From Prince to Pauper?
Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie, Kimo Leopoldo . . . Legends of MMA. Josh Barnett, Tim Sylvia, Sean Sherk, Vitor Belfort . . . former UFC Champs.
Throw in Phil Baroni, Thiago Silva, James Irvin, Chael Sonnen, "King" Mo Lawal, Cris "Cyborg" Santos, Stephan Bonner and Chris Leben along with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva and you have a veritable who's who of MMA.
What do all of these MMA stars have in common?
Sometimes at the very least. Afterall, it ain't a crime if you don't get caught.
Rewind if you will to two weeks ago following Fight Life Media's coverage of the UFC 146 Press Conference. "I hope someone doesn't screw this up.", I said to my FLM partner Flip. "I know!" he replied,"It could get ugly." And ugly it got . . .
For the events sake, only one athlete on the card was caught with abnormally high testosterone levels following a surprise drug test. Regrettably, it was the standing UFC Heavyweight #1 Contender, reigning K-1 Grand Prix Champion and recent vacator of the Strikeforce & Dream Heavyweight Championships, Alistair Overeem. "The Demolition Man's" complete dismantling of Brock Lesnar sent Lesnar packing for the WWE and catapulted Alistair from virtual unknown status among casual fans to being a known commodity in an increasing number of homes. Overeem was then named the #1 Contender and was set to face Junior Dos Santos for the UFC Title at the end of May.
With his T/E ratio being at 14 to 1, more than double the allowable 6 to 1, it is likely that Alistair will face stiff fines and a lengthly suspension.
More importantly, in the eyes of many, he screwed up what would have been the best Heavyweight Card of all time. He could have cemented his legacy as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time and was on his way to being coronated the King of the UFC had he beaten Dos Santos.
Barring his second sample coming back clean by way of divine intervention, Overeem's case doesn't look good. Allegations of PED use have followed him throughout his career and you don't have to look further than his 24 inch pythons to wonder why. The question though still remains, "What do we do with these guys, and what can we do to stop this from happening again?".
Random and surprise testing through athletic commission should help, but it is costly and hard to do when you have athletes training all over the world. The UFC has been hesitant to get into the full-blown policing of its fighters, but it may be the only way to keep the sport we love clean.
The saying that "Cheaters Never Prosper" may not be entirely true when it comes to combat sports. Looking again at the initial list of cheats in this article, many of these guys are repeat offenders and have made a name for themselves, become champions and built legions of fans all while bucking the system. When is enough enough?
If fans, commissions and promotions continue to let this kind of behaviour slide with spotty testing and questionable sanctions, what's the point of testing at all? Many fighters are now going the Testosterone Replacement Therapy route which, ironically, is often prescribed by physicians after atheletes have abused their bodies with steroids to the point that they no longer produce natural amounts of testosterone. Guys like Dan Henderson have openly discussed their use of TRT, and even though it is technically legal, is it any different from what the other guys are doing?
For the fans sake, let's make a deal. Every single Main Event guy out there needs to get TRT prescribed legally so we can avoid these types of situations. The playing field will then be even and we can get the matchups and events that we want without someone blowing it.
While we're at it, Alistair's self-proclaimed secret to his physique, horse meat, should be made available to all of his opponents.
Horse Meat my ASS . . .Thanks for screwing the pooch on this one Ubereem!
MJ on MMA