It’s possible that state and provincial athletic commissions are not the crack doping sleuths we want them to be. In a sport that welcomed Alistair Overeem’s progression through the stages of Altered Beast, a growing number of fighters have harnessed the power of shame to combat the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Last week, Georges St-Pierre challenged Carlos Condit to submit to additional, voluntary drug testing ahead of their title bout at UFC 154. Quote:
“You can’t be against virtue. If you have nothing to hide, there is nothing wrong with doing additional testing—such as VADA, Olympic-type testing, et cetera. I don’t condemn the athletic commissions, but you can’t be against additional testing. If Carlos wants to do it, I am more than willing to go with VADA.”
Condit’s camp didn’t just agree; they did GSP one better by suggesting both fighters submit to testing by the US Anti-Doping Agency—last seen making Lance Armstrong admit that he is an effing liar. The welterweight and interim welterweight champions have yet to agree on which agency they will use, with Condit’s management opining that VADA has “certain relationships that would throw up red flags from our end.”
It’s a sweet move, in that it gives Condit the upper hand in the pre-fight fight for moral authority. VADA is one thing, but the USADA has proven itself even harder to beat than testicular cancer. More importantly, though, this public exchange of volunteer transparency casts a shadow on other fighters.
If independent testing is something these two top-flight UFC talents can agree on, how come other fighters can’t? It’s a neat end-run around a system of athletic commissions that is as entrenched as it is incomplete.
Perception has proven itself as important as official sanction in the controversy over PEDs in MMA. The notion that every fighter is on something has fueled both moral outrage and the cynical position that we can’t do anything about it. By arranging for their own, more accurate drug tests, GSP and Condit have turned that excuse into an accusation. Maybe by this time next year, MMA will be about old-fashioned guts, determination and TRT.
(For the entire month of September we welcome Dan Brooks from CombatBlog to Fightlinker as part of our brand spankin new guest blogger program.)