The problem with steroids transcends all the back and forth, all the ‘he said she said nonsense’ and cuts right to the heart of the sport of mixed martial arts, whether we like it or not.
When GSP stepped away from the sport after barely keeping his belt in a split decision victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 last November, no one expected he would return to the spot light so quickly by calling out the UFC and fellow competitors within the sport for the lack of accountability that has allowed steroid use to morph in to legal variations of the illegal substance known as testosterone replacement therapy.
Dana White has done all he can to preserve the sport and build it in to the purest form of competition in combat sports history since, well since forever at this point. He’s been able to create and maintain a viable system of contenders and cultivate true champions who stand on top of their divisions, as long as they can continue to defend the belt against the next best guy. Yet he hasn’t addressed one glaring issue yet.
At some point in the dark of night, an impostor crept in to the souls of contenders and former champions to compromise there integrity and dilute the one thing they all fight to hold one day, and that’s the UFC championship belt.
Sure the problem of steroid use started in the Olympics by the Germans years ago and it was inevitably going to become a problem in the sport of mixed martial arts and the UFC. But the UFC and Dana in particular have made a living off changing the game and correcting the mistakes made by boxing and other sporting promotions.
Right now we need Dana to put his foot down on steroid use. That includes TRT use. More fighters like Antonio Silva, Alistair Overeem, and Stephen Bonnar need to lose fight bonuses and Octagon time for using steroids.
Frankly put, we as fans may have to miss out on some great matchups over the next few years to insure steroids become taboo to the point where fighters spend their entire careers without having used PED’s. Unfortunately the reason GSP is mad is because he’s been fighting drug free his entire career against fighters who have been on steroids in the past, currently using, or cycling off and on occasionally.
Or at least he claims as much. If steroids are the equivalent to a random mugger creeping around the streets of a big city, fans have become accustomed to cheering for their favorite fighters while constantly jumping at their own shadow in anticipation of foul play.
Longtime UFC heavyweight contender in Roy Nelson has shared openly with the media about the undeniable wide spread use of steroids in the sport. He’s just accepted it at this point and champions his decision to never cheat and always compete with a clean system.
It’s aggravating as hell when new lists of names surface every once in a while, revealing more false heroes of our generation who at some point chose to plagiarize genetic excellence. When Shane Carwin fought his way to the top and almost became the first man to dethrone Brock Lesnar, it was completely disheartening to find out along with the general public that he had purchased PED’s at some point.
Cris “Cyborg” Santos spent the majority of her career clobbering her opponents with superior physicality and an unmatched penchant for toppling each and every opponent who stepped in front of her. All her accomplishments have been completely put in to question when she was busted for steroids in her body after she defended her 145lb Strikeforce title for the final time.
What’s even worse was the excuse she used. Instead of admitting she took PED’s, she used the time old lie that has been passed down for generations in the steroid community across all sporting platforms. “I didn’t know what I was taking, I apologize for the mistake and will check the ingredients of my supplements in the future.” One variation of this quote or another has been used to mask lies with more lies since I’ve been following sports at least.
The solution is simple at this point. Since fighters won’t stop using steroids, they should be dealt with in the same way Paul “Semtex” Daley was when he sucker punched Josh Koscheck at UFC 113 in 2010. Kick them out of the sport for good.
Obviously suspending them in the way Chael Sonnen was after he lost his first title shot against Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in 2010 didn’t work. Do you think fighters looked negatively at the situation when Sonnen came back after a year and has been headlining every major fight card and Ultimate Fighter show since then? Probably not.
It’s easy for me to say that of course. What do I have invested in the sport; not nearly as much as Dana White and the Fertitta brothers. But I’m frustrated and tired of all the back and forth. Who cares about GSP’s statements and Dana’s? Who cares about Antonio Silva blaming his doctor on the spike in testosterone use before his fight? Who cares about Vitor Belfort’s new look and all the moments he’s credited Jesus for his rebirth in the sport while using steroids the whole time?
I sure as hell don’t care anymore. I don’t want to see fighters I respect using drugs to win fights. The drama is so unnecessary at this point. Just read about Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, or the entire sport of Major League Baseball.
A zero tolerance stance on steroid use must be implemented or UFC belts might as well be melted down and mixed with cracker crumbs before being set to mold. Dana is smart and I’m sure he’s been taking all this in. He’s ignored questions about TRT and PED’s in the past, while speaking out against those that abuse the rules of TRT regulations as well.
As the one with the most responsibility in the sport at this point, all of us need him to come up with a plan to erase steroid use from the upper echelons of the sport. Suspensions and revoking win bonuses is clearly not working. But where this isn’t Dana’s fault, it’s his responsibility to make the right decisions or accept the sport he built to be mired in controversy well after he leaves it in the hands of the next generation, missing out on finishing the job he started, which was to do this thing right, regardless of the money or the haters.