Update September 19, 2013 – After writing the below article Ontario’s Office of the Athletics Commissioner advises me that “UFC’s contract with fighters provides for random drug testing at events. At UFC 165, an OAC physician will oversee the collection of samples for the tests.” I have asked the AC’s office for a copy of the contractual clause triggering the commission’s right to test but they are not prepared to release this.
Perhaps more interestingly, I asked which drugs will be against the rules for UFC 165 to which the OAC responds “The OAC does not require drug testing of fighters, and does not have a list of prohibited drugs. Information regarding the drugs that the UFC is testing for would have to be obtained from the promoter.”
Update September 20, 2013 – I contacted the UFC’s PR Department for clarification of what PED’s will be prohibited. They advise as follows “We would test for the same prohibited substances as we always do which are based on the list prohibited under the WADA guidelines.” You can find the WADA prohibited list here.
On September 21 the UFC will host its fourth event in Ontario with UFC 165.
Although there are occasional drug test controversies in the sport, when the UFC comes to Ontario the biggest controversy may be the lack of mandatory drug tests. Why is this the case? In Ontario the Athletics Control Act Regulation which governs the sport of professional MMA does not require mandatory drug testing. Instead, section 17.1 of the Regulation only requires drug tests to be performed by the commission if the contract between the fighter and the promoter “requires the participant to undergo a drug test“. The full section reads as follows:
17.1 If a contract between a participant in a professional contest or exhibition and the person holding the contest or exhibition requires the participant to undergo a drug test on the day of the contest or exhibition, the Commissioner shall, on request, oversee the administering of the test and the person holding the contest or exhibition shall pay for the costs of administering the test. O. Reg. 465/10, s. 16.
If the terms of the leaked Eddie Alvarez contract are uniform for all UFC fighters there is no mandatory drug testing clause. Article VIII of the contract speaks to drug testing and only requires fighters to agree to “submit to any pre-Bout or post-Bout drug test as required by an Athletic Commission“.
So, the Ontario commission can only require a fighter to have a drug test if their contract requires it and the contract only requires a fighter to be drug tested if the Athletic Commission requires it. Unless there are specific contractual requirements between a promoter and their athletes compelling testing professional MMA bouts in Ontario can slip through the cracks when it comes to PED abuse.