UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson Supports Increased Drug Testing in MMA

Nick Caron@@nicholascaronAnalyst IMarch 10, 2013

August 11, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Benson Henderson fights Frankie Edgar (not pictured) during UFC 150 at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has long been respected as one of the "clean" fighters in the sport. He has now also come out as a supporter of increased testing for performance enhancing drugs within the sport.

"I’d be for increased testing," Henderson recently said in an interview. "It keeps the playing field even. It makes it so guys have to do a better job of either hiding it, or just not taking it."

And he may have hit the nail on the head with the "hiding it" idea. Numerous fighters have admitted to taking other drugs that stay in the system fairly long, such as marijuana, and still passed tests prior to and after their fights. With performance enhancers such as testosterone replacement therapy or steroids, the symptoms can be a little harder to spot, especially if the fighter knows the test is coming.

"I think a lot of guys would actually just do a better job of hiding," Henderson said. "Like guys in the NFL, some get busted, but the guys who get busted are just the, not very intelligent ones, because it’s not the hardest thing just to time it correctly to where you don’t get caught whenever you get tested."

As a clean fighter and a reigning UFC champion, it behooves Henderson to advocate cleaning up the sport in order to keep things on a level playing field, especially when it comes to championship bouts.

"I’d be for more rigorous testing," he said. "They want the blood doping testing? We can do that, too. I’m cool with that. Random testing? I’d be for that."

Henderson recently went after PED users at a recent UFC press conference, proclaiming they are "mentally weak" if they have to resort to artificial ways to keep their body in top condition. He took some flack for that assessment, but doesn't appear to be ready to back down from those comments.

"Those guys who need a little extra bump, a little extra edge, they know it’s illegal. They know they shouldn’t be doing it. Those guys are mentally weaker," he said. "But it’s still not going to pan out for you in the long run, because I’m still going to beat you."

Henderson's next fight is expected to be against former Strikeforce lightweight champion and UFC newcomer Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7 on April 20.