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UFC 152: B.J. Penn Extends VADA Challenge to Rory MacDonald

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27:  BJ Penn of the USA looks across the octagon at John Fitch of the USA before the start of their welterweight bout part of UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Jeremy BotterContributor INovember 25, 2016

B.J. Penn has never been the conservative type when it comes to speaking his mind.

Penn usually says exactly what he feels, regardless of the consequences. It's gotten him in trouble with Dana White in the past, but it's also one of the things that endears him to his legions of fans around the world.

Penn is scheduled to return from a short-lived retirement to face rising prospect Rory MacDonald at UFC 152 in September. On Tuesday afternoon, Penn made a proposal to MacDonald: he wants to get the Voluntary Anti-Doping agency involved:

. @rory_macdonald VADA anti-doping has offered to sponsor our upcoming fight.I've accepted and invite you to help me clean up the sport

— BJ PENN (@bjpenndotcom) June 26, 2012

Here's a quick primer on VADA for those of you who aren't quite sure what I'm talking about. It's a non-profit organization created to promote clean athletes in boxing and mixed martial arts. In short, VADA handles extensive Olympic-style drug testing for athletes who request it.

MacDonald responded to Penn's challenge a short time later:

@bjpenndotcom already worried BJ? honestly i think its a great idea 2, and im ready to do the testing for our fight aswell @danawhite

— Rory MacDonald (@rory_macdonald) June 26, 2012

There's one thing that both Penn and MacDonald are not considering here, though. I can't imagine a scenario in which Dana White or Zuffa would sign off on the idea of VADA testing its athletes. The promotion prefers to allow local commissions to handle all drug testing of the fighters, and they're not going to allow VADA to get involved simply because it would open the door for future involvement.

VADA has no regulatory control over the UFC. They can't issue suspensions or fine fighters. So what happens if, god forbid, Penn or MacDonald fail a pre-fight drug screening handled by VADA? The UFC would quite obviously have to cancel a major fight for UFC 152, and they'd have to do it without official word from the Ontario commission. 

I just don't see that happening. Do you?

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