White: between recognition and controversy in Canada

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Dana holds a towel for Ben Henderson to weigh in disrobed. Photo: Marcelo Dunlop.

Hurricane UFC is making its mark on Toronto, and Dana White is splashed across the newspapers daily.

Yesterday the UFC front man was the subject of two different, nearly opposite discussions. The first’s been shelved – already taken care of. The second may still cause the president of the fastest growing promotion on the planet some headaches.

The good news first?

Mr. White was awarded a prize for businessman of 2011 by Top Choice Awards, based in Toronto. Dana grabbed the trophy, asked his press adviser to hold it, and showed himself to be truly stoked.

Now the bad news. The Canadian press decided to hop on board the UFC-and-doping bandwagon. In a short but provocative piece, executives from the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, said the UFC isn’t serious enough in carrying out drug exams on its fighters, just sugarcoating to satisfy fans. Canada’s Center for Ethics in Sport and the US Anti-Doping Agency were also sought out by news agency Reuters, and they informed the UFC that it has never asked them to perform urinalysis on any its fighters.

The UFC press department was short and curt in its response, saying the promotion is rigorous in testing and only uses WADA-accredited laboratories, despite the exams not being under the direct control of WADA itself. So the president dove into the debate, as he always does.

“People don’t realize that we’re regulated by the government. The government supervises what we do, and the government is the one that comes and does the anti-drugs tests on the guys. If you use steroids these days you have to be a complete idiot,” said Dana White.

Could this issue snowball into a headache for White, or will it too be shelved? At a time when the Jiu-Jitsu gang is saying an antidoping exam will settle everything, it’s something to think about. If even the Ultimate Fighting Championship can’t satisfy WADA, what will be said about amateur gentle art championships?

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