Performance Enhancing Drug testing has always been a hot topic for MMA in Japan. Where individual combat sports such as Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, Karate and so on all have governing bodies that implement PED testing, MMA has no such authority.
As a result, JMMA has been slow to introduce PED testing. One major issue that constantly rises to the surface is the obvious conflict of interest when an individual org oversees their own athletes. The general consensus being that, in order to satisfy fans and media alike, an impartial 3rd party must be involved.
In this regard Pancrase is a step ahead of the competition. In July 2019 the legendary promotion implemented stringent PED testing using an impartial U.S based facility. Well established and respected, the “Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory” is WADA accredited and has an excellent track record.
Considering the logistics and costs involved, Pancrase currently cannot test every fighter on their card. Concluding that that title matches should take president over other bouts, the org targets every fighter vying for a belt. To date 22 fighters have had samples collected, with all coming back negative for prohibited substances and their metabolites. Expect testing to be ramped up as the program gathers momentum.
With Pancrase ushering in WADA level testing, the onus is firmly on other orgs to follow suit. Will we see a roll out of stringent PED checks across the board for JMMA in the future?