UFC drops plans for year-round drug testing program

Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White said the Cung Le situation taught the organization some valuable lessons.

The immediate impact of the fiasco is that the UFC has abandoned plans to implement its own year-round drug-testing program.

The UFC announced a test administered to Le by the organization after his fight in Macau in August showed 18 times the allowable limit for human growth hormone, but Le challenged the results based on what he called faulty testing procedures and raised questions about the lab.

There was also an unclear appeals process. Le was initially given a nine-month suspension, which was later extended to 12 months somewhat arbitrarily.

Le had reportedly agreed to the original penalty, but fought it when it was extended. He has since requested his release from the organization and joined a class-action lawsuit against the UFC.

White said the entire ordeal was “a real eye-opener.”

“Our legal team completely screwed that thing up,” he said. “We have no business doing drug testing. We (expletive) it up, and we will (expletive) it up again. That’s what the commission is there to do.”

White said instead of implementing its own program, the UFC will provide more money to state athletic commissions.

“What we’ll do is we’ll help fund it so they can do better drug testing, more drug testing,” he said. “They can handle it. They’re the regulators.”

■ UFC 185 SET — Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will defend his belt against Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC 185 in Dallas on March 14.

It will be the second title defense for Pettis, who submitted Gilbert Melendez on Dec. 6.

Dos Anjos has won three straight fights and eight out of nine to get into title contention. He is coming off a decision victory over Nate Diaz on Dec. 13.

The lone loss in that stretch came to Khabib Nurmagomedov in April 2014. Nurmagomedov, who is 22-0, was supposed to be next in line to fight Pettis, but he is currently sidelined with a knee injury and likely won’t be able to fight until late spring or early summer.

Pettis missed more than a year before his last fight, however, and requested a quick turnaround.

A welterweight title bout between champion Robbie Lawler and former champ Johny Hendricks was thought to be under consideration to headline UFC 185. Lawler fought four times in 2014 and wanted some time off before his next fight.

White confirmed, however, that Lawler and Hendricks will fight for a third time. There was a possiblity Lawler’s first title defense would come against Rory MacDonald, but White said he will have to wait.

■ FIGHT PASS EXPANDS — UFC officials announced Saturday the addition of several fight libraries to its offerings on subscription streaming service Fight Pass.

Once all the new footage is added, the service is expected to contain more than 13,000 archived fights.

The organizations added to the library are: Cage Rage, Extreme Challenge MMA, X-Treme Fighting Organization, Ultimate Challenge MMA, Hook ’N Shoot, TKO Major League MMA, King of the Cage and Pancrase.

The footage is expected to start appearing on Fight Pass in the spring.

The service already includes archived fights from the UFC, Strikeforce, Affliction and Invicta, as well as many live events.

■ SYLVIA RETIRES — Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia announced his retirement from mixed martial arts over the weekend.

Sylvia had been scheduled to fight Juliano Coutinho in a super heavyweight bout at the Mohegan Sun Resort in Uncasville, Conn., on Saturday.

Sylvia showed up for the fight weighing 371 pounds and was not granted a license to fight by commission officials. No official reason was given.

Sylvia, 38, finishes his career with a 31-10 record. He lost his last three fights.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

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