On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Dr. Margaret Goodman, the president and board chairman of VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (http://vada-testing.org).
In recent months, more and more combat sport athletes have been signing up for VADA's voluntary program of random and unannounced blood and urine testing for performance-enhancing and banned substances, using state-of-the-art technology.
Nonito Donaire, who successfully defended his WBO super bantamweight title with a ninth-round TKO over Toshiaki Nishioka on October 13, and is one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world, is undergoing year-round testing by VADA, in and out of competition.
In MMA, Rosi Sexton and Sheila Gaff, who meet October 27 at Cage Warriors 49 in Cardiff, Wales, for the Cage Warriors women's flyweight title, are being tested by VADA. B.J. Penn and Rory MacDonald, who fight on a UFC card on December 8, will participate in the VADA program. Bellator welterweight champion and 2008 Olympic freestyle wrestler Ben Askren has agreed to be part of the VADA program as well, and is awaiting the date of his next fight. Other fighters have also inquired about the VADA program and may sign up shortly.
We spoke with Dr. Margaret Goodman by phone Tuesday afternoon about the strides VADA has been making.
"There are plenty of athletes like Nonito [Donaire], like Rosi Sexton, like B.J. Penn and Rory MacDonald, that want to stand up for clean sport and want to demonstrate that, and this is a way they can do it," she said in this interview. Part of the importance of the VADA program is for athletes to set an example for "the young people out there that are coming up in sport," she added. And she emphasized that essentially this is an athlete saying "'the buck stops with me. I'm going to do something to protect myself and to stand up for something myself.' So that's the whole point of all of this. I think sometimes that gets lost in the shuffle, the purpose."
We also discussed new research studying the relationship between the risk factors for the brain disease CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and the use of performance-enhancing drugs, some of the recent controversies involving VADA, and much more.
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