Mousasi requests Shlemenko be PED tested

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The UFC has arguably the best performance enhancing drug testing program in the world. Their rival Bellator MMA doesn’t. However, Bellator CEO Scott Coker is on record as being firmly against PEDs in MMA.

“I want to make very clear that under new management, Bellator will simply not stand for performance enhancing drugs inside our cage,” he said after four fighters failed at Bellator 127. However, Coker is leaving PED testing up to local athletic commissions.

“When you look at our policy, our policy is to work with the athletic commission and to abide by their testing,” he said earlier this year.

Some commissions, like Nevada and California, have the will and the means to test out of competition. Most however only do in competition testing. If you know the date you are going to be tested, and you know the PEDs you are taking, and you can use Google, then passing the PED test is more an IQ test than an anti-doping test.

Gegard Mousasi is one of the world’s greatest middleweights, and left the UFC for Bellator MMA on a five-fight win streak. Part of his contract was the freedom to request drug testing of his opponents. ‘The Dreamcatcher’ will make his Bellator debut vs. Russia’s Alexander ‘Storm’ Shlemenko at Bellator 185, on October 20, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, and he made the request.

In 2014 Shlemenko was on a 13-fight win streak, including three successful Bellator middleweight title defenses, when he decided to move up to light heavyweight to fight Tito Ortiz. Like many Russian kickboxers, he doesn’t cut to get to 185, and Ortiz cuts hard to make 205, and crushed him. Next Shlemenko lost his title to Brandon Halsey. He rebounded by winning the next seven fights in a row, but it’s complicated.

Shlemenko’s next fight in Bellator was a win over Melvin Manhoef, but that was changed to an NC when he tested positive for the PED oxandrolone and had a testosterone-to-epitestosterone level of 50:1.

A normal ratio of T to E is 1:1, and day to day variation can range from perhaps .7:1 to 1.3:1. The World Anti-Doping Agency allows up to 4:1. 50:1 is nearly unheard of. Never the less, the fighter strenuously declared his innocence.

In addition to the NC, Shlemenko was also suspended for three years and fined $10,000. He challenged the suspension in court, and in the meantime fought Vyacheslav Vasilevsky in M-1 Global, twice, winning the first via split decision and the rematch via submission.  In July of 2016, the courts lifted his suspension and halved the fine, leaving him free to fight in North America again. He is 3-0 since.

Shlemenko vs. Mousasi is an excellent fight, but Gegard wants it to be a clean one, too.

“Let’s be honest: He’s been caught for 50 times the testosterone amount of a normal human being, so he definitely has cheated before,” said Mousasi to Steven Marrocco for MMAjunkie. “But this time, he tested clean. So far, so good. I want to have fighters that are clean. I’m a clean fighter, so I want my opponent to be clean.”

“You know there’s a guy who’s deliberately cheating. I don’t want to have a guy who’s physically or mentally twice as strong who normally wouldn’t be that. I want to fight a clean fight. In a clean fight, I’m not worried. I know what I can do.

“When the sport is clean, I’m one of the best fighters. We’ve seen a lot of people who didn’t perform after USADA. All I’m asking is a fair opponent.”

Fortuitously, the fight will be held at Mohegan Sun, under the direction of Mike Mazzulli, Director of Athletic Regulation for the Mohegan Tribe and president of the Association of Boxing Commissions. Mazzulli is one of a handful of commissioners with the means and the will to test fighters comprehensively and out of competition, and he made the decision to test ‘Storm’ at his commission’s expense. Shlemenko passed an initial test, and will be tested again at some point closer to fight time.

Gegard is satisfied.

“He deserves a second chance,” said Mousasi. “I think he was a clean fighter for a long time. I’m not saying he wasn’t. But that time he cheated against Melvin, and he paid the penalty. Hopefully, he’s a clean fighter now. He showed he’s clean, so we’re going to fight.”

So don’t do PEDs and don’t do PEDs before fighting at Mohegan Sun. One more word to the wise – the Mohegan tribe does not tolerate the use of illegal drugs, including marijuana. They are conservative in this regard, and take it seriously. If you smoke marijuana, even if it decriminalized or legal in your area, stop long enough beforehand so that you do not test positive even when dehydrated.