A budget crunch has left the Nevada State Athletic Commission unable to employ one of the most significant deterrents to the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional competition.
Two years after the influential regulatory body announced it would conduct out-of-competition drug testing, legislators completely withdrew funding for the program.
The NSAC will soon decide whether to press legislators on a proposal to reinstate testing, possibly by diverting funds within the commission's budget.
"What we're trying to do is find alternative sources of revenue," NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The NSAC began out-of-competition in the summer of 2008 after successfully petitioning the legislature to set aside money from the state's general fund. The commission received $18,000 for the 2008-2009 fiscal year (July 2008 to June 2009) and conducted between 40 and 50 tests, according to Kizer.
UFC 84 main-event fighters B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk, as well as co-main event fighters Lyoto Machida and Tito Ortiz, were among the first to be tested in the new program. Machida and Rashad Evans were the last MMA headliners to be tested out of competition at UFC 98. None of the out-of-competition tests came back positive for performance enhancers or drugs of abuse.
With state governments around the country tightening their belts amid a widening recession, the NSAC's budget for out-of-competition testing was reduced to $12,000 in fiscal year 2009-2010. Regulators then asked the commission to give back all of the money before the year's end, Kizer said.