Performing Enhancing Drugs…..
It is an ongoing problem in every major sport. American football, baseball, boxing, swimming, and of course, mixed martial arts. The latest bust just came from the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) releasing names of four fighters failing their drug tests on the Bellator 127 card. The rules are so wide, it is something that needs to become more specific. Two of the four fighters failed due to elevated testosterone levels.
Many fighters and trainers have defended the use of PEDs to help from the vigorous training and the sacrifice these athletes put on their bodies. On the other side of the coin, that is a risk you take going into this game, preparation and healing of the mind and body. The elevated levels are still an unfair advantage if one fighter is using them and the other isn’t, plain and simple.
Three of the four fighters that failed their drug test on this same Bellator 127 card also tested positive for marijuana. I do not partake in the use of cannabis, but I need to ask this: REALLY? ATHLETIC COMMISSIONS? REALLY?! The only thing I could see the use of marijuana affecting in a fighter is calming their nerves, mellowing them out and making them hungry, which might not be the best symptoms going into a sport where adrenaline is clutch and making weight is important.
The state of MMA and drug use is a giant cluster f***. Plain and simple. There needs to be a nation-wide regulation with all MMA promoters and athletic commissions. This is the part where I leave my opinion on a few possible ways to fix it, and you could agree or disagree:
1.) Ban the use of testosterone elevators. Yes, they are important to help those with low testosterone levels. This abuse however plays a big impact on physical performance enhancing physical abilities in the competitor using them.
2.) First time offense results in a 12 month suspension, license revoked, and a substantial fine. License can be returned upon successful blood and urine tests.
3.) In addition to the suspension and revoking of license, a 12 month probation period upon return also required, where random testing could occur quarterly.
4.) Second time offense results in a lifetime ban. No questions asked. You want to fix this problem, you need to deliver a harsh and swift punishment.
5.) Permit the use of cannabis if there is medical clearance and legal in that state, this is just silly. I remember Nick Diaz’s win over Takanori Gomi in Pride being overturned because of this…I highly doubt blazing up will enhance your gogoplata capabilities.
6.) Offer extensive training and educational material to fighters, camps, promoters (all involved in the sport) on these specific rules so everyone is on the same page. There is nothing worse than the “BUT I WASN’T TOOOLD” excuse. A thorough explanation and legal contract with signature understanding these rules by the professional athlete would assure everyone is on the same page.
Fighters like Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy (and more in this group) have voiced their concerns in the use of PEDs in MMA, especially since they have fought the most opponents on PEDs. Other fighters, such as Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen have voiced their opinions on wanting to compete, however, their testosterone levels decline as they age (which is just how the human body works). My opinion on that matter: if this is a problem, perhaps you should listen to your body that the time is nearing the end of your career, or perhaps, create a “masters” division for fighters who are over the age of 40 to compete in.
Regardless of what may occur, something needs to be done in this sport, with the first goal being to place everyone on the same understanding with a universal agreement. This just seems to be the same story over and over again with fighters failing their drug tests, resulting to a no contest result after the fight is completed.