Over the past couple months we have seen a lot of drug suspensions involving UFC fighters. Chris Leben was suspended for amphetamines, Nick Diaz was suspended for marijuana and Alistair Overeem was suspended for raised testosterone levels. All these suspension went through the NSAC, but should the UFC have its own drug policy?
Let’s start off by saying this. I don’t think any of the suspensions would have been overturned by the UFC having its own personal policy, but it could create clearer rules for the UFC.
The NFL and all other major sports promotions have their own drug policies which create a clear picture for what is and is not allowed by the sport. Obviously mixed martial arts is sanctioned by state athletic commissions, which makes this difficult, but the UFC having its own rules would allow them to monitor fighters.
A fighter like Nick Diaz could have been suspended for a certain amount of time based on his first drug test failure and each subsequent test. This could be used for other drugs as well. It could start with a six month suspension for the first failure followed by one year and then lifetime ban. A three strikes and you’re out policy.
The most difficult part of this whole matter is the amount of MMA promotions there are. If a fighter is kicked out of the UFC they can go overseas to fight where they won’t be held to the suspension rules of America. There are also a ton of minor promotions that make this difficult as well.
We have unified rules for mixed martial arts so an inclusion of drug rules would help with all matters because the state commissions aren’t always clear in their rulings. Two different fighters may have two different penalties for the exact same crime.
The most realistic option may not be for the UFC to get their own drug policy, but rather athletic commissions to clear their rules up. Have rules for all fighters that make it clear the penalty if the rules are broken. There would no longer be questionable rulings or fighters arguing how unfair a rule is after a ruling is handed down.