ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto reported UFC "intends to further its anti-doping effort ... by implementing a random, out-of-competition drug-testing program later this year." UFC VP/Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner said that the promotion is "in discussion with 'four to five' independent drug-testing agencies and is hopeful to officially partner with one by the end" of '14. The "end goal is unannounced, year-round blood and urine tests on the UFC's stable of approximately 500 athletes using an independent sample collector." Currently, the "responsibility of drug testing falls to regulatory bodies like state athletic commissions or the UFC itself in various international territories" (ESPN.com, 8/27).
RAISING AWARENESS: In N.Y. Ben Strauss reports a group of soccer parents and players "filed a class-action lawsuit" yesterday against FIFA over its "handling of concussions." Filed in the U.S. District Court in California, the suit also "names American soccer organizations, including U.S. Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization, charging that they and FIFA have been negligent in monitoring and treating head injuries." The plaintiffs "do not seek financial damages but ask for changes to the sport’s rules, such as limiting headers for children and altering FIFA’s substitution protocols" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/28).
STILL A KID'S GAME: In Chicago, Gordon Wittenmeyer notes Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein hopes that the Jackie Robinson West LLWS team's success was "not lost on MLB officials who have spent years debating and brainstorming ways to reverse a generations-long trend of declining interest and participation in the sport among American kids, particularly African-Americans." Epstein said MLB officials "ask the question how we can get young kids playing baseball again, especially in cities, especially in the inner city." Epstein: "There’s nothing that a bunch of suits in a boardroom can do that will be as powerful as what those 12-year-old kids did to demonstrate how compelling the game of baseball can be, to make baseball cool again for young kids" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/28).