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Rory MacDonald’s Longtime Trainer Responds to ‘Pathetic’ Steroid Accusations Aimed at His Fighter


(Lea and MacDonald rolling at Toshido MMA prior to Rory’s UFC 115 bout with Carlos Condit.)

One of the most unfortunate occurrences to transpire in the wake of Saturday night’s UFC 129 show in Toronto (besides the publicized brawl that took place in the stands and was posted on YouTube) was the accusations of steroid use directed at one of the stars of the event.

Anonymous fans and keyboard warriors alike have taken to Internet forums and message boards to voice their opinion that because 21-year-old Canadian wunderkind Rory MacDonald put on some extra muscle since his last Octagon appearance more than ten months ago, because he demonstrated such explosive strength by executing a trio of third-round suplexes on opponent Nate Diaz, and because “The Waterboy” had an apparent increase in his amount of body and facial acne, it must have been a pharmaceutical grade testosterone advantage that helped him cruise to victory in the fight.


(The Internet police’s “Exhibit A” in their case against MacDonald. I’ve seen worse pimples on the backs of teenagers swimming at the YMCA)

Forget the fact that MacDonald moved to Montreal last year where he has trained several times a week with Georges St-Pierre’s acclaimed former strength and conditioning coach Jonathan Chaimberg while he was rehabbing a knee injury he sustained in his last bout. Forget the fact that MacDonald was a late bloomer who still looked like a boy fighting men until his late teens when a large growth spurt necessitated a move to welterweight for the King of the Cage world lightweight champion. Forget the fact that MacDonald spends the majority of his free time on the mats or in the cage drenched in sweat rolling and sparring with his teammates. Because he has acne and an increase and size and strength, he must be on something.

We spoke Tuesday with MacDonald’s longtime mentor and trainer David Lea who Rory began training with seven years ago at Toshido Mixed Martial Arts in Kelowna, British Columbia when he was just 14 years old and we asked him to comment on the finger-pointing that has marred his fighter’s breakthrough performance last weekend. Lea, who says such unsubstantiated accusations are nothing new as they have been dealing with similar virtiolic disparaging remarks since MacDonald began competing and blowing through much older and more experienced opponents at the age of 16, shakes his head at the latest round of meritless claims.

“That’s really a rumor?” Lea asked with an incredulous laugh. “That’s pathetic. Rory has had acne issues since he first came into my club at age 14, as do many teenagers and young adults. Rory eats perfectly, trains like a beast and doesn’t drink, smoke or do drugs. The last thing he would do is steroids. Why would he? He already has the testosterone levels of a super athletic 21-year-old, for f*ck sakes.”

We chose not to speak with MacDonald, as we didn’t want to interrupt the jubilant high he’s undoubtedly still on from his big win by having him acknowledge and legitimize the baseless accusations against him. The sad reality is that his words would do little to help silence the rumor-mongers grasping for an explanation of how a young talented athlete who works hard in the gym and the weight room and has a massive amount of natural ability could perform as well as he did against a seasoned Octagon veteran like Diaz. Just ask Tiger Woods, Sidney Crosby, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Tony Hawk what its like being constantly accused of PED use.

During an appearance on last week’s episode of The Bum Rush Radio Show, MacDonald touched on the number of online critics that has grown exponentially along with his fan base as a result of his increasing popularity and success.

“It’s [been] a little bit of an eye opener. People change the way they talk to you, what they think about you and what they say about you when you get a little bit of popularity. You always have people that really support you and there’s going to be people that don’t like what you’re doing,” MacDonald explained. “There’s good and there’s bad; either way, I don’t really care. I’m just doing my own thing. I’ve never really cared what people have to say about me or what I’m doing. I’ve got my own goals and I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I’m living my dream, so it doesn’t really matter.”

With these most recent charges against him, it’s unlikely that MacDonald’s justifiably jaded perception of the type of BS that goes hand-and-hand with being a sports star will change any time soon, which is unfortunate considering he should be on top of the world thanks to the masterful, potentially career-changing performance he put on in Toronto.

