It appears that the use of performance-enhancing drugs is simply endemic to professional sports.
This is an era in which Barry Bonds' imminent all-time MLB home run mark will be accompanied by an asterisk. Sadly, all of today's grand achievements in everything from football to cycling to track and field are met with skepticism.
Following golf great Gary Player's recently comments the PGA Tour - "Whether it's HGH, whether it's Creatine or whether it's steroids, I know for a fact that some golfers are doing it" - it's time for the sports-entertainment complex to collectively admit they've got issues.
Few knowledgeable sports fans with a basic understanding of combat sports would question that mixed martial artists are among the most dynamic, well-conditioned athletes around. And thus, we now we must add this young, booming industry to the notorious list of Sports Gone Wild.
All summer, urine samples of myriad MMA stars are turning up dirty.
When a fighter enters the ring or cage on steroids, human growth hormone or what have you, some say it goes beyond cheating and being illegal. Eddie Goldman, a longtime MMA journalist who hosts a weekly podcast called "No Holds Barred," believes its tantamount to fixing a fight: the athlete is engineering a performance as fake as anything in World Wrestling Entertainment.
Ethical issues aside, if both fighters are on steroids, it doesn't make for a level playing field because the public is still being cheated. One imagines fans paid their hard-earned money to see fellow human beings - not futuristic Transformers out of a Michael Bay movie - do battle.
MMA legend Royce Gracie tested positive for the steroid Nandrolone after his June 2 bout against Kazushi Sakuraba. Phil Baroni tested positive for two types of steroids, boldenone and stanozolol metabolites, after his June 22 tussle with Frank Shamrock.
The most recent, devastating wound to MMA, and the UFC organization in particular, occurred when both lightweight champion Sean Sherk, and his July 7 opponent from UFC 73, Hermers Franca, tested positive. Nandro showed up in Sherk's urine, and Franca had drostanolene in his system. The names are just a small sampling of fighters who have gotten caught over the last few years.
Both Sherk and Frank, who fought at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California, have filed appeals with the California State Athletic Commission. Franca has admitted to taking steroids prior to the bout, but said it was in order to recover from an injury.
Sherk, however, claims that he is clean and that the test had to be a false positive. False positives do occur and this proud champion - and any other fighter who is accused - deserves to have his day in court, where he can clear his name if he is telling the truth. The penalties handed out by the CSAC to both fighters are a $2,500 fine and a one-year suspension.
Is it really a shocker that MMA has a steroid problem? Not unless you haven't been following sports for the past 50 years. The real issue is how the powers that be in MMA intend to address this pervasive epidemic that's tainted nearly every professional sport.
No one questions that UFC president Dana White has done a remarkable job marketing and branding the organization since he and Zuffa LLC (UFC's parent company) bought the company in 2001. But White's response to this current crisis suggests that he is perhaps nave about the consequences and potential public relations fallout that could result from the drug scandals.
Josh Gross, a writer for Sherdog.com, a popular MMA site, wrote an open letter to White on July 20. Gross accused White of "passing the buck" and demonstrating poor leadership in addressing the matter of steroids in MMA. Among other things, the writer pointed out that that the UFC has - and continues to - put on shows in Texas and parts of the United Kingdom where there is no testing for performance enhancers.
In Belfast, Ireland, where UFC 72 took place and where drug testing apparently took place, the results of said tests, oddly, never were made public.
White responded to Gross with a vitriolic note of his own - subject heading: "My Response To Idiot Gross" - which has spread like wildfire though MMA forums.
While he made some valid points, such as the fact their testing is conducting by the government, which is more than can be said of the NFL, NBA or MLB, one senses that White needs to refrain from slinging mud at journalists and not rest on his laurels, but ask what more can be done.
Since MMA is such a modern sport geared toward a young fan base, it should look to set a new standard and example for all the rest to follow. There's still time to do the right thing.
Its not up to MMA or the organization its the individual fighters responsibility to do the right thing. Nobody forces them to take these drugs their chosing to.
Basically, Dana has said that's the reason they got these fights commissioned, etc. Instead of going to Japan, where they don't give a crap, they had the NSAC, CSAC, etc... do everything and it's out of his hands. That's Dana White's reasoning behind doing nothing on his end, but waiting for the commission to regulate this stuff. Fact is, the commission either needs to make a lifetime ban after 3 offenses or 2, whichever. Or Dana White needs to step up and have the commission randomly test these guys during training.
The UFC needs, at a minimum,to take the belt from Sherk. It sucks because I am constantly in the gym and I watch Sean Sherk's workout routine on Spike. You get it in your head that you can be at his level of performance, when he was on Nanny to get there.
The CBC or any other commission should fine athletes a percentage of the fight purse 60 or 70% because the payouts ire so varied
CroCop VS Big Nog II
the UFC has shown NOTHING to show that they are against steroid usage since they bring all these roiders back as soon as they can without a single repremand from the company.
UFC should make it clear that they won't use cheaters in their fights and simply tear their contracts when they get caught roiding.
You can't say that,
They have taken belts before, Barnett, Silvia...