The Ultimate Fighting Championship and STRIKEFORCE organizations held their fourth Fighter Summit on July 9 and July 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC President Dana White and UFC CEO and Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta welcomed over 300 UFC and STRIKEFORCE athletes to the event.
At the Summit, the UFC and STRIKEFORCE announced a formalized written policy against performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and other banned substances.
Lawrence Epstein, the company’s Executive Vice-President and General Counsel, explained the written policy is a continuation of existing policy, and that both promotions will follow guidelines drafted by the same law firm which advises the National Football League on PEDs.
Epstein said: “It is important to continue educating our athletes on the dangers of PEDs and other banned substances. Additionally, no new UFC or STRIKEFORCE promotional agreement will become effective before the athlete has provided a clean PED test result.”
He added: “PED and banned substance usage harms the integrity of sport, potentially compromises the safety of our athletes, raises concerns for both short and long-term health issues and sends an improper message to our fanbase. We will continue to be at the forefront of this issue. And we will continue to work with Athletic Commissions and other bodies to ensure – to the fullest extent possible – that testing procedure keep pace with scientific advancements regarding the identification and detection of prohibited substances.”
The promotions’ medical consultant Dr. Jeff Davidson then spoke to the athletes about both the short and long-term medical effects of PEDs. Dr. Davidson discussed the topical Testosterone REPLACEment Therapy (TRT) and Keith Kizer – the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission – detailed the laws and regulations pertaining to PEDs and TRT.
The Fighter Summit itinerary also included topics such as how the fighters can better promote themselves using social media, an announcement on the company’s new relationship with video game giant EA Sports, a talk from pro football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin on the social responsibilities and pressures placed upon modern-day athletes, and a presentation on sensitivity and promoting professional brand excellence.
UFC President Dana White said: “When we see our fighters during event time, they are cutting weight or are going from interview to interview, so it is important to sit down with them – all 300-plus of them – in a room and go over what is happening in our sport. We had a great line-up of speakers, experts in everything from social media, to brand awareness to medical experts, and our fighters went away with some great information. These summits are crazy to organize, but as a responsible company we feel they are very worthwhile.”
It was also announced that, despite an increase in cost, all UFC and STRIKEFORCE athletes will have accidental medical insurance for a second year, including added coverage for pre-existing conditions.
UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta said: “Flying over three hundred athletes from literally all over the world, from Brazil, Europe, the Far East, Australia and all over North America, is always a logistical challenge. But it is invaluable for our major sports organization to get all of our athletes together go over things like insurance, drug testing and social responsibility. We had great feedback from our athletes and the summit was extremely worthwhile.”