from MMA doesn’t come from the fighters, it will never be truly effective.
The obvious neon pink blinkity blinking three headed elephant in the room would be the fact that commission testing sucks. Hard. When it even happens, that is. It’s not like this is a secret. At one of Nevada’s last commission meetings they had a long discussion with a rep from the US Anti-Doping Agency where he basically told them that urine testing is just above pinky swearing in it’s effectiveness at catching cheaters.
So long as commissions aren’t even doing the minimum they need to actually, oh I don’t know, catch abusers, you’re going to have cheaters cheating, and many others cheating because the cheaters cheat. It’s a vicious cycle that’s only going to go away if somebody higher up makes some changes.
Dana White isn’t doing much other than playing the hand-tied promoter stuck between government regulation and ‘young kids making mistakes.’ The commissions are either unwilling or unable to spend the money to do things right. I guess it’s just too bad no one is making tens of millions of dollars off the sport that you could make cover the costs of proper testing…