NSAC slams ‘wild, wild west of drug issues’ in PFL, Power Slap – ‘Clean this up, quickly’

Is USADA testing on the horizon for PFL and Power Slap?

By: Trent Reinsmith | 2 weeks ago
NSAC slams ‘wild, wild west of drug issues’ in PFL, Power Slap – ‘Clean this up, quickly’
Copyright: Louis Grasse

On Wednesday, May 17, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) held its monthly meeting. During the session, the NSAC addressed many drug test failures, most of which stemmed from three Professional Fighters League (PFL) cards and two Power Slap events the NSAC oversaw. After handing down several suspensions for the PFL and Power Slap, and extending some temporary PFL suspensions, NSAC chairman Anthony Marnell sent a message to not only the promoters currently operating in Nevada but those who hope to be licensed by the NSAC. That message was they need to clean up their houses from within.

Wild Wild West

“This (the number of drug test failures) reminds me of the early days of the wild, wild west of drug issues. I haven’t seen this kind of proliferation for quite some time.” Marnell said before addressing the growth of slap fighting and his worries that the NSAC is seeing “a lot of emerging, unknown athletes that are coming out of the woodwork… Any time something like this starts to have real money in it, which it is going to have real money in it, more than we can probably imagine, people will come out of the woodwork everywhere to try to get their share of the one-night gig, and we saw that days in the early UFC.”


From there, Marnell seemed to focus on UFC president Dana White, without naming White, and his involvement with Power Slap. It seemed as if Marnell has some hope that the UFC’s involvement with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will lead to Power Slap doing some type of drug testing on its own.

“I think that in dialogues with one promoter, they’re on it. They’re out in front of it. They’re seeing it, and they know exactly what to do about it because of the ins and out of testing program that they have and as extensive as it is.

“I’ve encouraged them, and I think they’ve agreed that they need to clean this up quickly. And clean it up before it gets to our oversight.”


Marnell then focused on the PFL.

“We’re going to have to take a really hard look at a PFL, even allowing them to get on our docket until they’ve shown that these fighters are clean, because this is a waste of time, state resources, as it’s degrading to the sport, and we had this thing really cleaned up, and now all of a sudden in the last two meetings, I’ve heard more drug cases than I’ve heard in two years,” Marnell said. “It’s disappointing because that’s not where we were going.

“It’s not what the programs were designed to do, and we’re catching them, but they’re out of town, they’ve made their money, they could care less about the win-loss record, and they have to pay $1,200 if they ever want to come back here again, and half of those we never see that money anyway, they’re gone. This is not a good look for Nevada or for these promoters.”

NSAC communication

Marnell then encouraged NSAC executive director Jeffrey Mullen to open the lines of communication with promoters like the PFL who want to stage fight cards in Nevada.

“We need to know before we bring these people into our jurisdiction where they’re at. And if it gets to be too bad, then I’m going to recommend that we have an extensive amount of testing prior to these fights. So we’re not putting on three days of fights where 30 percent or 40 percent of the fighters are positive.”

Marnell then pointed out that in the “old days” of the NSAC, what some of these fighters tested positive for would have landed them suspensions of “four or five years, right off the bat.”

For their part, PFL told MMA Fighting that it is “engaged with USADA on the implementation of its athlete anti-doping program.”

Bloody Elbow reached out to the Power Slap and the UFC to see if Power Slap has been in contact with USADA to oversee a drug testing program for Power Slap. The promotion did not respond before publication.

Share this story

About the author
Trent Reinsmith
Trent Reinsmith

Trent Reinsmith is a freelance writer based out of Baltimore, MD. He has been covering sports for more than 15 years, with a focus on MMA for most of that time. Trent focuses on the day-to-day business of MMA — both inside and outside the cage — for Bloody Elbow.

More from the author

Recent Stories