Performance enhancing drugs, or PED's, have become the hot topic of great conversation lately within the mixed martial arts community.
Nate Marquardt formally introduced this discussion to the masses following his failed drug test to secure the necessary license to compete at the UFC Live on Versus 4 event in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Suspended from his main-event matchup with Rick Story and subsequently released from his contract by UFC President Dana White, Marquardt's justification for his failed drug test was the result of testosterone replacement therapy prescribed by a physician.
Following the release of Nate Marquardt, "The Great" was chastised by a number of fighters including UFC veteran BJ Penn.
Challenging Marquardt's integrity, Penn blasted Marquardt on his Twitter account and was very verbal regarding the usage of testosterone replacement therapy in mixed martial arts.
This public scrutiny of Marquardt and the use of PED's by Penn opened up an outpouring of opinions regarding performance enhancing drugs amongst MMA practitioners.
Most recently, former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra sounded off on the ever-increasing practice of PED's in the sport.
In an article released by MMAWeekly.com, Serra stated, "It’s wrong man, it’s really wrong. Let me tell you something. I got to the title without doing anything. I didn’t use anything."
Further defending his position, Serra went on to state that BJ Penn is also a clean fighter who is against the practice.
"Me and BJ Penn are in that small percentage that don’t do (expletive). There’s a lot of guys that are considered legends, and they’re doing the [H]GH and doing this and that, and it’s obvious, it’s freaking obvious,” Serra adamantly stated.
PED's are known to provide the user with an unfair advantage. The long-term implications of these drugs are not as well documented as their effects on performance. The inherent danger of their usage can lead to injury.
"There’s certain teams out there that look like they got a freaking chemist assigned to them,” said Serra.
“It’s not that I want to judge anybody, but hey man, I’m fighting these people. Next thing you know you’re in there fighting a guy with unlimited energy that looks like a He-Man figure. I don’t give a (expletive) if it’s happening in baseball, but when a guy can kick your head off, someone can get hurt. There’s a chance for serious bodily harm,” Serra said.
This ever-present practice of utilizing performance enhancing drugs is now becoming more common in mixed martial arts.
Will PED's taint the landscape of MMA as they have professional baseball? Only time will tell. Until then, the debate rages on as to the credibility of a fighter who utilizes this practice.
I welcome your comments.