You are watching: Ronda rousey fails drug test
Amid the sweat and toil of preparing to defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title and the organized chaos that comes with being a growing film celebrity there is little time for external distractions, yet there is one break in routine that Rousey always welcomes.
It comes in the form of the regular door-knock from drug testers, a process that most clean athletes regard as an insufferable chore and one that sends those who breach the rules by using banned substances into fits of panic.
Rousey (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), who will fight Holly Holm (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, on Nov. 14, loves it. The 28-year-old sees the testers as not an enemy but a powerful and important part of her image, as a fighter who worked her way to the top with her wits, technique and an obsessive refusal to accept second best.
“Any time they get here I am like ‘What’s up, make yourself at home, do you want to stay and watch training?’ ” Rousey told USA TODAY Sports. “They are here for us, they are not here to come and get us.
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“I encourage it all the time. I am so successful that people are going to cry ‘drugs’ on me. I get in better shape and my body is better than ever. I want those opportunities to (show) I’m clean all the time.”
In April, the UFC hired former federal agent and famed performance-enhancing drugs investigator Jeff Novitzky, who works in conjunction with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to carry out tests on fighters.
In an recent interview with USA TODAY Sports, Novitzky said Rousey thanked him and his crew for testing her after August’s knockout victory over Bethe Correia in Brazil.
Rousey has had a wild mix of experiences with drug testing. She remembers the stringent tests carried out during her time in judo, where she was a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist. As a 14-year-old rising judo star, Rousey says she was asked to drop her underwear, lift her shirt and urinate in the presence of a testing official during a competition.
Early in her MMA career however, things were far different. When she fought Sarah Kaufman in San Diego three years ago, she says she was given a cup and told to “go into a room and come back with something.” That promotion was under the Strikeforce promotional banner, which was then in the process of being moved under the UFC umbrella.
“I know that I am capable of beating anybody regardless of what they are taking,” Rousey said. “But I have to think about the sport as a whole and not just myself and my ego. I want to make sure that if my children decided they wanted to do this it has to be in as safe and regulated an environment as possible.”
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However, Rousey draws a strong distinction between the use of steroids of other performance enhancers, and recreational drugs such as marijuana. She was outraged at the highly controversial and much-maligned treatment received by UFC middleweight fighter Nick Diaz, who was banned for five years by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a third positive marijuana test earlier this year.
“Say you got a parking ticket and you didn’t pay for it and you got another one and didn’t pay for it,” Rousey said. “No matter how many tickets you got you never deserve life in prison. They are pretty much trying to keep him from fighting ever again. I think that punishment is cruel.
“I don’t think they should be testing for weed at all. It has nothing to do with sports. They keep saying it is for the safety of the fighter, so why aren’t they testing us to make sure we are not drunk?”
Diaz’s case is under review, and the 32-year-old fighter revealed this week that he is confident his sentence may be reduced.
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As for Rousey, she will likely get plenty more opportunity to see the testers again. The UFC publishes details of the number of tests its athletes are submitted to and since April, she has given seven test samples, the most of any UFC fighter.