Three more steps the UFC could take to combat PEDs

by Kirik Jenness |

Lance Armstrong has done extraordinary good in this world. And he cheated.

As a result, he is utterly disgraced. The consequences of his cheating include
•Lifetime ban from Olympic sports.
•Loss of all seven Tour de France wins.
•Sued by the US Government to recoup the 40,000,000 American taxpayer dollars that the USPS paid to sponsor his team.
•Asked to step aside by the cancer charity that he founded, Livestrong.
•Had to confess to his own son, and say "don't defend me anymore."

Lance Armstrong is now the poster child for PED abuse.

As a consequence, cycling cleaned up, as evidenced by dramatically lower times. For example, the winning time up the Tour de France's Alpe d'Huez was 41:57 in 2011. The same time would have placed 40th a decade before.

Armstrong was caught by among other things a combination of testimony and subjecting previous blood samples to more sophisticated tests than were available at the time they were taken. A summary of the case that finally forced Armstrong to confess can be found here.

PED abuse is far more serious in mixed martial arts than it is in other sports, because MMA is a hurting game. If a PED abuser beats a clean competitor in say bicycling, then it is an injustice - it's not fair. In MMA, beating someone means they got actual beating, in a sport that is inherently dangerous when it is all natural - it's criminal.

ZUFFA CEO Lorenzo Fertitta UFC-will-pay-for-all-AC-drug-testing/" target="_blank">recently announced UFC financial support of thorough drug testing.

Before MMA gets its own Lance Armstrong, some beloved figure who falls into disgrace, there are further things still the UFC could do that could potentially end PED abuse in our sport.

The UFC could cooperate with athletic commissions in the holding of samples, with the understanding that those samples would be subject to testing on an ongoing basis going forward indefinitely, as more sophisticated tests become available. Should a sample test positive in future, the fighter in question would be subject to severe penalties.

If there was evidence of repeated abuse, the UFC would remove any titles retroactively that the fighter held, as happened to Armstrong. The UFC would seek the return of funds paid, as happened to Armstrong. The UFC would subject the figure to a lifetime ban, as happened to Armstrong.

Further, the UFC would cooperate with the office of the Nevada Attorney General, and seek criminal penalties again the offender.  Such a case would be sure to generate extensive media coverage, something that Attorneys General do not characteristically shun. And the case would be a lot more fun than the usual investigation of some crooked treasurer. The move would not be without precedent.

Hockey has seen a series of players charged criminally for cheating while playing, including:
1969: Wayne Maki of the St. Louis Blues and Ted Green of the Boston Bruins became the first NHL players sent to court after a stick-swinging duel at a preseason game. Green fractured his skull; Maki wasn't injured. Both were acquitted of assault charges.
1988:  Dino Ciccarelli of the Minnesota North Stars was convicted of assault for hitting Toronto defenseman Luke Richardson several times in the head with his stick. Ciccarelli was sentenced to one day in jail and fined.
2000: Marty McSorley was charged with hitting Canucks player Donald Brashear with his stick. McSorley was convicted of assault with a weapon, but he received an 18-month conditional discharge, meaning no jail time and no criminal record after probation. The NHL suspended him for a year, ending his 17-year career.
2004: Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks sucker punched Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore, concussing him and breaking his neck. Bertuzzi pled guilty to an assault charge after arranging a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Taking PEDs and then engaging in a combat sport is cheating every bit as much as a sucker punch or slash in hockey.

Further steps the UFC could take include:
1. Hold blood samples indefinitely;
2. Institute severe internal penalties for PED abuse; and
3. Enjoin the Nevade AG to pursue criminal cases against abusers.

Should they do so, the problem might be solved, before we have our own Lance Armstrong to be ashamed about.


tags: UFC   PED   regulation   

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Recent Comments »

MisterHawkeMMA site profile image  

2/14/14 4:23 AM by MisterHawkeMMA

Oh yeah... and don't be the guy who says silly things like "I cannot believe people even consider it". That's the same line that corrupt politicians have used to keep marijuana illegal for so long.

