New Dana White interview at ESPN.com

When Dana White speaks, it’s news.

Just back from a vacation to Tahiti, White recently conducted an interview with ESPN.com. While he didn’t break any huge news, White was very outspoken against steroid use in MMA.

While he’s never condone usage and has always spoken out against it, this is the first time I know of where White has promised punitive action by the UFC in addition to any penalties a fighter might be subjected to from the commission.

Here’s an example of one exchange:

ESPN The Magazine: What changes do you plan to make?

White: Moving forward, I am putting the b—- slap on guys who get caught using steroids from here on out. The fighters make a lot of money. I have all these nickel-and-dimers starting up leagues, and they don’t steal fighters from me. There are a lot of morons out there throwing money around, and nobody’s leaving me. When what you’re selling is human beings competing against each other, there are always going to be issues, man. Personal problems. Contract issues. There are always problems.

ESPN The Magazine: But what is the punishment? What are you going to do?

White: They’re not going to get paid. I take care of all of my guys. If you fight your ass off for me, you’ll get paid. But what I’m going to do is: I’m going to wait and see if they pass their drug tests. If they don’t, you’re going to get paid what’s in your contract and that’s it.

White was also asked about what will happen to the lightweight title if Sean Sherk’s one-year suspension is upheld following an appeal that’s set for the next few days:

ESPN The Magazine: What are you going to do with the 155-pound weight class?

White: I don’t know. Like I said, I trust when Sean Sherk tells me something, and I believe him. I’m not just saying this because I’m president of this league. He’s my friend, and if he tells me he didn’t do this, I believe him. He’s innocent until proven guilty. He’s not a liar, he’s not a cheater. We’ll see what happens. If at the end of the day the commission says he took steroids, then that’s what the ruling is and he’ll get whatever they put on him. That division will live on. This is a speed bump, and it hurts us bad. But we’re going to move on.

You can read the full interview by clicking here.

11 COMMENTS
  • says:

    [...] Original post by Five Ounces of Pain! [...]

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  • says:

    1) he didn’t say WHAT he was doing with the LWs, as the question was left unanswered

    2) “Nobody asked us” (in re drug testing at overseas events)? didn’t you ask Sam? didn’t a couple other folks? i remember it being talked about…

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  • says:

    Garth:

    I believe Denny Burkholder, my editor at CBS Sportsline, asked Marc Ratner about drug testing overseas. I never asked Dana because I haven’t been given the chance. I’ve gone through the proper protocol in requesting comments from Dana on several things and Sportsline hasn’t gotten a response back. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s busy, has been on vacation, or what.

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  • says:

    Quote from the ESPN interview: “Combat sports — MMA and boxing — really have the best steroids testing in sports. Every time we compete, we’re tested by the government. You can’t get more serious about it than that.”

    That is ridiculous. One could almost call it McDevitt-esque. First of all, the fact that it’s the government has no bearing on anything. In most cases they’re sending it to the same Quest Diagnostics or equivalent lab as any other drug testing program.

    Then there’s the fact that MMA events where all the fighters are drug tested (like UFC 73) are far outnumbered by events where 4 out of 16 fighters are tested, or 6 out of 18 are tested, or zero fighters are tested (as with UFC 69 and UFC 70— two events, not one).

    However, even if every fighter on every card were tested on the day of the fight, it would still lag far behind every other major sport’s drug testing program in arguably the most important area. Besides the fact that you’ll never hear of an NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, or Olympic athlete going an entire season without being tested once (whereas an MMA fighter not being tested a single time in a year would not be uncommon), the most important factor is that athletes in the other major sports have to deal with out-of-competition testing. There’s a lot more of it in the NFL than there is in Major League Baseball, and Olympic athletes can be compelled to take a drug test anywhere at any time during the year. Mixed martial artists, on the other hand, have no out-of-competition drug testing. They know exactly when they’re going to be tested: on the day of the fight.

    There’s a reason for the saying that if an athlete knows in advance when they have to take the test, it’s more of an IQ test than anything else. The reason is that it’s far from impossible to beat a drug test under those circumstances. I’m certainly not saying a drug test can’t be beaten if you have no idea when you’ll be taking the test, but it’s a heck of a lot harder when you don’t know the date ahead of time.

    That is the first, fundamental requirement of any comprehensive drug testing program: Random, out-of-competition testing that can happen at any time with no advance warning for the athlete. That’s what all the other aforementioned sports have that MMA doesn’t.

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  • says:

    good comments ivan.

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  • says:

    Also, in addition to all of the other points about the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc., keep in mind that all of those sports have players’ unions that fight hard against any kind of drug testing program, so in some cases even when the organization might want to adopt certain drug testing policies, they can’t if the resistance from the union is strong enough. In MMA, that’s not a factor because the fighters have no union or any collective bargaining of any kind.

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  • says:

    2 for 2 man. the point about unions, especially in baseball, is one i’ve rarely heard.

    boxers are not unionized, correct? pardon my ignorance, but does anyone know about ‘roids and boxing? is it a problem? it seems like boxing is a little different setup, what with the plethora of weight classes and all

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  • says:

    Garth:

    Boxing is not unionized.

    I don’t have specific numbers in front of me in regard to boxers testing positive for steroids but I do know that James Toney has tested positive twice.

    The perception about boxing and steroids and MMA and steroids is different but I’m not so sure if it’s accurate. I mean, Hermes Franca tests positive and it’s all over the MMA community. If the equivalent to Franca in boxing tested positive would any of us know about it?

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  • says:

    Fighters test positive for steroids in MMA a lot more than they do in boxing, largely for the simple reason that there’s more of an advantage for cheaters to gain over their opponent if they use steroids in MMA. While one could gain an advantage in both sports from the increased strength in their punches, in MMA the increased strength would also benefit your grappling game. Of course, steroids can also make you gas out quicker during fights if you’re walking around looking like Bobby Lashley (or Dave Bautista…. or John Cena… or Paul Levesque… just name a WWE main eventer), but that doesn’t seem to prevent numerous fighters from still using.

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  • says:

    why won’t my comments show up?

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  • says:

    Ah, seems like it doesn’t allow HTML links, so I will remove that part:

    The comments that were made in the ESPN interview about the human body’s natural production of Nandrolone were not even close to being correct. However, I didn’t realize until a few minutes ago just how far off they were. (hat tip to fight linker for posting the link to this information):

    “Olympic laboratories, tasked with ensuring that their tests are fair as well as effective, have researched natural nandrolone production regularly over the past quarter-century, the most recent study being conducted at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

    There, of 621 competitors tested after competition, only five produced results where their nandrolone levels exceeded 0.1 nanograms per millilitre of urine (ng/ml).All five were women. The levels in women are marginally higher, as a result of a different hormonal make-up and use of the contraceptive pill. But the levels are still minimal. Nobody in the Nagano tests exceeded 0.4ng/ml.

    This just served to confirm the IOC’s cut-off levels – a doping-control speed limit, where anything above 2ng/ml in men or 5ng/ml in women is regarded as an offence. Basic arithmetic suggests that the IOC scientists have set themselves a generous margin for error – 2ng/ml being 20 times what might be regarded as a “normal” level of nandrolone in men.”

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