MMA News

Sunday, 07/15/2012, 03:27 pm

BJ Penn prepared to pay for UFC 152 pre-fight testing

“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 ( 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’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.”



23 Responses to “BJ Penn prepared to pay for UFC 152 pre-fight testing”

  1. Troy Benning says:

    BJ is one of the pioneers of a “Well-rounded” game. Great stand-up and ground skills. Back in the time, aspiring MMA fighters want to be BJ simply because he has the all-around skills that a champ should have.

    His weakness is conditioning. Can you imagine a doped up BJ Penn?

    • Moron killer says:

      Oh man a juiced bj with conditioning would be undefeated. Its good to have clean fighters though. but if juicing was legal then you would see a lot of guys looking like ken shamrock and mark coleman when they hit there forties….

  2. Troy Benning says:

    BJ is one of the pioneers of a “Well-rounded” game. Great stand-up and ground skills. Back in the time, aspiring MMA fighters want to be BJ simply because he has the all-around skills that a champ should have.

    His weakness is conditioning. Can you imagine a doped up BJ Penn?

    I Support these Poor Fighters

  3. Find a another agency that would do it…All I know is if I ran another agency and got wind of this I would do it for the publicity alone waiting until after the fight would be for fighter saftey,and it wouldn’t affect the integrity of the program abusing drugs or getting caught trying to manipulate the system in some way would.Its sad how stuborn and ignorant some people can be.

  4. stephen riddle says:

    Man i hope he trains hard for this one! Good luck bj!

  5. Kong says:

    It’s not fair for a clean fighter to have to fight another fighter on peds. They should make a rule saying if u test positive the clean fighter takes your entire purse. That would clean the sport up real quick.

  6. Big J says:

    I love this idea….I do think MacDonald is using something, and I think BJ is on to something….just look at Rory’s back at every fight, the kids has acne all over his back!

  7. Big J says:

    I love this idea….I do think MacDonald is using something, and I think BJ is on to something….just look at Rory’s back at every fight, the kid has acne all over his back!

  8. tee says:

    If your going to do it theb do it the right way. No negotiating. That defeats the wholewhole purpose bj. If Rory fails they will give you a new opponent. Its beengoing on all summer. Do it the right way BJ And beat his ass.

  9. Many Questions says:

    Releasing the results after the fight makes no sense. If a fighter tests positive at any point, shouldn’t VADA say so and release that info? If they don’t, and the fight goes on as scheduled, what happens if the fighter fighting clean is seriously injured? And isn’t the whole point of testing is to ensure fighters are training clean?

    BJ wants to hold onto the results until after the fight, and to me that doesn’t make sense. And what Dr. Benjamin said is totally correct that negotiating the testing process undermines the credibility of the program and intent. There is no compromise. The UFC and MMA organizations in general have to hold their fighters accountable. Even if it means putting in PED clauses in the fighters’ contract.

    • Mick says:

      what penn is trying to say is that if a fighter tests dirty for juice and vada releases the results before the fight, the fight will not happen, resulting in nobody getting paid. now if vada would release the results after the fight there would be paydays im guessing for both fighters and the owners wouldnt lose money on their promotional costs, basically penn (and probably most other fighters) would rather fight someone roided up and get paid rather than not getting paid for that fight and waiting for a replacement fighter and rescheduled fight

  10. B-rad says:

    I guess Bj thinks Rory’s on PED’s the way he keeps offerin to pay for it lol.. It doesnt really matter if he does go thru with all it wil be on a set date probably so he could easily cycle off in time.. not sayin Rory is on anything but someone who is unless you dont know when you get tested, its easy to piss clean once if you got time to plan for it

  11. Nick says:

    How hard is to release the results post fight? Like seriously, have them test before the fight then print the results after the fight.

  12. Clay says:

    I agree with bj and know where he’s coming from… But, I think he’s making too big of a deal out of it. It’s kind of suspicious. He should just assume that both fighters are clean. And participate in the testing!

    Also they could still fight and just cut the persons pay that tested positive (like when a fighter comes in over weight)

  13. Filthy Rotten Rousey says:

    I’m sorry but if they find out he is on PED’s before the fight then the correct decision is to release the results and either cancel the fight or find a new opponent. Allowing the fight to proceed would be negligent and irresponsible. B.J’s reasoning is self serving and foolish.

  14. ny grappla says:

    lol victor conte behind VADA testing… one of the biggest steroid suppliers in the american sports history..BALCO is behind steroid testing now…gotta love it

  15. Nolan says:

    penn is saying release it post fight to not lose the UFC money but that’s not the real reason.. he’s not stupid…

    rory is a PERFECT opponent for bj.. If bj wins he’s right back into title contention.. So BJ WANTS TO FIGHT RORY NO MATTER WHAT. Then if he loses, he would still have a chance to say he was on roids… so he could ask for a rematch, different opponent.. whatever… and if he wins, its more of an arguement for a title shot..

  16. its a win,win says:

    for bj if they did it his way its a win win.. bj doesn’t want them to release the results first because rory is a perfect opponent for bj.. If bj beats rory he’s back in title contention..

    He doesn’t want them to release the results first because lets say rory wins.. and turns up dirty, then bj has an excuse.. can ask for a rematch, a different opponent.. whatever..

    if bj wins, then its more of an arguement for a title shot, beating a juiced mcdonald..

    he SAYS it’s so save the ufc money from a possible fight being pulled of the table but I don’t buy it.

  17. Dee says:

    I agree with posting the test before the fight. Remember the reason for the testing is to make sure the fighters are safe. I would want to know if my opponent is cheating. I see both sides of this story. I also feel that jeopardizing a few of the fights will make both boxing and MMA become a lot harsher with punishment. Once Dana lose a few mill, he’ll quickly change his mind about roids and start punishing fighters on the 1st offense instead of the 3rd. Fighters would probably be fine a lot more severely.

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