As science offers athletes more options in performance enhancing, the line between legitimate use and exploitation the system has began to blur. With top fighters like Dan Henderson, Frank Mir, and Rampage Jackson taking to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) exemption as possible means to turning back the clock, some of their colleagues have spoken out against the testing of PEDs.
Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren recently took to action, partnering with Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) in hopes of improved testing procedures. During the debacle of UFC 146, heavyweight Roy Nelson publicly spoke out saying “I’ll pay for my opponents to be tested if needed.” The biggest name to join the cause is UFC heavyweight champ, Junior dos Santos, requesting that random blood drug tests be given to all in hopes of cleaning up the sport.
The champ continued on the subject at a recent press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, saying that he made it to the top of the sport without ever using any illegal enhancers and is willing to prove it by subjecting himself to random blood drug tests.
I am champion and never have used anything, and I am proud to say that,” he said. “It is unfair to use substances. With or without authorization, it makes a difference. A fighter who can do this kind of treatment is not himself in the octagon and using tricks to improve [his] performance.”
Ironically dos Santos lost his original UFC 146 opponent Alistair Overeem after a random drug test exposed Overeem with elevated testosterone levels. Overeem’s replacement would be Frank Mir. Shortly after suffering a knockout by JDS, Mir had admitted to the use of TRT prior to the bout. Despite the win, the news did not sit well with the victor.
The fighters speaking out against the use of PEDs in the sport are not alone as UFC president Dana White has acknowledged the problem and has taken steps to educate the fighters on the dangers of PEDs, such as the shortening of the fighters career. White clarifies that it is the State’s Commission that is responsible for testing. Taking further steps according to White may be impossible as the promotion is now up to 375 fighters and growing.