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kelownamma- May 7, 2011 at 1:45 am
I have trained at toshido and before rory moved to montreal he was walking around at 195. And he has always had acne problems, and the guy that said his face was red. Ever get punched? Anyway rory is not on roids. Trust me :)
rainbow- May 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm
I sit here reading everything that you all have to say about Rory MacDonald and wether or not he uses steroids... and it doesn't make any sense to me because up untill Rory started to become famous for his UFC fighting abilities NONE of you had a clue who he was or that he even existed for that matter.Rory has trained long and hard since he was 14, seven days a week, from morning till night and still does to this day. He eats a proper diet and YES he is very hygenic from his head to his toes,as for his acne problem he has had that since his early teens it is not new and DEFINITELY not due to your assumption of steroids. What it boils down to is that Rory is a great fighter who is doing a job he loves 100%, and that alone makes the world of difference in how a person can accomplish what they love. As for you skeptics don't judge others by what you assume, judge them by physical proof... Here is an OLD adage for you skeptics to think about ... When you point a finger at someone remember there are 3 pointing back at you. Rory we miss you back home in Quesnel, B.C. wish you were here.
frndlylion- May 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm
@intercept440 & rags81 Watching Nate get manhandled was just as fun for me. What was even more fun was when he tried to pull that showboating bullshit his brother does all the time and got cracked for it. :)

@fatbellyfrank I second that.
Ballkick- May 4, 2011 at 6:03 am
I am a Canadian and l absolutely loved to see Rory Suplex Diaz Saturday night,........ all three times.
I think he is a phenomenal young fighter with a great future in this sport.
I consider myself far from "hatin" on this kid, and far from ever being called a gossiping school girl, an Internet Dermatologist, or a troll in my entire life.
I think there is some fair honest reasons to suspect that there might be some PED's at work here. I also wish that a negative test result could definitively prove beyond a reasonable doubt that we are barking up the wrong tree here. But it doesn't and until I see Olympic standard test results in the UFC we will never be able to substantiate any of our claims or any claims otherwise.
Congrats to Rory on his win the other night, but honestly if you or any other fighter won using PED's, I bet it feels like a pretty hollow accomplishment. We won't have to live with that, but you do.
OLLY_g- May 4, 2011 at 1:18 am
they should put him on non HD broadcasts only
TIME_TRAVELER_FROM_THE_FUTURE- May 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm
Young MacDonald had a Win, eee ey eee ey ohhh

