I haven’t been a fighter for as long as a good portion of the UFC roster, but I do have a few years under my belt, and the thing that’s really bothering me is how many cheats are being ousted with USADA’s enhanced testing. When you have a machine as well-oiled as they are, and the prime directive is to catch cheaters, why risk your career to get a leg up on me? Never mind the complete disregard for my health.
People getting caught by USADA is no surprise to me. I’ve trained with guys who have been on the special vitamins, and when they weren’t on them, the difference was apparent. If anyone ever tells you that PEDS don’t make a difference, that just shows their ignorance, and would indicate that they’ve not trained at a high level. They’re called performance enhancers for a reason.
I’m 100% pro-USADA and I’m so happy they’re taking all these measures to keep fighters safe. That’s the most important thing to me. Their efforts to catch cheaters are to keep athletes safe. A “level playing field” is great and all, but to me, it’s just a byproduct of a more important factor—safety.
All these fighters make up every excuse under the sun as to why they fail these tests. You know, I respect Chad Mendes’ initial comment when they first released the news of his violation. He got out in front of it with zero excuses and just owned up to his mistake. He took it on the chin without complaint.
I can respect that over some of these other guys. It’s just really bizarre that as a professional athlete, you don’t question what you’re putting in your body when you know what USADA’s rules are and knowing that Jeff Novitsky is just a phone call away. You can call or email that guy and he’ll almost certainly get back to you in the same day. I know, because I’ve actually done it before.
There’s just no excuse for it. Then, you look at these guys that are making money hand over fist, and they’re supposed to carry these cards that net PPV buys and viewership. If they’re not around for the next two years, how many people does that leave to headline cards that people will actually buy? Nobody knows when or if Ronda is coming back. You can’t put McGregor on every card. Dana says GSP is done and never coming back. Who’s left to really put those asses in seats? Those eyeballs on the tube?
It’s irresponsible at the very least, and it jeopardizes everyone’s livelihood in more ways than just the safety aspect. I agree with the Diaz brothers, and I know it’s a cliché, but it’s kind of true. Nearly everybody is on something. People call me crazy, and they can say that all they want, but I’m the one who’s actually on the inside of the sport, and I got my word of mouth information directly from other fighters. I’ve heard from reliable people how bad it is. I’ve seen it myself on a couple occasions.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and if I were to give a conservative estimate, I’d say that 70% or more of the active fighters on the roster are on something. We’re going to see a lot more of these “unstoppable monsters” look pretty human once they get weaned off their candy.
That’s just my thoughts on it. I’m of the mind that USADA is the best thing to happen to the UFC in a long time. In a combat sport where guys are always trying to get the edge—and I get that they need to make a living –But you’re making your living with the inherent risk of your actions jeopardizing the health of your opponents, and I just can’t get with that. It’s wrong, and you know it.