(Can we go back to those innocent, joyful days when you didn’t give a damn about your favorite fighter’s T/E ratio? / Photo via MMAWeekly)
By Jon Mariani
Drugs are bad, m’kay? At least that’s the conventional wisdom regarding the use of performance enhancing drugs in mixed martial arts. For the past 12 years, state athletic commissions as well as the UFC have tried to combat steroid use (and hormone therapy abuse) through pre- and post-fight testing, and punitive measures like suspensions and fines.
Some would argue that commissions and promoters should go even further with their anti-PED efforts, enacting more stringent testing for athletes. We say, what’s the point? Why burn so much money and man-hours trying to eradicate a problem that can never be eradicated? Ultimately, it might be better for the sport if all MMA fighters were allowed to use PEDs. Seriously. Here’s why that might not be the worst idea in the world…
It Would Level the Playing Field
When asked what percentage of fighters in MMA currently use PEDs, the most conservative response is usually around 50% of fighters; on the other side of the spectrum, estimates from fighters themselves go as as high as 90%. If those numbers are to be trusted, that would mean the majority of fighters currently use PEDs. It makes sense that so many fighters are using considering how poor the current testing is.
The fighters who don’t use PEDs face a clear disadvantage when they step into the cage against opponents who do. There’s also the murky waters of testosterone replacement therapy hall passes, which are being given away like candy. Legalizing PEDs would mean that all fighters could use, which would mean fighters who would like to use but currently don’t because it’s illegal would get on the gear. For the first time since athletic commissions began drug-testing MMA fighters, competition would be truly fair.