Give Anthony Johnson credit for combining the two hottest subjects in MMA, even if they seem to have little to do with each other beyond stirring up opinions. We know now that Johnson A) likes and accepts PEDs and B) wants equivalent pay to Major League Baseball players because of said PEDs.
While speaking as a guest on Sirius XM's TapouT radio (h/t MMA Mania's Michael Stets), the recently re-signed UFC light heavyweight Johnson claimed not only that most fighters use performance-enhancing drugs, but that PED use is tied to their allegedly low pay.
"The one thing that he didn't say is that you got guys like A-Rod and all them,"Johnson told host Ricky Bones. "They making millions per game. We making a couple thousand. They look at us and be like, ‘Man that's pocket change for me.' Hell, I'm probably about to say something stupid but I'm about to say, either pay us like them (MLB) and then we won't have to use it, or let us use it so we can get to that level.”
Johnson claimed drug use is a necessary part of training and poses no problems as long as fighters use it responsibly. Fighters use it not to compete, but to simply keep up with their routine.
"With as much training as we do, you have to take something," said Johnson. "I mean, it doesn't have to be illegal, but you have to do something, because you just can't say ‘I'm going to go home and go to sleep' and just wake up in the morning and feel better. It doesn't work like that."
For amusement's sake, let's dissect this. Firstly, Anthony Johnson failed to illustrate exactly the connection between pay and PED use. It seems like he simply wants both steroids and more pay and connected them for convenience. Obviously, if baseball is any example, higher pay doesn't exactly prevent steroid use.
Secondly, Johnson's claims of "millions per game" are less than accurate. According to MLBPlayers.com, the average 2013 yearly salary for an MLB player was $3,386,212. At the required 162 games per season, the average per game pay is $20,902.
The fact that Johnson brought up Alex Rodriguez is also perplexing, as Rodriguez was suspended by MLB over a steroid scandal. Alex Rodriguez, coincidentally, has a $275 million contract, the largest in MLB history. So much for the "higher pay equals fewer PEDs" theory.
Lastly, if fighters need PEDs to make it through their day, we might need a conversation about over-training and proper physical rehab. TRT usage for a hormonal imbalance is one thing; total institutional reliance is something else entirely.