UFC 146 Fight Card: Are PEDs the Savior of Modern Sports?

Matt SaccaroContributor IIIApril 19, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 10:  UFC fighter Alistair 'The Reem' Overeem speaks during a presentation by Qualcomm at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show at The Venetian on January 10, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 13 and is expected to feature 2,700 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 140,000 attendees.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

People malign performance enhancing drugs, but there's no reason to. 


Because PEDs may well be the savior of modern sports.

Think about it. The various sports started decades (and in some cases centuries) ago. They were at one time new and difficult. As time went on, athletes became more proficient at them and techniques/theories could be passed on from veterans to rookies, increasing the level of skill in the sport of your choosing and therefore the excitement level as well. 

However, only so many changes are possible. A sport, given enough time, will develop a baseline level of skill that will forever stay static. The quality of talent won't improve and the sport will stagnate.

PEDs are the answer to such a problem. 

Human athleticism has peaked. We know how many home runs or touchdowns a great, natural athlete is capable of using only the sweat of their brow and the strength of their backs.

Unfortunately, the public always craves more. If records weren't broken and new, super-athletes didn't show-up who knows what would've happened to sports. People, specifically Americans, have short attention spans. Americans can't watch soccer, a long, tedious game where 3-0 is considered a blowout.

For a while, baseball could satisfy America's entertainment needs. Then football (and for a time, boxing) captivated American society. 

An it still captivates American society. Despite being around for decades, the size of the athletes and their overall athleticism has continued to increase like clockwork, making the sport a more high-scoring, thrilling affair. 

So, do today's athletes just eat more eggs than the athletes of old? 

Of course not. It's likely that the growth of American sports is due to the use of PEDs, or did you really think that each crop of athletes got dramatically better from eating their Wheaties as a kid?"

Remember the home-run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire in the late 1990s. It was an exciting time for baseball; people love home runs and love seeing records get broken. But it was fueled by PEDs.

Some say that this is shameful, but in retrospect does it make the baseball games we watched any less exciting?

No. Sports, above all else, are about entertainment. They can only be entertaining when the skill level is constantly increasing and records are being broken; nobody wants to waste their precious time away from work or away from their annoying spouse/children watching athletes do what's been done a hundred times already. 

But what of Alistair Overeem's recent failed drug test, you ask? 

What's the big deal? Why should fighters be forbidden from taking PEDs? It helps them train better, which means they'll fight better which means the fans and promoters—the two groups directly responsible for the success of the sport and employment of the fighters—go home happy.

Health isn't a concern and it never has been—not in any sport (no matter what the NFL says). If athletes are so concerned over their health, they are welcome to sit at a desk somewhere and let people who want to immortalize themselves and get rich take their place.

Thus, PEDs are not a blight of the sport that needs to be purged by regulatory bodies or the federal government but rather the savior of modern sports. Whereas the athlete of ages past was a tribute to the beauty of the human form, the modern athlete is a creation of and monument to science. Moralizers, critics, and luddites must understand this.