In light of his high-profile career-ending PED bust, you might be surprised to learn that Chael Sonnen is still headlining the Metamoris 4 grappling tournament against Andre Galvao, August 9th in Los Angeles. I mean, doesn’t Metamoris test for steroids and EPO and all that other crap that Sonnen had floating around in his system? No, actually they don’t. In a statement released earlier this month, Metamoris promoter Ralek Gracie said the following:
“[W]e don’t currently test for PED’s and we are not an MMA organization. Metamoris is a grappling event with different rules and we require our own unique set of regulations for all aspects of participation.
“We are concerned about the issue of PED’s overall but we have a lot of research and work to do before accurately defining our stance. Due to the instability and controversy surrounding the regulation of PED’s we are taking our time to discover the best approach and fit for our organization.
“Lastly, for the people who understand the level of opposition Chael is facing at Metamoris 4, his use of any supplement or drug is not likely to provide any advantage whatsoever.”
Yes, I’m sure Metamoris has its best scientists working around-the-clock to determine whether steroids give an athlete a competitive advantage or not. (Spoiler alert: They do, and we figured that out decades ago.) Plus, for anybody who thinks that Sonnen’s PED-use shouldn’t matter in this case because he’s already at an enormous talent-disadvantage against Andre Galvao, allow me to blow your minds: What if Galvao is using PEDs too? Remember, Metamoris isn’t testing any of its fighters, so there’s nothing preventing the entire lineup from juicing.
Honestly, Ralek Gracie should just stop talking about this subject, because it’s only going to draw negative attention to his operation. Instead, he went on Inside MMA to further explain why steroid use isn’t such a big deal in jiu-jitsu competition. I mean, what are steroids, anyway? Does anybody really know? Here’s what he told Kenny and Bas:
“With EPO, that’s kind of something I hadn’t really looked into as much, but with steroids, for us in jiu-jitsu, if you’re using a lot of steroids, you’re gonna run out of strength, you’re gonna run out of energy faster.
“Maybe if you’re doing a weight-lifting competition, or you’re doing a fight with three 5-minute rounds, or two 2-minute rounds, or whatever, and you’re gonna go in there and just let everything go and take a 30-second break or whatever, a minute break. With Jiu-jitsu, with 20-minute rounds in Metamoris, my stance for the most part has been ‘Man, let’s see these guys go in there and let’s see what they have to offer.’
“I think the EPO thing as far as being a boost for endurance…it’s messed up. And we have to look into that. As a new organization, we’re playing it, we’re trying to get as much as we can, we’re trying to put as many exciting fights together as possible, and it’s a lot of work. People are blaming us, people are giving us a lot of trouble, but a lot of people just want to see this interesting match up…
“Everybody knows in our community, that Chael is up against the works, he’s up against a huge opponent. So, I’m like, okay, the UFC kicks him out, it’s exciting, let’s see what he can do against Galvao. If he survives, he’s considered the winner. It’s not a title on the line. Chael is probably, he’s on the way out as everybody’s talking about. Let’s see what he can do and if he can do something exciting.”
There’s nothing stopping Metamoris from bringing in Chael Sonnen to draw some heat around its event; I’m not completely clear on how the promotion avoids being regulated by athletic commissions, but drug-testing just isn’t a requirement for the operation, somehow. It is what it is. “A lot of people just want to see this interesting match up,” Gracie says. Fine.
What bothers me is Ralek Gracie relying on some bullshit bro-science about recovery time, to justify Sonnen’s inclusion as legitimate, and to suggest that the normal rules of human performance — and performance enhancement — don’t apply to jiu-jitsu, because jiu-jitsu is soooooo special, you guys. Look, we know why steroids and other PEDs are illegal in major sports, and how they affect the body. The jury is not still out on this crap. It’s an unfair advantage. Unless of course, everybody in Metamoris is using PEDs, in which case the playing field is level again.
Is it still cheating if nobody seems to care?