BJ Penn, who is expected to fight Rory MacDonald at UFC 152 in Toronto, is leading by example in the campaign to introduce more stringent performance-enhancing drug testing into MMA. He and MacDonald tweeted an agreement to have their September bout sponsored by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
Penn tweeted to MacDonald on Tuesday:
. @rory_macdonald VADA anti-doping has offered to sponsor our upcoming fight.I've accepted and invite you to help me clean up the sport
. @rory_macdonald VADA results will be released after the fight to ensure that the fight happens. Lets get started asap!!
@bjpenndotcom already worried BJ? honestly i think its a great idea 2, and im ready to do the testing for our fight aswell @danawhite
According to VADA's website, Penn and MacDonald will be subject to a testing program similar to what Olympic athletes under go. They will be subject to random testing, and have to submit their whereabouts to VADA so drug testers can show up whenever they like to require a test.
If it's truly modeled after the Olympic program, Penn and MacDonald need to be ready for knocks on their door at all times of the day and night. Olympians often tweet when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency shows up at their door, and it's rarely expected.
Kudos to both men for paying more than lip service to the problem of PEDs in MMA. Penn is a respected veteran, while MacDonald is a young up-and-comer in the sport, and they both recognize the need to be role models. Hopefully, more fighters will follow their lead.
UPDATE: Penn's tweet was incorrect. VADA releases test results immediately and does not hold them until after an event.