(In the NFL, being caught for steroids means never having to say you’re sorry.)
While we’ve been caught up talking up the former NFL players on the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” we totally neglected the current NFL players who are into MMA. Sometimes they do it for conditioning, or to get tougher, or, as this New York Daily News report suggests, because they want to stay in shape while serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace is headed to Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas with fellow suspended substance abusers Will Smith (not that one) and Charles Grant, both of the New Orleans Saints, to work out while they wait for their suspensions to be over and their systems to get clean. Basically, steroid use in the NFL is now so prevalent that not only is there no real public or media backlash against the players who get caught, they can plan on having plenty of traveling companions during their suspensions. When asked why he chose MMA to fill his league-mandated off time, Pace had this to say:
"The reason why I’m doing MMA is it’s probably the closest thing you can find to football as far as conditioning, cardiovascular and the physical aspect," Pace said after the Jets’ 38-27 win over the Eagles Thursday night in their final preseason game. I’m not going to be fighting and I’m not going to be getting hit. I’m just going to be training my behind off. …"I want to come back the way I left – in shape and focused.”
If hearing a player who was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs talk about what great shape he’s in and how he wants to come back in the same shape he left in isn’t enough hilarious irony for you, check out the Daily News attempting to describe MMA to its readers:
MMA is a growing sport, if you can call it that, and professional athletes are starting to use the MMA training regimen for conditioning purposes.
That’s right, the dude who’s writing the story about one of the NFL’s multiple steroid offenders can’t get worked up about guys using illegal, banned substances, but he still somehow manages to get an attitude about MMA.
Never in this article is it even implied that using performance-enhancing drugs is wrong in any way, despite the fact that it is an attempt at getting an unfair edge over your opponents. Or at least it would be, if they weren’t on steroids too. But when the feeling in the NFL seems to be that it’s no more than a bummer and a minor inconvenience to get caught, why wouldn’t they be on the juice? Worst case scenario, you work out in Vegas with Randy Couture for a few weeks.