For the first time in its short history, Invicta Fighting Championships is set to implement random drug testing for the upcoming Invicta FC 5 event on April 5th in Kansas City, Missouri. Testing will be conducted by an independent anti-doping agency in conjunction with the Missouri Office of Athletics.
Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp told MMARising.com on Sunday night that the testing will be used to provide a level playing field for each athlete. Invicta FC 5 competitors were informed of the new policy in late January. Fighters will be tested on a randomly selected basis prior to each event.
While the news of Invicta FC drug testing comes just days after the promotion signed former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, plans for the testing predate Santos’s signing. Santos has not fought since December 17, 2011 when she retained her Strikeforce title by stopping Hiroko “Cat’s Eye” Yamanaka in just 16 seconds.
The result of the fight was overturned to a No Decision when Santos tested positive for a stanozolol metabolite and she was suspended for one year by the California State Athletic Commission.
“The athletes will be tested, and this is not just a Cris Cyborg testing,” Knapp told MMARising.com. “We have been in the process of implementing [testing] since before she came on board. The bottom line is that I am all about fairness for the athletes. If I test one, I will test others, and certainly I will never test one [fighter] in a bout and not the other. We want to promote healthy female athletes.”
In late January, Invicta FC officials informed all competitors on the April 5th card that random drug testing would be implemented for the upcoming event. Knapp states that fighters will most likely be tested on the night prior to the event, in the hours following the official weigh-ins. Specific details of the testing will be confirmed once the promotion has determined which agency it will partner with for the tests.
According to Knapp, Invicta FC will cover the costs of the drug testing because the new policy is elective and is not mandatory with the athletic commission. Not all fighters on each card will be tested, but main card and title fight competitors will be more likely to be selected. To remain as fair as possible, fighters will not be told in advance whether they will or will not be chosen for testing.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Knapp says. “There is a growing [PED] issue and a growing concern on my part with what is happening in the sport. I think that female athletes should be no different [from men] and I think that they should have to show that they are competing clean as well. I don’t think that steroid abuse is gender biased at all.”
The newly-installed drug testing policy will apply to all upcoming Invicta FC events, beginning with the 15-fight Invicta FC 5 card on April 5th. The event takes place at the Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, and the promotion will likely stage at least two more events before the end of 2013.