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Old 07-16-2012, 08:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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BJ Penn willing to pay for drug test - if results are released after the fight

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For much of his career, former UFC champion B.J. Penn (16-8-2 MMA, 12-7-2 UFC) has been an outspoken opponent of performance-enhancing drug use in the sport of mixed martial arts.

And so when the non-profit Voluntary Anti-Doping Association volunteered to sponsor pre-fight testing for Penn and his UFC 152 opponent, Rory MacDonald (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), "The Prodigy" immediately agreed to take part.

Penn has since been forced to withdraw his support of the program due to VADA's insistence the results of the testing be released prior to the matchup. However, the Hawaiian scrapper doesn't want to nix the plan all together. Instead, he said he's willing to foot the bill for the procedures if the organization can wait to make the results public.

"VADA contacted me to talk about doing their testing," Penn said at a recent media session, which MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) attended. "Right away, I was for it. But I was talking to them, and we were talking about the process.

"This isn't an amateur sport. What I expressed to VADA was that results need to be released after the fight, but VADA wants to do it before the fight, and I said, 'I'm not trying to put the UFC's fight in danger by doing that.' I said, 'What's the problem? Let's do the results after the fight.'"

The Las Vegas-based VADA, according to the independent organization's website, was "founded to offer and promote effective anti-doping programs in boxing and mixed martial arts." Former Nevada State Athletic Commission chief ringside physician Margaret Goodman serves as president.

According to VADA's bylaws, "Professional athletes will volunteer to be subject to unannounced testing at any time during the eight weeks prior to a scheduled fight. As in the Olympic program, an agreement to participate will require fighters to officially inform us of their daily whereabouts, so that they can be tested per the program. Athletes will agree that all results are immediately released to the appropriate adjudicating commission overseeing their upcoming contest."

Penn first discussed VADA's offer in June, accepting the deal and challenging MacDonald to do the same. However, Penn assumed the results of the test would be held private until after the Sept. 22 matchup, which takes place at Toronto's Air Canada Centre. While some pundits have openly questioned why Penn expected such confidentiality prior to the fight, Penn said the reasoning is simple: It's not his place to potentially endanger a bout he isn't personally promoting.

"It doesn't do me any good to train for three months, and I don't get to fight," Penn said. "It doesn't do MacDonald any good, and it doesn't do any good for (UFC co-owners) Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta to put millions of dollars into marketing a fight that could get canceled.

"I'm not trying to put any pressure on Dana White. He has nothing to do with this. When the anti-doping agency can come on friendly terms and be more welcome with a company like the UFC, I think that's what they should do, and I don't know why they're waiting and pushing this to take longer."

While VADA has yet to make any serious in-roads into MMA, the organization has recently made waves in the boxing community, as a number of notable names have agreed to subject themselves to the additional drug screens, which supplement the requirements of any governing athletic commission. In fact, a pair of high-profile boxing contests were recently canceled following failed VADA screens as Lamont Peterson was forced out of a planned May bout with Amir Khan and Andre Berto was pulled from a planned June matchup with Victor Ortiz.

With those cancellations in mind, Penn said it simply doesn't make sense to participate in the program – at least not at this time. The 33-year-old Hawaiian is confident his tests would not create any problems, and while he isn't trying to cast any doubt on MacDonald, he also knows it isn't his place to risk the matchup. Instead, Penn suggests he could cover VADA's costs if the company could release the results post-UFC 152.

"Everything can be negotiated," Penn said. "I would even suggest to VADA if you want me to pay for it – because they're doing the sponsorship thing – if I pay for it, can we release the results after the fight? I've expressed this many times to Victor Conte, who is one of the people who is heavily involved with VADA.

"My hands are tied. I'm not trying to put any pressure on the people who are trying to make me money, but if Dana White doesn't get paid, B.J. Penn doesn't get paid."

Anti-doping supporters, including MMAjunkie.com's own Dr. Johnny Benjamin, contend that manipulating VADA's process essentially undermines the integrity of the entire program.

