Is the UFC’s tolerance of disgraced fighters holding it back?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

UFC president Dana White did not respond to requests for comment about Bonnar’s positive test, though he did call it “crazy” in a one-word text message.

Ratner, the highly regarded former executive director of the Nevada commission, expressed concern at Bonnar’s positive result but ultimately doesn’t have the power or the authority to affect change. In the UFC, only White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have the ability to attempt to rid performance-enhancing drugs from their sport.

“I’m concerned when people test positive,” Ratner said Friday. “It’s bad, no question about it. We want to get this under control and make this sport drug-free.”

The real issue here is one that no one wants to talk about it, or that the faux tough guys like to mock when it’s brought up. And that is, what happens when a steroid-enhanced fighter seriously injures or, worse, kills an opponent?

There hasn’t been a long-term, traumatic injury or death in the UFC in its nearly 20-year history. Under current management, fighter care has increased substantially and safety measures have been taken to make the competition as safe as possible for the athletes.

That’s how it should be.

The sad truth is this, however: In a combat sport, all it takes is one blow at the wrong time in the wrong place and disaster could occur.

To be sure, there is a certain segment, perhaps even a large segment, of the UFC audience that prefers to see the fighters enhanced. To those people, chemically aided fighters put on a better show.

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