The Ultimate Fighting Championship is the largest Mixed Martial Arts organization on the planet after recently buying out their top competitor, PRIDE. Originally begun in the mid 1990s as a way to showcase martial artists of different disciplines facing each other, the sport has evolved into weight classes and extra rules so that it could be accepted by the mainstream. The fighters have evolved as well. It is rare to have a fighter practice only one discipline. The fighters that win are usually well rounded in all facets of fighting. The current president of the UFC is Dana White.
On July 9, 2016, the UFC announced that it would be sold to a group led by WME-IMG, its owner Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital, for $4 billion. Flash Entertainment (owned by the government of Abu Dhabi) will retain its 10% minority stake in the company, and White will also retain a stake.
Performance enhancing drugs
The UFC is subject to the worldwide regulation of athletes to regulate the use of performance-enhancing drugs. UFC athletes are tested for illegal drug use by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which in turn is regulated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The UFC Anti-Doping Program began July 1, 2015. Prior to WADA regulation, there was a widespread use of drugs by UFC athletes. The first three months of the program focused upon educating UFC athletes about what drugs are prohibited by WADA. Since then, a number of prominent UFC athletes have tested positive for illegal drug use, including: Brock Lesnar, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (suspended for two years), Janigleison Herculano Alves aka Gleison Tibau (suspended for two years), and Diego Brandao (suspended for nine months). Matheus Nicolau Pereira accepted a one-year suspension from USADA for a positive drug test.
Some of the drug suspensions did not arise from attempts to enhance performance. For example, Chad Mendes was suspended for two years when a cream he used to treat plaque psoriasis contained an ingredient that was a banned substance.
|Division||Champion||Last Title Defense|
|Heavyweight||Brock Lesnar||TKO Frank Mir|
|Light Heavyweight||Mauricio Rua "Shogun"||KO Lyoto Machida|
|Middleweight||Anderson Silva||Damian Maia by unanimous decision|
|Welterweight||Georges St. Pierre||Def. Dan Hardy by unanimous decision|
|Lightweight||Frankie Edgar||BJ Penn by unanimous decision|
- U.F.C. Sells Itself for $4 Billion. Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- Dana White on $4 billion UFC sale: 'Sport is going to the next level'. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- USADA Reports First Round of Athlete Test History for UFC Anti-Doping Program (October 1, 2015). Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- Brock Lesnar also failed in-competition drug test at UFC 200 (July 19, 2016). Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- UFC Athlete, Mirko Filipovic Receives Sanction for Anti-Doping Policy Violations (November 25, 2015). Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- UFC Athlete, Gleison Tibau Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Policy Violation (February 18, 2016). Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- UFC Athlete, Brandao, Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation (May 19, 2016). Retrieved on July 19, 2016.
- "UFC Flyweight Matheus Nicolau Accepts 1-Year Suspension for Anti-Doping Violation", March 29, 2017. Retrieved on June 3, 2017.
- Chad Mendes Blames Failed USADA Drug Test on Psoriasis Treatment Cream (July 28, 2016). Retrieved on July 29, 2016.