"If every time a fight comes up it becomes 'Let's Make a Deal,' the process becomes tainted very quickly and not worth the time or effort," Benjamin recently wrote in his "Ask the Fight Doc" column. "How will your opponent or regulating bodies know you didn't cut some sort of preferential deal?"

Penn realizes his offer isn't the ultimate finish line for drug-testing in the sport, but he also believes it could be an important step in the right direction, leading the UFC and VADA to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. In short, testing results would not jeopardize the UFC 152 matchup, but Penn and MacDonald could provide high-profile guinea pigs for both VADA and the UFC to familiarize themselves with each other.

As such, Penn hopes VADA will at least consider his idea in hopes that it could someday result in a more in-depth testing procedure for all MMA fighters, especially in markets like Toronto where the Ontario Athletic Commission has previously passed the responsibility on to promoters.

"As of now, with the VADA thing, we're just kind of at a little bit of a standstill because I know this is a professional sport," Penn said. "From what I understand, Toronto doesn't even have a policy if you test positive for steroids. I doubt there will even be a steroid test when we get there. So as far as I know, who knows what's going to be standing across the ring from you? Is it going to be a regular man or Superman? You don't know."
Source: MMAjunkie.com
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Hope this becomes the norm in a few years. Totally understand the reasoning behind wanting the results to come out AFTER the fight. If they come out before the fight and soemone does indeed test positive, then everyone loses.

Hope they take Penn up on his offer and agree.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hope this becomes the norm in a few years. Totally understand the reasoning behind wanting the results to come out AFTER the fight. If they come out before the fight and soemone does indeed test positive, then everyone loses.

Hope they take Penn up on his offer and agree.
I see it both ways. After the fight is good admit doesn't scrap fights like JDS/Overeem. Tis is just an example and not at all what I think would happen. But what of Overeem beat JDS senseless? I mean battered and dominated JDS and then it turns out he popped the test after. People would be in such a rage about it. It would just lead to an amazingly huge controversy, possibly larger than if it had been released before the fight.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think in general it would be good to release PED test results prior to the fights. In that way a failed PED test would have much more impact as fights would be canceled if a fighter fails the test. So a PED using fighter would not only risk a licence ban by the athletic commission for a year, but also to be cut by the UFC and consequently fighters would really think about whether using PEDs is worth the risk.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I understand where Penn is coming from, but I also wonder nis he seriously suspects macdonald. I know he says it isn't about him in the article, but I find it confusing since we know he is confident is his own testing.

Anyways still big respect to Penn for getting involved in this in the first place.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I see it both ways. After the fight is good admit doesn't scrap fights like JDS/Overeem. Tis is just an example and not at all what I think would happen. But what of Overeem beat JDS senseless? I mean battered and dominated JDS and then it turns out he popped the test after. People would be in such a rage about it. It would just lead to an amazingly huge controversy, possibly larger than if it had been released before the fight.
I mean for this fight(Penn vs Rory) it is better that the results come out after the fight has finished as the testers are being hired by Penn, and Penn doesn't want to hurt the UFC or the fans if in fact someone does test positive. If the UFC was doing the spending/hiring then fine, but they aren't in this case.

IF the UFC can implement this testing system consistently for every card, then yes, results being released prior to the happening will be a lot better for the reasons you mentioned above.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If Penn is SO against PED's then there shouldn't be an issue with releasing it pre fight. If it happens after the fight there is either no punishment for the doper or significantly less punishment since he gets paid, gets bonuses for the fight, etc. I can understand not wanting to risk the fight being off but that is what you have to do if you want to clean up the sport.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well. If Rory has nothing to hide he should do it. Otherwise there will be people who suspect something. There already are some who are suspect of Rory and roids.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I can see BJ's point, how pissed would you be if you spent months training for a fight, getting beat up, having to cut weight only to have it go to shit because of something out of your hands?
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I am in full agreement with Penn on this issue, and I personally believe that Rory takes steroids/PEDs. Penn is smart for trying to force MacDonald to fight him clean as that would give him a much bigger opportunity to beat him, and as mentioned it's especially important in a place like Canada where they don't have testing.
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