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Nevada Gets Tougher on Steroids

The Nevada State Athletic Commission is serious about ensuring that steroids and other banned substances are not used by fighters that compete in their state. They recently issued a memo to all fighters that are licensed in Nevada. Bad Man Sports has obtained the document and its full text follows.

To: All Nevada Licensees

From: John R. Bailey, Chairman

Date: January 7, 2008

Subject: Additional Steroid and Drug Testing

Through all of our collective efforts, we have come a long way in eradicating the use of prohibited substances (e.g., steroids) in unarmed combat in Nevada. There is however much work to be done. While the vast majority of our licensed fighters understand the health risks and unfair competitive advantage associated with the use of prohibited substances, the Commission continues to identify a small number of fighters who refuse to comply with our statutes and regulations. There has been some indication through comments made during the Commission’s public meetings that these non-compliant fighters have become very sophisticated in the timing of taking prohibited substances.

Therefore, in addition to the steroid and drug tests performed on contestants on fight night, the Commission will be requiring fighters licensed by the Commission, and applicants for such licensure, to submit to these tests when ordered by the Commission at other times during the year. (The costs of these “pre-fight night” tests will be paid by the Commission.) The process for selecting which fighters are required to submit to these tests will be based on: (i) a random selection; (ii) some indication that a particular fighter may be using a prohibited substance; or (iii) the fact that a fighter has previously tested positive for using a prohibited substance.

The Commission will contact the fighter directly and will also attempt to contact the fighter’s promoter, if known, with the ordering of the test and the timeframe within which the test must be taken. If a fighter either fails to take the test within that the required timeframe or fails the test, the Commission may refuse to license the fighter, refuse to allow the fighter to compete, and/or discipline the fighter. As you know, the Commission’s primary goal is to deter fighters from taking non-approves substances. Consequently, the Commission is hopeful that all tests will come back negative.

The Commission and its staff appreciate your efforts to ensure that competition between fighters in Nevada is conducted in a fair manner and that each fighter’s health is not compromised by the use of prohibited substances. If you have any questions or comments on this matter, please contact the Commission’s Executive Directo, Keith Kizer at (702) 486-2575. As always, please feel free to contact any Commissioner with any concerns you may have. Thank you.

It’s commendable that the commission is looking to keep performance enhancers out of the sport and in order to ensure this, year-round testing is indeed required. However, how does one determine what “some indication that a particular fighter may be using a prohibited substance” is?

Nevada is the first state commission to take such a stand.

  • Sam Cupitt says:

    I like this idea. Although intrusive, it should help squash any thought that fighters are timing their cycles and what not and are able to avoid detection.

    Good move and nice post.

  • I think this is a proactive step and I agree with testing via:

    (i) a random selection;
    (iii) the fact that a fighter has previously tested positive for using a prohibited substance.

    But I do have a problem with:
    (ii) some indication that a particular fighter may be using a prohibited substance; or

    Just what are these “indications”? To me it sounds like they are giving themselves carte blanche to test anyone at any time.

    One might ask “If fighters aren’t breaking the rules, then why should they worry about getting tested?” and I understand that argument. But if they are going to target specific individuals, I think the commission should be transparent about what their criteria is that would flag someone as a potential user.

  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Yeah they are giving themselves a lot of grey to work with as opposed to black and white guidelines.

    It seems like with (ii) that fighters with an overly muscular physique may be targeted, even if they have no prior history.

  • Evan says:

    ““some indication that a particular fighter may be using a prohibited substance” is?”

    Intentionally left vague to leave them as much leeway to handle the situation as they see fit.

  • Evan says:

    I would also like to know where they are going to get the funds to execute this new policy.

  • Zack says:

    What they should probably do is make the fighters take a mandatory test within 2 weeks of signing a bout agreement.

  • Evan says:

    “What they should probably do is make the fighters take a mandatory test within 2 weeks of signing a bout agreement.”

    The everyone knows exactly when to cycle and mask drug use.

  • Zack says:

    Maybe your right, as I’m not up on how long steroids are in your system. But if you had to be clean 2-3 months out from a fight (I’m guessing this is the average time from events that fighters sign bout agreements), and you knew you were going to be tested after the fight, wouldn’t you have to at least be clean for those months?

  • Logan says:

    Steroids aren’t a problem for me but wouldn’t they also be testing for weed?

  • Evan says:

    “wouldn’t you have to at least be clean for those months?”

    I have no idea Zack. But I know the fact that MLB players can know exactly at times when they will be tested is one issue why congress has such a problem with them right now.

    Also why steroids will be a focal point I am taking this as an all encompassing drug policy. After all, how many failed tests were for recreational drugs?

  • mike wolfe says:

    Who cares whether it’s steroids or “recreational drugs”? Neither are legal, and many employers require urinalysis as part of the hiring process. I can’t see why MMA fighters should be treated any differently. Those who enjoy weed or whatever may have to choose between that and pro fighting, but other people have to make those choices every day, too.

  • Logan says:

    I’d rather have both.

  • Still a lot of questions that need to be answered

  • Slakdawg says:

    I have no sympathy for these guys getting tested. I’m in the military and I get tested when I’m told to, whether it’s random or otherwise. If the commander says “go piss in a cup” I do it. I have no choice in the matter, nor should I.

    I dont care if the NSAC’s motives are transparent or completely vague. I want a clean sport where the outcome is determined by the fighter’s skill and heart, not what they have injected into their bodies.

  • mike wolfe says:

    I agree 100%, Slakdawg. And by the way, thanks for your service.

  • HexRei says:

    Yeah, because weed is such a performance enhancer…

  • mike wolfe says:

    It’s ILLEGAL, dude. Whether it ought to be is a different question. How could a state athletic commission turn a blind eye to something that’s illegal? States are in the law enforcement business, and they can’t pick and choose.

  • Logan says:

    I don’t see anyone arguing that steroids shouldn’t be tested for and tested for more often, so I’m not sure why Slakdawg (great name) is thinking people want sympathy.

  • Jay K. says:

    Another vote for Slakdawg.

    Thank you for your service.

    Jay K.

  • Logan says:

    What are you voting for?

  • Roan says:

    An exercise in futility. Steroids and other performance enhancing drugs are here to stay. The labs will always be playing catch-up with the athletes and the scientists who help them.

    They still do not even have a test for hGH or IGF.


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