Dr. Rosi Sexton is a Cambridge graduate with a First-class maths degree (US equivalent is Magna Cum Laude from Harvard), a PhD from Cambridge University in Theoretical Computer Science (US equivalent: Smarter than that hair guy in Back to the Future), works as an Osteopath, and is a top 10 P4P women's MMA fighter. In short, Rosi is a rocket surgeon.
In a guest editorial for Bloody Elbow, Dr. Sexton talks about steroids and women's MMA.
To people within MMA, it usually comes as no surprise when a fighter tests positive for steroids. It's generally accepted that there are a lot of fighters out there who use banned performance enhancing drugs (estimates range from "a significant minority" to "almost all"), but most of the time they get past the limited testing that is put in place either by timing their steroid use carefully, using masking agents or both. It's only when someone makes a mistake that they get caught.
Because of this, performance enhancing drugs are often seen as a non-issue. "They're all taking it anyway, so what's the problem?".
The problem is that this is a combat sport. In most sports, the consequences of failure might be measured in pride, status or money. In MMA, you add physical damage and injury. In female MMA, for example, you can find yourself watching a fighter who is essentially (in hormonal terms) male, beat up a woman. It often makes for uncomfortable viewing. It's bad for the sport, and most of all it's bad for the fighters. It sends the message that following the rules is penalized by getting your face smashed in.
We have a choice to make. We can decide that we want steroids out of the sport. In that case, athletic commissions, governing bodies, promotions alike need to work together to implement gold standard drug policies. The World Anti-Doping Agency work with sporting organizations and produce model rules and protocols for testing. As a minimum, off season random testing of fighters is essential. It might never be possible to get rid of performance enhancing drugs entirely, but it's possible to tighten the net and change the balance between risk and reward in favour of the clean athlete. Some of the athletic commissions are starting to move towards stricter testing, but much more still needs to be done.
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Response from the female MMA community was generally even handed, via twitter.
Get a lot of tweets about Christiana. Don't want to 'kick an opponent when she's down'. I still respect her & we will meet again at Invicta!
Im not defending cyborg or not, but its not always accurate how the media blows things up or paints things
Well I am disappointed to find out she was using I gave her the benefit of the doubt too & really admired her
That's bullshit she woulda killed yamanaka without
Look "just working hard in the gym" won't give a woman muscles like that any more than eating worms and flapping your arms will make you fly
I'm about to fall off the grid for a few days, my last words: I told you so!!!
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