So apparently some dudes tested positive for steroids at UFC73 … specifically Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca. I gotta admit that it’s funny both fighters in the same match tested positive. Since both of them cheated, it kinda evens things out, doesn’t it? Well, not in the eyes of the media … the interwebs have been abuzz with talk of MMA’s “drug problems.”
I have to wonder how big of a deal this situation would be if a certain pro wrestler hadn’t murdered his family a few weeks ago. There’s no doubt in my mind that most of the people clamoring for action are just afraid MMA is going to sink into the same pit wrestling has. There’s been dozens of articles demanding Dana White do something, the two most notorious being Josh Gross’ and Kevin Iole’s. Josh’s is no big surprise: it reads like a scorned 10th grade boyfriend who just found out his girlfriend gave head to half the football team. Kevin Iole’s on the other hand is about as perfect as perfect can get.
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been pretty hard on Kevin the past few weeks. For the past few months he’s towed the company line and swallowed whatever Dana White has passed his way. But his latest article was a scathing indictment of the UFC and it’s willingness to pass the buck onto the athletic commissions. The article hit the nail on the head and wasn’t overly dramatic. Here’s the best bit:
And while it’s important to note that this is not a UFC problem, as the largest and most powerful entity in the sport, the burden falls squarely on the UFC to find a solution.
The first step in that solution has to be random drug testing not only after a fight but also at any point a fighter is under contract to the UFC. If a fighter won’t sign a waiver and agree to random testing, then he doesn’t fight for the UFC. Period.
Steroids users who know they’re being tested cycle on and off in order to maximize the benefits and avoid detection, which is why the true percentage of users in MMA is undoubtedly much higher than is known.
And while fans may debate the impact of a baseball player using steroids, the simple fact is this: In the fight game, a fighter’s body is a weapon. And if he is able to artificially enhance that weapon through the use of illegal drugs, he has the potential to seriously harm an opponent.
There’s no easy solution to this whole steroid thing … there’s a reason so many other sports haven’t been able to deal with it effectively. How many high profile guys would get caught if the UFC sent someone around to test all it’s fighters right now? For sure the ramifications would be massive and all the weight classes in the UFC would be turned on their heads. On the other hand, what happens if the UFC just keeps it’s head down and does nothing? Sure, there’ll continue to be a slow burn of fighters who get nabbed at every event, but it’s better for them over the next year or two than the first scenario.