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Zuffa Institutes Pre-Contract Drug Screening for UFC and Strikeforce

Matt Juul@@MattchidaMMAContributor IIIJanuary 17, 2012

Image courtesy of Tracy Lee/Yahoo! Sports.
Image courtesy of Tracy Lee/Yahoo! Sports.

Zuffa announced today that they will institute a new performance-enhancing drug (PED) screening policy for all potential fighters prior to signing their contracts with either the UFC or Strikeforce.

The move is a landmark decision by Zuffa, the parent company of both major mixed martial arts promotions, that will help in its commitment in keeping fighters who use PEDs out of the cage.

"We’re committed to the health and safety of our athletes and we take it very seriously,” UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said in a press release. “We already work closely with athletic commissions to protect our athletes and now we’re taking it one step further. We’re going to test any potential UFC or STRIKEFORCE fighter before finalizing their contract. This shows that we don’t want performance-enhancing drugs in our sport.”

The new policy will require that any prospective UFC or Strikeforce fighter must submit themselves to a drug test prior to the finalization of their contracts with either promotion. This policy was instituted on Jan. 1 of this year.

Any fighter currently under contract with the UFC or Strikeforce will continue to be tested under the jurisdiction of the various state athletic commissions in conjunction with the guidelines set out by Zuffa and its promotions.

"The health and safety of our athletes is our top priority,” UFC President Dana White said. “We’ve seen the issues performance-enhancing drugs have caused in other sports and we’re going to do everything we can to keep them out of the UFC and Strikeforce." 

In recent weeks, two of Strikeforce's most high profile fighters have been cited for violations. Strikeforce Women's Featherweight champion Cris Santos was suspended a year for testing positive for steroids after her December bout and former champion Muhammed Lawal was revealed to have tested positive for steroids earlier today.

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"Our athletes are already held to the highest testing standards in all sports by athletic commissions," said White.  "Our new testing policy for performance-enhancing drugs only further shows how important it is to us to have our athletes competing on a level playing field.” 

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