Does it say more about the UFC or its athletes that classy, universally-respected guys like Georges St. Pierre and Brian Stann only feel comfortable discussing their gripes with the organization’s drug-testing policies after they have stepped away from the sport? It’s hard to say for sure, but in any case, Stann has followed suit with GSP, first lamenting the sport’s drug issues as a “major part” of why he retired earlier this month before further explaining himself during an appearance on The MMA Hour yesterday.
While Stann refused to name names, he was quick to admit that MMA’s lackadaisical drug-testing has made it easy for many a fighter to cycle on and off PED’s over the years — a trend that will continue to plague the sport until a change is made:
I think the time when you retire coming off a loss and then you say that, what I didn’t want to do was discredit any of my former opponents. You know, specifically seeing that Wanderlei (Silva) was my last fight, I didn’t want to come off like, ‘Hey, I’m making excuses. The only people that beat me were people on drugs.’ I don’t know any of that for a certainty. There’s one time when I fought a guy on TRT when it was allowed, and that’s the only time that I could say substantially somebody was taking something. But, it was a factor.
I’m a clean fighter. I’m 33 years old, and I have seen, in my own training, and in talking and knowing guys in the inner circle, I’ve known what guys are not on, and when they cycle on it. You can feel the difference in the gym and what big a difference it makes, and I do think there are a number of guys who are using just because the testing currently by our athletic commissions is inadequate.
It’s not exactly a revelation to anyone who’s been following MMA for more than a week that the lack of random drug-testing is perhaps the biggest issue facing the sport today. Not helping this plight is NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar’s confirmation earlier this week that each random drug test costs the NSAC between $35,000 and $45,000 to execute.
Without help from the UFC, Aguilar stated, random drug testing simply can’t be fit into the NSAC’s budget. And if you expect the same people who regularly pay someone $8,000 to get their brains smashed in to pay six times that much for what some (falsely) consider an extraneous test, think again, brotha’.
But there you have it: the fastest-growing sport in the world is neck deep in a drug-testing crisis that can only be solved by money it apparently doesn’t have. I wish I could do something other than throw my hands in the air, but I’m just as confounded as Stann is here. Any suggestions, Nation?