In a positive step towards cleaning up doping in MMA, the Maryland Athletic Commission appears to have taken advantage of Zuffa’s offer to pay for enhanced PED testing. BloodyElbow reports that “UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones recently revealed that he is currently undergoing random blood and urine tests under the watch of the Maryland State Athletic Commission as he prepares for his title defense against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172 in Baltimore, Maryland.” Apparently Teixeira is also undergoing similar testing.
As recently discussed, commissions would be wise to take advantage of Zuffa’s funding offer to help clean up the sport and further to minimize the potential for Athletic Commission liability for negligent PED testing practices.
Interestingly, a quick legal breakdown reveals that Maryland’s enhanced testing efforts are likely a collaborative effort between Zuffa, the Maryland Athletic Commission and the Athletes involved.
While Maryland MMA regulations do discuss blood testing, these are limited to screening for HIV and hepatitis B. This limits the ability of the commission to conduct blood testing for PED purposes. The regulations do call for mandatory pre-bout urine testing which are to be used for PED screening.
As a result, in order for PED testing to include pre-bout blood screening, consent of the parties is required. Credit is due to Zuffa, the Commission and the combatants for showing good leadership and positive example to other MMA regulators that meaningful PED testing can occur even with legislative limitations.
Update – MMAFighting reports that the Maryland Athletic Commission has released the following statement regarding the above:
“The Maryland State Athletic Commission respects, and maintains, the confidentiality of the out-of-competition random drug testing currently being conducted of professional MMA fighters Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira as they prepare to compete in UFC 172 on April 26, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. Given that one or both of these individuals have commented publicly on such testing, the Maryland State Athletic Commission commends Mr. Jones and Mr. Teixeira, as well as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), for their cooperation in supporting these additional drug testing measures. The Maryland State Athletic Commission believes that such measures are significant and reflect favorably upon the sport of MMA. We are looking forward to regulating UFC 172 in Baltimore. To ensure the confidentiality of testing, there will be no further comment from the Maryland State Athletic Commission on this subject at this time.”