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Hendricks & GSP: MMA’s Latest PED Testing Confusion

Hendricks & GSP: MMA’s Latest PED Testing Confusion

So fans, have you heard? There’s another performance enhancing drugs controversy brewing.

Yep, another one.

We hear one thing from one fighter, in this case, the UFC Welterweight champion. Then we hear another thing from another fighter, in this case, Johny Hendricks, who is to challenge St-Pierre in November. But wait, there’s something to be added from the athletic commission, in this case, the Nevada State Athletic Commission. That’s it? No, no, now there’s an independent anti-drug agency to be heard as well, in this case, VADA.

It’s easy to get confused. Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, is quoted as saying, “whatever, dude” in regards to a statement from Rodolphe Beaulieu, St-Pierre’s attorney. They’re arguing about enhanced testing from the NSAC. Hendricks says “he’s been thrown under the bus,” and that VADA has some allegiance to St-Pierre – because, well, because he’s pictured on their website.

Yep, it’s easy to get confused. But it’s hard to be surprised. We’ve been through this before, with different circumstances involving everyone from Manny Pacquiao to Shane Carwin.

It started out right. St-Pierre asked to arrange stronger drug testing for the bout, something many of us would like to see. Hendricks sounded more than happy to oblige.

“Heck ya!” Hendricks said earlier this year, when asked about undergoing increased drug testing for his bout with St-Pierre. “The worst thing that they’re going to find is a little bit of protein in my diet. If eating wild hogs and organic deer meat and a little bit of glutamine is bad for the ol’ system then I might fail… It doesn’t matter. Today, tomorrow, three months from now, I’ll gladly take a test for anything.”

But this week it was revealed that Hendriks must have changed his mind – because he hadn’t filled out the paperwork to begin random testing with VADA.

Or did he? Hendricks says the testing he agreed to was with WADA, who oversees drug testing for the Olympic Games. He and his management question VADA’s impartiality.

“I don’t know GSP and for him to say ‘yeah, let’s go take the test over here and nowhere else that I suggested or that even the UFC suggested,’ that’s a little suspect to me,” Hendricks told MMA Fighting. “My career is held in his hands and here he has a foot in the door with the VADA group.”

“Then all of a sudden a week later after the conference call, I didn’t know GSP was going to be doing a drug test, then it comes out that ‘Johny denied it,'” he said. “I said hey, you didn’t even tell me you were going to do VADA. The last I heard from my management and the UFC was WADA. Then GSP just went and did VADA on his own and threw me under the bus to clear his name.”

GSP has agreed to pay for both fighters to test, according to his management. St-Pierre trainer Firas Zahibi has said he will do both WADA and VADA testing in a recent exchange on twitter.

Round and round we go.

Until commissions that authorize fights agree to hold athletes to a higher standard, we’ll keep running in these circles. The promotions won’t push the matter unless fans demand it. It shouldn’t just be up to athletes to demand other athletes test clean. Until we as fans ask for better restrictions on PED’s, this is what we’re stuck with.

Until then, it’s another case of, as Kizer puts it, “whatever, dude.”

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