MisterHawkeMMA site profile image  

2/14/14 4:21 AM by MisterHawkeMMA

Hate to seem rude, but you just packed a ridiculous amount of ignorance into that statement. "If you allowed it, guys would get into an arms race for the lastest, most, most stacked most expensive PEDs yet devised"I'm actually not sure which implication is more illogical. A) That we're not already in an "arms race" for the best ways to safely enhance performance.B) That athletes with more money shouldn't be allowed access to more expensive means.C) Or that combining supplements in the most effective way is somehow bad practice."And in a sport where increased athletic performance leads to increased head trauma."Again... sounds good, but the evidence doesn't support your claims at all. Not only did you just say that we should pool our money together in a futile effort to try and stagnant the natural process of athletic evolution (so glad you weren't alive in the 50s to ruin boxing or football with that logic). But you also said that more athletic ability automatically will lead to more head-trauma. Explain that part a little better. If you're more likely to get knocked-out with fewer strikes, then how the hell are you taking more damage than you would be otherwise?

Kirik site profile image  

2/13/14 9:59 PM by Kirik

  If you allowed it, guys would get into an arms race for the lastest, most, most stacked most expensive PEDs yet devised. And in a sport where increased athletic performance leads to increased head trauma.   That would be a grave mistake. I cannot believe people even consider it.

MisterHawkeMMA site profile image  

2/13/14 9:56 PM by MisterHawkeMMA

PS. I'm not advocating cheating at all. What I'm saying is that it's a stupid law, and it needs to be changed. Could we please stop being sheep for just a minute and actually think about the actual argument? Using "performance enhancer" as a derogatory term is as dumb as using "liberal" as one.

MisterHawkeMMA site profile image  

2/13/14 9:52 PM by MisterHawkeMMA

We're going in the wrong direction.Instead of trying to figure out how to spend more money to catch people who are trying to enhance their performance, we should just allow it. Try and create a safe knowledgable environment so guys don't affect their bodies in ways they weren't trying to. Seriously, who loses from Vitor being able to fight at an elite level up into his 40s? Not Vitor or his family who get's to earn a lot more money in his career. Not the UFC who get's to employ the already popular Vitor even longer. Not the fans who get to enjoy Vitor longer. Not even his opponents, that get the bigger paycheck because they are fighting someone with more exposure. Think about what the UFC roster would look like right now if guys were allowed to do whatever they could to enter the cage at their best. Guys like Chuck Liddel and Brock Lesnar may still be fighting. At the very least there would be A LOT less fights cancelled due to injuries. It's really the most hypocritical thing ever to hear all the same people talking about how messed up it is that marijuana isn't legal, then talk bad about testosterone. Two things that have a ridiculous amount of benefits, that don't kill, but have gotten a bad rap because all sort of silly propaganda. Yeah, it's so horrible that a 60 year old looks and performs like he's 20. Let's all pool are money together to keep that from happening anymore.

Team GDP site profile image  

2/13/14 7:08 PM by Team GDP

why would they hold samples indefinitely? they have enhanced testing which they could use, but currently don't. 2 simple steps to combat ped usage would be have year round random and enhanced testing.

boxy site profile image  

2/13/14 5:36 PM by boxy

The main difference to me is one gets to freely use PEDs and artificially enhance his performance and longevity by taking advantage of a deeply flawed testing protocol. Further, I doubt his "therapy" will even be legal in the future. There's nothing to "lie" about if you can outsmart a retarded system and "pass" the tests. Cycle properly and enjoy your immense advantages.I've followed MMA since the very beginning. I've also met Henderson back in the day and followed his career since he started. For him to gain a game changing weapon past his prime years, be part of a team where hypogonadism seems to be contagious (and where unnatural longevity also seems to be contagious)... Yeah, if you think Henderson's on the up and up, I have a bridge to sell you.

gokudamus site profile image  

2/13/14 5:24 PM by gokudamus

  whether or not it is criminal is a different issue from whether or not it will be enforced criminally...i just dont see it happening though i do agree with much steeper penalties...i think generally people view taking steroids as cheating at a game or contest, which,although morally wrong, is outside the province of law enforcement and our courts as a practical matter when you consider of all the "real" crime that still needs attending to  

Kirik site profile image  

2/13/14 5:18 PM by Kirik

One guy broke the law, lied about PED use for years, and tried to destroy anyone who told the truth. The other guy complied with all laws and was completely open about it. You could have to be on The UG for a loooooong time to think those two are identical. Wait....

boxy site profile image  

2/13/14 5:07 PM by boxy

MMA already has its Lance Armstrong. His name is Dan Henderson.