Steroids in MMA
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Cung Le and Michael Bisping to Undergo Enhanced Drug Testing; Le Defends His Suspiciously Jacked Physique

(Cung Le in November 2011, and Cung Le in August 2014. The only thing that hasn’t changed is his underwear.)

Over the weekend, UFC middleweight Cung Le posted a photo of himself flexing after an intense workout — and immediately raised the suspicions of armchair endocrinologists around the globe. Despite his athletic gifts, Le hasn’t always been the leanest or most muscular fighter out there; in fact, he’s looked rather soft at times, relatively speaking. But now, at the age of 42, he’s showing up looking this jacked? In a sport where aging veterans are getting popped for PEDs left and right, MMA fans were understandably dubious.

In an apparent response to the accusations being flung at Le, the UFC has announced that Cung Le and his opponent Michael Bisping will undergo enhanced drug testing for their UFC Fight Night 48 headlining bout this Saturday in Macau. The testing will be performed at the UFC’s expense, and will include blood-testing, which would theoretically identify non-steroid PEDs like human growth hormone (HGH) and recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO).

Of course, we probably won’t get the results of these tests until weeks after the fact, which does absolutely nothing to prevent potential cheaters from competing. (I kind of agree with Mark Bocek here; if all these drug tests are timed so that big fights still get to proceed as scheduled, it doesn’t reflect well on the UFC’s priorities, or how serious they are about eradicating the PED epidemic.)

But it might be a moot point in this case, because Cung Le doesn’t plan on failing a drug test anytime soon. When asked about the photo by an MMAJunkie reporter, Le went on a four-minute rant explaining why he looked so rocked in the now-infamous photo, and why he didn’t look so hot in the past. Instead of transcribing the whole damn thing, here’s the short version…

- Cung says he doesn’t look like that all the time; the photo was just the result of good lighting and a hard-ass workout where he sweated out six-and-a-half pounds. That being said, he has good genetics, as evidenced by his old photos.

- It’s unfair to judge him by the softer physique he sported during his previous UFC fights. He had a cracked rib coming into his bout against Wanderlei Silva, and an injured foot coming into the Rich Franklin fight, both of which prevented him from training hard and led to the over-consumption of chocolate. Since then, he’s hired a nutritionist for the first time in his career.

- He’s naturally veiny. And compared to Luke Rockhold or even Michael Bisping, he’s tiny. “I’m just lean…so, get over it!”

- Unrelated, but I couldn’t help but notice the way Elizabeth Phillips was staring at Le throughout his interview. We may have found Cung Le’s #1 fan.

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