PFL’s rough start to the regular 2023 season
UFC competitor the Professional Fighters League (PFL) had some serious issues at the start of its 2023 season this past April. Two of three events were marred after ten fighters, including ex-PFL champions Rob Wilkinson and Bruno Cappelozza were suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) due to positive drug tests.
That led to a complete shift in the season, as the PFL needed to shuffle its next events to set up fights with new names to fill in for those who were suspended. Though the rest of the season was salvaged, its start left a sour taste in a lot of mouths, such as ex-UFC champion turned PFL analyst Randy Couture.
UFC vet Randy Couture has interesting theory on drug test failures
Randy Couture was once a top UFC star. He and Dana White had as good a relationship as the UFC boss had with virtually any fighter. But things went south between the fighter and the promoter a long, long time ago.
Couture’s reaction to the recent spate of unfavorable PFL drug test results in Nevada reflects the suspicion caused by decades of bad relations with the UFC boss.
“Those shows, the three shows we did here in Vegas were great shows,” said Couture during a PFL media appearance (video provided by MMA Mania). “There were some great fights on those shows, very exciting. I thought the season was off and running. Obviously, to have the tests go the way they did, that certainly didn’t sit well. Something stunk to me, and that’s just my opinion.
“How many seasons have we done now and not had a single positive test,” continued Couture. “And then we come to Vegas for three shows and we have 10? Something’s not quite right there, in my opinion. But who knows. And Dana’s comment about that was telling in my mind, too. ‘Oh, I bet they don’t come back to Vegas’. So who knows, but yeah. It’s unfortunate. Obviously we pivoted, we plugged in some holes. Its been an a amazing season.”
What exactly did Dana White say that had Couture questioning his potential involvement in the failed drug tests? Here is the full quote:
“It’s a tough position to be in with their format,” said Dana White at the UFC Vegas 74 post-fight press conference (video provided by MMA Fighting). “Like I said to you guys last time, I have no beef with the PFL, these guys have always been very professional. I don’t even know anybody over there, let alone dislike anybody over there. They’re in a tough spot, but that’s the business, this is the business that we’re in.
“Especially when you’re just starting out, I know they’ve been around for a minute, but they’re still a young company,” continued White. “It’s like what just happened to me with Power Slap. Until you can get serious drug testing in the house, you’re gonna have problems, and it’s in your benefit to do it. I bet they don’t go running back to Vegas anytime soon, that’s for sure.”
Why would Dana White care about what PFL has going on?
One certainly can’t blame Randy Couture for raising an eyebrow about Dana White’s remarks, but at the same time sometimes smoke doesn’t necessarily mean fire. For one thing, the UFC’s feud with USADA certainly makes one question the amount of control Dana has over drug testing in his own organization much less his ability to influence drug test results of PFL athletes.
But given the long and ugly history between Dana White and Randy Couture, one certainly can’t blame Randy for being suspicious.
Dana did once say “The only time Randy Couture is ever a man is when he stepped foot in that cage” and that was over some dispute about Couture working with Bellator back in 2013.
Ironically, the PFL has just begun working with USADA in July of this year. Just as the UFC and the USADA finalized a very very ugly split.
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