Well, it has happened again. Though we just added UFC 153 to history, suspensions were issued this week for fighters failing drug tests for UFC 149. Welterweight Matt Riddle was suspended for marijuana, and on a more serious note bantamweight Francisco Rivera tested positive for an undisclosed over-the-counter stimulant, likely a diuretic that aids in weight cutting. These findings were issued by the Calgary Combative Sports Commission, who suspended both for 90 days,and fights were made into No Contests. More inconsistencies on an issue that is sure to continue to affect the sport.
For their part, the UFC released this statement: ‘”We’ve been informed by the Calgary Combative Sports Commission that Matt Riddle and Francisco Rivera tested positive for banned substances following their bouts at UFC 149. UFC has a strict, consistent policy against the use of banned drugs and performance-enhancing stimulants, including the requirement that all incoming athletes be tested and cleared. Therefore, we fully support the drug testing efforts of the Calgary Combative Sports Commission and will fully cooperate with the Commission regarding this matter.”‘
A more hypocritical statement would be hard to make! The fights were on July 21st, exactly 3 months ago, and the suspensions are retroactive to the day of the fight. That means the fighters are off their suspensions today, October 21st, with no real repercussions at all.
In Matt Riddle’s case (and Nick Diaz and likely a slew of others), I could really care less if the fighters smoke pot.
But the commission handled a potential PED or diuretic the same way, with a three month suspension. I saw no mention of fines. If the commission in Canada is going to wait three months before issuing results, you can figure the fighter’s money is paid and gone, and they wont get it anyway, but couldn’t fines be assessed and money collected to be used to further sharpen the testing process.
Recently in the news, former BALCO executive Victor Conte speculated that roughly 50 percent of all MMA fighters are on something. So brace yourselves, the scandal is coming, a few fighters I have asked said told me they think personally that this is on the conservative side….