We're getting closer.
UFC 172's title fight featuring light heavyweight champion Jon Jones against Glover Teixeira was gaining more notoriety last week because of the efforts made by the Maryland State Athletic Commission to make sure we're getting an even scrap.
There were sighs of relief when testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) was banned, starting with the Nevada State Athletic Comission (NSAC), even though there had to be some rearranging to do in the middleweight division -- which didn't end too well for one particular case.
Then came another improvement courtesy of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs (PED) from the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).
UFC boss Dana White announced to the media earlier this week that his company would be stepping up to improve the situation, by randomly testing every single fighter on the card in the midst of preparing for their contests (transcribed by MMA Fighting):
"As far as testing, what we used to do is we used to roll into town and the title fight always got tested, and there was random testing. We're testing the whole card now. The whole card is getting tested. Everyone is getting tested."
UFC serves as its own governing body in locations, like Abu Dhabi, that do not have a regulatory commission.
Previously, only title fights and certain players on the main card would have to endure the needle and cup process, so the promotion is off to a good start in terms of cleaning up the sport.
It's hard to imagine so many drug test failures in the past were based on whether or not respective athletic commissions would test fighter A or B if they needed to. Now that this new procedure is implemented, including random testing during fight camps as well as days ahead of one fighter's bout, this is a huge improvement.
It does remain to be seen if there are lesser combatants testing positive, or if a flood of negative tests come rushing in unexpectedly.
The head honcho remains positive about the new structure:
"Obviously, doing away with performance-enhancing drugs not only helps us run our business, but it also helps the fighters. If you can make sure you take a hard enough stance and you can keep these young, talented kids off these drugs, their careers are going to last longer. Once all the kids realize there is a level playing field, you have these guys paranoid, ‘I know this guy is using, I know he is, I have to fight this guy and he's on it, so maybe I should do it too' once we can eliminate all that it's going to make the sport a lot better for everybody, them and us."
For quite some time, former UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre has been voicing his true feelings about the sport's lack of drug testing, which was printed on every website covering the sport (he's not alone, either). "Rush" proclaimed he wouldn't even come back to compete unless the situation becomes resolved.
We're not there yet, but at least we're headed in the right direction.