And with this Win he had some Hate, ee ey eee ey ohhh

With a Troll-troll here

and a Troll-troll there

here a Troll, there a Troll; everywhere a Troll-troll

Young MacDonald had a Win, eee ey eee ey ohhhhhh
kellyman- May 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm
Stricter testing will equal less rampant speculation. Rory won't be tested, I assume, because he was on the prelims.
Get Off Me- May 3, 2011 at 7:16 pm
The irony here is that CP is using a photo of bacne to down play steroid rumours, when only months ago used a photo showing Sonnens bacne as an indicator of steroid use after he pissed hot.
Let's set the record straight this way.
The photo Mike Russ chose was a little biased yes(on T.V. the overhead HD camera was far less forgiving)but Mike's right in the long run...21yr old Rory's not juicing and acne is not a smoking gun.
All the people who think he is, where were you after Thiago Silva's last fight? What about Sonnen/Spider....I don't ever recall anyone on here after those fights calling steroid use, funny cause they both tested positive afterwards.... generally that's how it should work no, or is this the genesis of treating every fighter like Alistair Overeem? Rory's still growing folks, wait until you see him next time, he trains like an animal at tri star.
Buff Frank Mir- May 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm
@el guapo
that's why I said it! itsounds like he is just writing this to defend him.
fatbellyfrank- May 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm
rags81 Says:
Tue, 05/03/11 - 05:24
Keyboard warrior it up gents, he deserves it for either being juiced up, or to stupid to see a good dermatologist to protect his image.
...............................................................
are you fucken serious dude?we should be hatin on a 21 year old fighter cause he doesnt go see a dermatologist?, the zits on his back were noticeable, i think everyone noticed during the fight,I commented on it myself but as a few commentors have posted, we've got a 21 year old athlete, spends a majority time rolling round mats of questionable cleanliness whilst sweating his ass off, this may contribute to some skin problems, surely there should be some burden of proof before we hang this kid, apart from a few pimples wheres the evidence he's juicin? and if you wanna see people who use a dermatologistto protect"their Image" stick to watchin Jersey Shore or dancin with the stars,
Jesus fucken Christ, assasinate the kid cause he doesn't go to a dermatologist. That is the stupidest fucken thing I've seen on here for quite some time.
rags81- May 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm
Ya know, if he can get these injuries healed, afford training camps with top fighters, and have such great coaches; you'd think the guy would choose to see a dermatologist to get this backne cleared up. Seriously, where the fuck is his manager on this one??? He's a professional, and should be using all resources available. He's a phenomenal fighter, but even as a fighter you have an image to protect so going in front of 55,000 fans and millions of PPV customers looking like a leprosy victim isn't good business and these accusations are well warranted based on circumstantial evidence.

Keyboard warrior it up gents, he deserves it for either being juiced up, or to stupid to see a good dermatologist to protect his image.
AndyInflammatory- May 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm
your garden-variety MMA critic is a fat fuck who hasnt trained hard in their sad little life.

They skim some basic knowledge of steroidal symptoms ("bacne") from their peers or the Googles and then see a kid doing what THEY couldnt ever do, 1+1=3 and then its disparagement time.

Spouting off like experts from the comfort and privacy of their own homes, while hard working kids get punched in the head and earn chicken feed for their amusement.

You're destroying the sport you worthless pieces of shit.
El Guapo- May 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm
Mike Russell is Canadian? Get the fuck outta here!!
Buff Frank Mir- May 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm
and Stun Gun
Buff Frank Mir- May 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm
@welderfitter
no Diaz fought Rory Markham at 170
Buff Frank Mir- May 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm
I figured Mike R. wrote this. It was totally biased making it sound like people are stupid for believing he juiced. Its not cuz he is Canadian. I think he did but i understand there is other reasons for the huge change.
SethF- May 3, 2011 at 1:16 pm
A 21 year old with energy and an acne problem? Good thing we have the internet police, because I didn't realize that that was proof of drug usage.
WhiteyFord- May 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm
If so called bacne was a sure sign of either juicing or poor hygiene then I should be a dirty but ripped 180lb'er. Truth is I have never juiced, train 6-8 hours a week, often take 2-3 showers a day and still have acne. Most often "bacne" is cystic acne which is blood borne and not related to the above mentioned poor hygiene or peds. Most often it can be treated with daily antibiotics.
welderfitter- May 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm
wasnt that diazs first fight at ww also?
Mdollas- May 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm
BTW I think everyone is hating on Rory because everyone and there Moms picked Nate Diaz by Round 2 Submission...just sayin
mDino- May 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm
205 heading into camp? aah, that I did not know. well, back under the bridge I go lol!
Mdollas- May 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm
LOL, I said this since day one, NO chance he tests positive, even posted on the forums. I'v trained with Rory, hes nothing less then an amazing person.
kieranski- May 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm
Ok apparently most of the commentors do not realize there is no scientific proof that steroids cause acne
rpn452- May 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm
I just assume that all professional athletes are on the juice. Except the Diaz brothers.
IsnappedYourarm- May 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm
I was thinking he was juicing once I saw his back. The fact that they know his testosterone levels is kind of weird. Who spent the money for these tests? Certainly not the fighter who is 2 of 3 in the UFC and getting paid like $5k per fight.
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