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EXCLUSIVE: UFC Founder Art Davie Claims ‘No Drug Testing Back in the Day, Only AIDS Checks’

Debmallya Chakraborty

EXCLUSIVE: UFC Founder Art Davie Claims 'No Drug Testing Back in the Day, Only AIDS Checks'

UFC 1 probably featured athletes who were on Performance-Enhancing Drugs! While going down memory lane in The SportsRush exclusive with Art Davie, several wild concepts of the early UFC were being discussed. At one point during the interview, the host curiously asked Davie whether there were any checks to determine whether the fighters were on PEDs. In a surprising revelation, the Creator of the UFC said that there were none! 

Reflecting on the protocol that was being followed, Art Davie stated that the only thing that the athletes had to testify for was AIDS. In his words, “The only thing that I tested for in the beginning was AIDS. I was following a lot of trend in America and even among boxing promoters, to test for AIDS early on. But in all fairness, I never tested for performance-enhancing drugs.”

However, elaborating on the scenario with athletes using PEDs, Davie confessed that he did know about the trend. He stated that by 1997, athletes taking to artificial enhancements significantly infiltrated the MMA and the professional bodybuilding realm. 

Davie also pointed out that some of these athletes also went to the extent of using human growth hormone. In fact, the 76-year-old confirmed that a number of athletes in the UFC also practised the use of PEDs during the first five years of the promotion. However, he also had his reasons on why he refrained from testing the athletes for PEDs. 

UFC Creator Art Davie lays down his reasons for not having drug tests

After conceptualizing the idea of the UFC, Art Davie had a lot of trouble in convincing people about the promotion. Most of them turned down his offers and branded the UFC as illegal. Over the years, things deteriorated to such an extent that the politicians got involved and Davie was on the verge of getting arrested. 

Thus, he pointed out that after watching the fiasco bodybuilding had regarding the drug issue, Davie and his team could not afford to have any more hazards in the five years on top of the ones they were already burdened with. However, Davie also pointed out that the use of PEDs has become an international issue and the testing has become mandatory, while back in the days, one could get away without the testing. 

Post Edited By:Debmallya Chakraborty

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Debmallya Chakraborty

Debmallya Chakraborty


Debmallya Chakraborty, the UFC Lead editor and a senior journalist at The SportsRush, is a seasoned connoisseur of the UFC landscape since 2015, and has seamlessly transitioned from an enthusiastic observer to a distinguished sports journalist with a dedicated focus on mixed martial arts. Over the past two years, he has meticulously curated and refined more than 4000 articles, delivering compelling news and insightful analyses to the discerning audience of UFC aficionados. His commitment to providing a nuanced perspective and staying abreast of the latest developments has firmly established Debmallya as a respected authority in the dynamic realm of UFC journalism. Beyond the fast-paced world of the octagon, his interests extend to the refined sport of cricket, where he actively engages with the game, gracing the cricket grounds with a passionate pursuit of sporting excellence. In the intersection of these two sporting worlds, Debmallya endeavors to bridge the gap between raw athleticism and strategic finesse, offering a unique blend of expertise that caters to the diverse spectrum of sports enthusiasts.

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