BJ Penn willing pay for drug testing if VADA will hold results until after the bout

For much of his career, former UFC champion B.J. Penn (16-8-2) has been an outspoken opponent of performance-enhancing drug use in the sport of mixed martial arts.

And so when the non-profit Voluntary Anti-Doping Association volunteered to sponsor pre-fight testing for Penn and his UFC 152 opponent, Rory MacDonald (13-1), “The Prodigy” immediately agreed to take part.

Penn has since been forced to withdraw his support of the program due to VADA’s insistence the results of the testing be released prior to the matchup. However, the Hawaiian scrapper doesn’t want to nix the plan all together. Instead, he said he’s willing to foot the bill for the procedures if the organization can wait to make the results public.

“VADA contacted me to talk about doing their testing,” Penn said at a recent media session, which MMAjunkie.com attended. “Right away, I was for it. But I was talking to them, and we were talking about the process.

“This isn’t an amateur sport. What I expressed to VADA was that results need to be released after the fight, but VADA wants to do it before the fight, and I said, ‘I’m not trying to put the UFC’s fight in danger by doing that.’ I said, ‘What’s the problem? Let’s do the results after the fight.'”

The Las Vegas-based VADA, according to the independent organization’s website, was “founded to offer and promote effective anti-doping programs in boxing and mixed martial arts.” Former Nevada State Athletic Commission chief ringside physician Margaret Goodman serves as president.

According to VADA’s bylaws, “Professional athletes will volunteer to be subject to unannounced testing at any time during the eight weeks prior to a scheduled fight. As in the Olympic program, an agreement to participate will require fighters to officially inform us of their daily whereabouts, so that they can be tested per the program. Athletes will agree that all results are immediately released to the appropriate adjudicating commission overseeing their upcoming contest.”

Penn first discussed VADA’s offer in June, accepting the deal and challenging MacDonald to do the same. However, Penn assumed the results of the test would be held private until after the Sept. 22 matchup, which takes place at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. While some pundits have openly questioned why Penn expected such confidentiality prior to the fight, Penn said the reasoning is simple: It’s not his place to potentially endanger a bout he isn’t personally promoting.

“It doesn’t do me any good to train for three months, and I don’t get to fight,” Penn said. “It doesn’t do MacDonald any good, and it doesn’t do any good for (UFC co-owners) Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta to put millions of dollars into marketing a fight that could get canceled.

“I’m not trying to put any pressure on Dana White. He has nothing to do with this. When the anti-doping agency can come on friendly terms and be more welcome with a company like the UFC, I think that’s what they should do, and I don’t know why they’re waiting and pushing this to take longer.”

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