Tito Ortiz. His name is almost synonymous with the UFC. The longest running UFC fighter has been called a lot of things; a trash-talker, an excuse maker, a disrespectful champ, but he has never been labeled a cheater. Oritz’s long history with back injuries is almost as long and bad as his history with UFC president Dana White. Throughout all his adversary, the current longest running light heavyweight champ feels he is proud to have always been a ‘natural’ athlete and stands strongly against the use of performance enhancing drugs such as testosterone replacement therapy .
“You know I don’t know much about it at all. I have been fighting for 15 years and there have been trainers that tried to push that on me and I’ve said that if I have to do that kind of stuff, I am done with the sport, I won’t compete anymore because I want to be a natural athlete. And I have – for fifteen years I’ve competed and taken my drug tests, random drug tests, and passed everything because I am a true athlete. A lot of these guys are taking these supplements to make themselves more impressive or whatever, to become the fighters they want to be. That’s their choice – my recommendation is don’t do it. If it’s against the law or against the sport, don’t do it and if you do have to do it, don’t fight anymore. That’s just my take on it… I will leave it there, I won’t go into it any further.”
Kenny Florian is another fighter that has recently suffered severe back issues and yet has never been known for using PED’s to help repair himself. The former multi-divisional standout is in semi-retirement and may never be able to fight again. During his duties as a ‘UFC Ultimate Insider’ analyst, Florian touched on his thoughts of PED use, stemming from Alistair Overeem’s negative test.
“As a clean fighter, the whole issue of performance enhancing drugs (PED) in MMA really pisses me off. This sport is about honor, technique and discipline. When did it become about who uses the better PED’s and who can pass the test better than the other guy? PED’s allow you to train harder, longer and recover faster. It absolutely gives a user a competitive advantage. This isn’t baseball, where you’re just hitting a ball. This is fighting. You’re hitting other people in the face. As a fighter, if you use PED’s, how does it feel good knowing that you won using them? The fans should be upset too. How many fights are the fans gonna miss out on due to pre and post-fight testing? Don’t do it, dummies. Random testing needs to be the remedy. This is gonna be the only way to crack down on cheaters in the longterm.”
The main issue of fighters using performance enhancing drugs and being exempt for legal uses of testosterone replacement is it gives the sport of MMA as a whole a black eye. We do not want to see the sport of MMA turn into the next Baseball, where people call for an asterisk next to the athletes name. People seem to forget, but Chael Sonnen was caught with elevated testosterone following his near win over middleweight champ, Anderson Silva. Could you imagine if he had won the belt, only have the belt stripped away? That would of been more of an embarrassment to our beloved sport. The UFC teamed with the athletic commission has only begun to scratch the surface of a long running problem with random drug tests and it may just be an unfair advantage that could never 100% be stopped.