In response to the recent drug test-related suspension of Joey Beltran and Rousimar Palhares (read the full story at UFC Suspends Beltran and Palhares for Failing Drug Tests), the UFC plans to update its drug testing policy. The updates will affect post-fight bonus pay and overseas fights. The changes are believed to be the first step in wider changes to UFC’s drug testing policy.
Marc Ratner, the UFC’s vice president of regulatory affairs, announced that post-show bonuses will be paid to fighters only after all drug test results have come in. Previously, fighters who were honored with awards like Knockout of the Night, Submission of the Night, and Fight of the Night were entitled to receive bonus pay immediately following the show. The new policy will delay all such payments until after the fighter’s mandatory drug test results have been returned.
These changes will cause the UFC to revamp how they conduct drug testing for events outside the U.S. Now, all fighters competing overseas are subject to a drug test before their bouts. The new policy changes will go into effect on Jan. 19, when UFC on FX7 takes place in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
The host Athletic Commissions generally oversee most of the mandatory tests and procedures. However, if an Athletic Commission does not exist where a fight is taking place, the UFC will now conduct its own tests. Ratner, a former executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, will oversee these procedures. The promotion will hire independent companies to administer drug testing outside the US.
Meanwhile, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF), who will appoint a Brazilian commission shortly, will supervise UFC on FX7 in Sao Paolo.