UFC president Dana White knows that there is potential bad news coming down the tracks. White could get in front of that news and deal with it in a proactive manner. Instead, he has his fingers in his ears and his eyes closed in the hopes that he never hears the bad news.
That’s bad strategy, and a huge mistake on White’s part. It also speaks volumes to how much White, and the organization that he is the face of, really care about the use of performance enhancing drugs and doping in the sport of mixed martial arts.
When word came down that some mixed martial arts fighters were clients of Biogenesis of Miami, the UFC should have done what Major League Baseball did; contact the founder of the clinic, Tony Bosch to try and find out what fighters, if any, under the employ of the UFC were involved in receiving PED’s from Biogenesis.
Instead, White delivered his automatic response when asked about drugs in MMA, “Obviously, it’s an athletic commission issue, but it’s just one of those things,” White said via MMAJunkie following UFC on Fox 8. “It’s just another f—king headache I don’t need.”
That was the wrong response. Yes, it is true that the UFC doesn’t need that headache, but you would think that the president of a sport that is fighting for mainstream acceptance would do a little more than shrug his shoulders and basically say, “eh, that’s not my problem” when faced with a potential doping controversy.
“Just another one of those things”? Fighters missing weight or getting injured during training camp can be filed under that heading, but banned substances? No, those are not, “just another one of those things.” Don’t believe that, ask the MLB players that are serving out lengthy suspensions after being tied to Biogenesis.
White’s initial response came in late July. When the UFC president was pressed on the topic prior to the UFC on Fox Sports 1 card, he was more pointed in his response, “These guys get tested by the government; I don’t give a s–t about Biogenesis,” White told MMAJunkie. “I’ve got so much s–t to do. I can barely keep up with what I’m doing now. I’m not going to fly down there or get on the phone with these guys.”
White finished by saying, “Believe me, if bad s–t is going to happen, it’s going to come to me.”
He’s right, bad s–t is going to happen, but isn’t it a better look to go out and dig into that bad s–t before someone does it for the UFC and plops it on White’s doorstep and asks, “now what”?
When White says “the government” he is referring to the athletic commissions. The same athletic commissions he likes to blast from time to time.
Are we supposed to believe that White and the UFC have full faith in the commissions on the subject of drug testing? Don’t forget, the Nevada Athletic Commission, the biggest and most well funded commission in the United States is the same government agency White refers to as the “Worst athletic commission in the country!!!!!!!!!!!!”?
The other thing is, this is really only a problem for the athletic commissions in a very roundabout way. Yahoo’s Kevin Iole spoke to Nick Lembo of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board who told him, “You wouldn’t be able to punish them for past conduct, I would doubt, because the licensing period had expired. Now, if they were under current licensure then you could review that and perhaps [take action], but if they were expired, I don’t think there would be an ability to punish.”
In short, pointing the finger at the athletic commission is convenient, but it’s just a smokescreen, an easy to see past diversion, if you can get past the bombastic way White screams about the government testing the fighters.
My advice? White and the UFC need to find time to investigate the claims that MMA fighters are involved in the Biogenesis case and do something about them. White’s attempt to bury his head in the sand will only result in someone coming along and kicking him in the ass at some point.
*Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer and the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board counsel Nick Lembo were contacted for this story, but elected not to offer comments due to the speculative nature of the Biogenesis case at this point.