The issue of PED’s seems to be a never ending problem in UKMMA or for that matter sport as a whole. I feel. not often enough, anybody from inside the sport commits to any long form piece on the extent of the cancer which is widespread in our sport. Until now.
Just a little on my background to help set the scene. I have been involved competing in MMA for nearly ten years. I’m an accomplished athlete and have wrestled for both Britain and Scotland competing all over the world. It is here where I first saw how crazy the problem of PED’s were.
If you don’t think PED use is a massive factor in the outcome of fights not just in the UK but globally you need to have a serious look at yourself. If you have had multiple MMA fights I’d say you would most certainly have competed against a fighter ‘out his nut’ on the ‘juice.’
During my MMA career I have been offered or encouraged to get on the ‘juice’ multiple times. If you have trained to a decent level I reckon you will also have been propositioned in a similar way. There was one particular instance where I went abroad to train at gym which you would consider a powerhouse team where we were told point blank by a well-known individual that we were crazy not to be taking PEDs and had to if we wanted to get anywhere.
On other days there were chaps walking around in lab coats telling people to get in the “medicine” queue. Athletes training alongside me were able to hammer training two times a day for six weeks while my body had broken down that much by the end of the camp I needed three weeks off due to exhaustion.
Last week this all came back in the spotlight when TJ Dillashaw was popped for EPO and subsequently given a two-year ban. Shock horror and surprise was wide spread. Only joking of course it wasn’t, much like we all know the pope is catholic we all knew TJ Dillashaw was melting USADA beakers.
It didn’t matter how many times his strength and conditioning coach Sam Calavitta appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience and spoke about vector training we all knew what dark arts these two were most likely getting up to.
A bigger question to come out of this situation was the statement from Jeff Novitsky who leads the UFC’s drug testing effort where he said that not every sample was tested for the signs of EPO use. I’d hazard a guess to say I reckon 80% of fighters on the big shows are using or have used some form of performance enhancing drug. On a local level, in the UK. it would be hard to even estimate numbers as there is no testing whatsoever. It’s also well known that EPO is rumored to be the drug of choice by many in UKMMA athletes due to the inhuman endurance this can help elicit.
Anybody who has sparred in MMA or indeed had a competitive fight will know how hard it is to go hard for 3-5 five-minute rounds of hard action. I’ve witnessed guys in larger organisation’s title fights push an unbelievable pace for 25 minutes against an equally world class opponent and fight the same pace from round 1 to 5.
Guys who have had to cut and make weight before will know how difficult a situation it is. Do you ever wonder how some of these guys are humongous for the weight but don’t lose any performance benefits? I know I have and I think I know how they do it.Whenever there is money involved people are always going to try and seek every advantage.
Those in the know will have heard the different crazy stories going up and down the UK gyms of mad steroid related nonsense. A well travelled story for UK MMA legend features the fighter we will refer to as ‘Joe Gas’ for the purposes of the article being that worried about potential testing at a show he was fighting on that he started asking various fighters in said gym to give him a urine sample they kept concealed should they get the nod for the dreaded drug test.
Or what about that time a certain known UK MMA fighter who we will call ‘Jim Candy’ was said to have packed his bags and sprinted out of an arena like Usain Bolt because he had heard rumours that he could be tested and he doubted his nuclear green urine would stand up well to scrutiny.
UK MMA Commentary teams are prone to saying things like this guy is a ‘gifted athlete’ or ‘genetic freak.’ Yes, these people do exist but Id me more inclined to wonder what synthetic agents have been put in their body to help these gifted and genetic freaks.
This is not just a problem for the big boy promotions, it is a problem for all promotions. The problem is I feel this issue is too far gone to get straight. If it looks too good to be true, if it sounds too good to be true if it smells too good to be true it’s probably too good to be true.