UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling has absolutely zero tolerance for any fighter who is caught using steroids, EPO, or any type of performance-enhancing drug while they are active in their fighting career. Although the UFC has cracked down over the last few years since implementing USADA to administer their steroid and PED testing for all fighters, the topic of fighters who have cheated in the past is still a real one.
While he is currently preparing for his long-awaited rematch with interim champion Petr Yan which is finally scheduled to take place at UFC 273 in April, Aljamain Sterling has not backed off his feelings towards former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, who served a two-year suspension for using EPO. Making his return last year and winning a split decision over high-ranked contender Cory Sandhagen, Dillashaw immediately inserted himself into the title picture conversation, and Sterling is having none of it.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour the current champion let it be known that any fighter caught cheating bothers him and suggests any fighter who is caught, should face jail time.
Aljamain Sterling has no tolerance for PEDs in MMA 🚫
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) January 18, 2022
“That s**t bothers me man. It really does bother me. You should do jail time for doing EPO, or steroids, or any type of s**t like that in the UFC, in combat sports in general.” (H/T Clutch Points)
Alajmain Serling would go on to explain the difference in professional fighters getting caught with performance-enhancing drugs like steroids or EPO, and how the consequences are far different than those in the other mainstream professional sports.
“You can literally rearrange someone’s career, their livelihood, doing this contact sport man. This is not like playing basketball, we’re not shooting hoops, we’re not hitting a baseball into the crowd. We’re dealing with lifechanging events when you step into that Octagon. The ones that are stupid will say ‘well no one put a gun to your head and told you to do this.’ What? How is that a logical comeback to justify those actions?”
Suggesting jail time is a pretty harsh punishment for those caught cheating in the UFC, but there is a respectable point Aljamain Sterling makes when noting that the physical damage one can cause while on PEDs is far different than athletes like a basketball, football, or baseball player who have sports that revolve around a ball. With just straight-up human combat inside the Octagon, there could be dire consequences for a fighter who is on the losing end facing a fighter who may be under the use of steroids.
Back in 2015 the UFC and USADA came to an agreement that would begin Olympic-style drug testing for all fighters, and while the rules have changed over the years, the process of finding fighters who are cheating is far more productive than before inception of the program.
Time will tell if Aljamain Sterling will have to face TJ Dillashaw in the future, but for now, he’s got a unification title fight against Petr Yan to prepare for at UFC 273, as he looks to put to rest a rivalry that has been ongoing since they first fought last March.