The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) tests that BJ Penn and Rory MacDonald have agreed to undergo will cost between $5,000 and $10,000. But the two fighters will not have to pay this cost because VADA has agreed to ‘sponsor’ their fight and waive the testing fee, Fighters Only has learned.
In fact the organisation says it is “trying to sponsor as many fighters as possible that wish to participate”, although there are no indications that any other fighters have approached VADA to request testing in the manner that Penn has.
“The costs are for the actual tests and the doping collection officers who travel to the fighters' locations. There are no additional administrative costs. I don't have an exact number, but the costs could run between $5-10,000 per athlete,” a VADA spokesperson says.
“If there were large numbers of athletes it would be much, much less - perhaps half that, if not considerably less. This includes blood and urine. VADA is a ‘501 c3’ charitable organization. So a fighter or his representatives could donate and consider it a charitable donation, or they could use it as a tax-deductible training expense.”
VADA became involved with the Penn-MacDonald fight after the former lightweight champion requested that MacDonald submit himself to voluntary testing alongside Penn. The young Canadian agreed. But last weekend, their UFC 152 meet was cancelled because MacDonald sustained a cut over his eye in sparring.
The two sides have been going back and forth over rescheduling - Penn wanted UFC 153, MacDonald wanted UFC 154 in his home city of Montreal. Now the fight has been moved to a December event - UFC on FOX 5 - in neutral territory.
However the agreement to undergo voluntary testing still stands. Fighters Only texted MacDonald’s coach Firas Zahabi today and received confirmation that both sides are still committed to the process. Zahabi says MacDonald will silence any doubters when he tests clean and has no problem with undergoing any and all VADA tests.