MMA: Steroid Sanctions Need To Be Reviewed For Fighter Safety

Danny O'BrienCorrespondent IJune 24, 2008

We've all seen the ESPN stories about steroids in professional sports, but not a lot of attention has been brought to the MMA stage.  Let me be one of the first to bring the dangers of steroids in MMA.

For example, back at UFC 73 where Sean Sherk successfully defended his title, he tested positive for steroids after his fight.  His suspension was reduced from one year to six months which allowed him to retain his title. 

Oh yeah, he had to pay a $2,500 fine too, which is what, 10 percent of his fight purse?  Pft.

Although Heavyweight Vitor Belfort was fined $10,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for testing positive for steroids, he had about two years to pay it and fought again before he paid it.

Personally, I think that's bull.  Sherk should have been stripped of his title right then and there.  Belfort shouldn't have been able to sign a fight contract until the issue was resolved.

I know that Tim Sylvia was stripped of his title, but why wasn't Sherk?  This gives fighters the mindset that maybe they will be lucky enough and won't be punished.

Tests today are more than 90 percent accurate, and if you're totally clean, you shouldn't be testing positive. There should be no appeals. 

If a fighter is going to use supplements to nurse an injury or give them power in the gym, they should be very careful what they're using, giving their doctors the regulations of the company they're fighting for so that fighters can no longer blame their doctors on the issue. The fighters hire the doctor, for crying out loud.

I believe in the purity of the sport, especially with it being so new (compared to other professional sports), which means it needs a no-nonsense reputation.  This is the time when strict penalties and rules need to be created and enforced to preserve the integrity of the sport.

Because Dana White is the head honcho of UFC, it is really up to him to create and enforce regulations to set the standard for the future of the sport.  Some states don't require testing for steroids, so it's important that companies develop strict rules and regulations and enforce them consistently.

This is especially true in countries like England, where MMA isn't even regulated.  Random drug tests need to be administered to fighters while they are under contract.  This will significantly reduce the dangers of PID's in fights.

White obviously states that he doesn't condone the use of drugs or steroids, but that's because he's trying to get the UFC regulated in all 50 states, and he's hired someone from the Nevada State Athletic Commission as the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs.  Imagine what he would look like if they didn't oppose drugs.

His company would end up pooping the bed if roid pumped monsters were fighting and submitting due to their muscle tears in the middle of a match.  Can you see Bruce Buffer announcing that?

I've read articles where people make excuses that the fighters use the steroids as a mental edge, using the rage to help them fight better, or that giant fighters would be more entertaining, and I can understand their points.

But come on, this isn't UFC 2.  You can't fight like an animal anymore.  Biting was banned in UFC 2.

I read a Yahoo! Sports article and the author made a good point.  Steroids in MMA is much more dangerous than steroids in baseball.  In MMA, the fighter's body is the weapon, and if you enhance that weapon with illegal drugs, you run the risk of seriously injuring or even killing an opponent with a punch or a choke gone wrong. 

After a death due to the steroid use of one of the fighters, the reputation of the sport would plummet and we would all lose out.

Too many fighters have tested positive, but with fighters doing cycles, which allow them the possibility of testing negative for performance enhancing drugs, the full impact that steroids have had on the sport will never fully be known.  What is known is that at least one fighter on a card is using performance enhancing drugs.

The only way to stop this before it gets out of control is to nip it in the bud now.  MMA needs strict rules, enforcement to the letter of the rule, and a no-nonsense policy.