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Dana White
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 14: UFC President Dana White interacts with media during the final UFC 167 pre-fight press conference inside the Hollywood Theatre at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on November 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

MMA Crossfire – UFC says it's serious about new PED test initiatives

Today is D-Day for the UFC.

You can watch today’s special UFC press conference live on ufc.com.

Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White are expected to announce new performance enhancing drug testing initiatives and address the recent test failures of several of its star fighters.

Welcome back to The Crossfire.

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UFC SPECIAL EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE LIVE BLOG

12:57pm – Event setup.

1:03pm – Waiting for the UFC feed.

1:07pm – Still waiting.

1:13pm – Here we go. The feed works on UFC Fight Pass. Online feed still in a holding pattern.

1:15pm –  Dana White speaking about the failed Anderson Silva and Hector Lombard tests. Lombard was yanked off the card as soon as the UFC heard about it, White says.

1:16pm – The UFC doesn’t announce state athletic commission results – the commissions do – Dana White

1:18pm  Out of 79 events in 2013/2014 900 in-competition drug testes were done. 10 (1.1%) tested positive for recreational drugs while 12 tested positive for PEDs

1:19pm – UFC will advocate for 100% of the fighters to be tested – The UFC will help financially if necessary

1:21pm – Effective July 1st,2015, the UFC will step up out-of-competition random third-party PED drug testing for all fighters using WADA standards

1:22pm – UFC also advocating for harsher penalties and suspensions for infractions e.g. 4-year ban for first offence

1:24pm – Lorenzo Fertitta: “If you re using PEDs you will be caught and there will be significant penalties that will go along with that.”

1:25pm  – Lawerence Epstein, general legal counsel for the UFC – This is a complex issue and we don’t have all of the answers

1:26pm  – Epstein: One of the complex factors  Athletes are general contractors, not employees

1:26pm – Epstein: Logistics is complex too. Athletes are all over the world and they work with nutritionists and other people they have no control over

1:28pm – Yahoo Sports reporter Kevin Iole: What about strategic random testing? Ferttita: Purely random testing – still need to work out the details with third-party agencies. 1.3% failure rate on fight night , ~ 20% failure rate out-of-competition

1:31pm –Iole: Who enforces the suspensions? Epstein: We’ll need stronger contracts to give UFC the leverage to enforce suspensions and  it will be a combination of commissions world agencies etc.

1:32pm – Lawerence Epstein:” We are not in the drug testing business.”

1:33pm – Fertitta – The current penalties are not enough to deter fighters who cheat.

1:34pm – White: Risk vs reward. A 4-year ban makes it much more riskier for fighters to use PEDs.

1:35pm – Fertitta: Anderson Silva is going through due process. The NSAC will have a hearing for Silva to answer the charges and when it is concluded, the UFC will look at that. White: We have to see what happens with Anderson Silva.

1:37pm – Epstein – “The Olympic drug testing is a model we can look at.”

1:38pm – Fertitta: “Look at our track record. We’re not shying away from this. We’re hitting it head on. It may be a bumpy road and it may get worse before it gets better.”

1:40pm – White: “When there’s money involved, people will find a way to try and beat the system.”

1:40pm – White on Joe Rogan’s comments: “I think Joe’s a little flamboyant sometimes and exaggerates. I don’t know there’s an epidemic. There’s definitely a problem.”

1:42pm – Ferttita: Anderon Silva wasn’t the tipping point, but it sped up the process and added a sense of urgency.

1:43pm – Epstein: We’ve talked with drug-tcsting parties that have worked with other sports leagues and tried to take what was good and useful from their learning experiences. Same thing with the UFC’s code of conduct.

1:44pm – White: If you can’t compete with your natural abilities, you don’t belong here.

1:45pm – Fertitta: Not doing anything is not an option. We have to do something.

1:48pm – Fertitta: The UFC will have to work with State Athletic Commissions to work out the framework.

1:50pm – Fertitta: If a champion tested positive, the ideal situation is a minimum 2-year ban. Will the champion be stripped? Will cross that bridge when and if they get there.

1:53pm – Epstein: Extradited PED drug testing results seem to be essential.

1:53pm – Epstein: The UFC plans on using NSAC protocols when they self-regulate.

1:54pm – Epstein: It may take some time, but UFC is confident they can get SAC and federations to accept the results of out-of-compeition  drug testing

1:59pm – White: Either you have the ability to fight or you don’t.

2:00pm – Fertitta: No major fallout from sponsors  over this.

2:01pm – Fertitta: We’ve been working on this for the last 6 – 9 months.

2:04pm – Fertitta: I expect the NSAC to test the July 11th UFC 189 championship bouts  and do out-of-competition testing. Need to ask them.

2:05pm – Fertitta: The cost will be in “the millions of dollars.” A lot of variables involved.

2:11pm –  Fertitta: It’s our expectations that the regulatory bodies will look at this and increase the PED penalties etc.

2:12pm –  And that’s all folks.

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Kenai is a former Postmedia Network news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.
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