Dana White: With random testing, 400 of the 475 fighters on the UFC’s roster would test positive for marijuana

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Dana White is not in favor of random drug testing. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)

LAS VEGAS — Dana White hates the idea of a fighter stepping into the octagon under the influence of performance enhancing drugs. “You go in and you face another fighter,” says the UFC president, “you can hurt him.”

So why doesn’t the fight promotion hire a private company that could administer more rigorous random testing than what’s possible within the budget constraints of state athletic commissions? One reason might be that White has concerns over a correlated effect of expanded testing, especially if done at times other than during fight week.

“Everybody thinks that if you did the random testing you’d catch so many guys on PEDs,” White told a group of reporters following Thursday’s UFC 155 pre-fight press conference. “You’d catch more guys on marijuana.”

Well, OK, so Nick Diaz would perpetually be under suspension, or at least double-secret probation. And any fighter who’s ever hung out in Diaz’s living room in Stockton, Calif., might have to worry about the lingering effects of a contact high. But that’s about it, right?

Not according to White. “So, 475 guys under contract,” he said, “and 400 will be out with marijuana.”

Four hundred? As in, 84 percent of the UFC’s roster?

Now, I realize that some fighters live in Colorado and Washington, states where pot is now legal. I know the light heavyweight champion walked out to a reggae classic prior to his last fight. Nonetheless, White’s estimate seems astoundingly high, so to speak, especially considering how vigilant many athletes in this sport are about every last thing they allow into their bodies. There are lots of vegetarians and vegans in the UFC, and many of those who do eat meat will consume only organic. I suppose that doesn’t rule out pot, but still … 400 out of 475? That’d be like all of the major leagues except the AL Central being stoners.

Speaking of which, White’s claim came while he was being questioned about UFC drug policy as it relates to those in other professional sports. And his comment on that topic was not surprising. Calling the recent years’ PED focus on players from the past misplaced, White said, “Go after the guys who are playing now. Those are the ones you want to bust.”

And even when the names of Manny Ramirez and Ryan Braun were brought up, as active players who were suspended for positive steroid tests, White would not concede that Major League Baseball or any other mainstream sport is doing a better job than the UFC of keeping things clean. “If you think baseball and football are really knocking it out of the park, pun intended, you’re crazy,” he said. “If they were really testing all the guys in baseball, do you think there’d be a [expletive] baseball game every day? There wouldn’t be, man. They’d be pulling guys up from the minors every day. It’d be crazy.”

—Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Dec 29, 2012

    Everything he said was accurate, particularly the last part.....


    The War on Drugs and all of this drug testing for pot has been one of the biggest atrocities in human history. Millions incarcerated, hundreds of thousands dead and trillions wasted over what? a personal choice about a plant? These destructive set of laws need to be repealed and allow the trillions to be spent on poverty or another cause. Stop the War on Drugs, stop the harm it does to society and start a war on poverty instead.


    smoke and toke its the american way


    Dana White is quite correct: 



    "At least a good 50 [US] Olympic athletes” use marijuana regularly before they stop in time for testing." 

    —Stephany Lee


    "I just let him know that most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason" 

    —Josh Howard, forward for the Dallas Mavericks. Howard admitted to smoking marijuana on Michel Irvin's ESPN show.


    "You got guys out there playing high every night. You got 60% of your league on marijuana. What can you do?" 

    —Charles Oakley (Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets)


    "I personally know boxers, body builders, cyclists, runners and athletes from all walks of life that train and compete with the assistance of marijuana,"  

    —WWE wrestler Rob Van Dam


    * Even many of the best cricket players of all time, like Phil Tufnell and Sir Ian Botham, have admitted to regularly using marijuana to deal with stress and muscle aches. In 2001, half of South Africa's cricket team was caught smoking marijuana with the team physiotherapist. They were celebrating a championship victory in the Caribbean.


    Here are some typical individual examples:


    * Usain Bolt, the 2008 World Record holder of the 100 and 200 meter sprint.


    * Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer ever with 14 Olympic gold medals.


    * Tim Linecum, the National League baseball’s Cy Young Award winner for 2009.


    * Santonio Holmes, the Super Bowl XLII’s MVP.


    * Mark Stepnoski, two-time Super Bowl champion. "I'd rather smoke than take painkillers."