unless you have been living under the worlds biggest rock in recent times, you would have heard about the recent performance enhancing drugs (PED) argument in MMA. While the UFC has brought out a new plan to eradicate usage, here are some of our reasons why we think usage will get alot worse before it gets better.
Anyone who has trained MMA for a long time knows the amount of injuries sustained in the training room is mind blowing. its not uncommon for fighters to go into contests nowhere near 100%, and when you’re fighting a professionally trained killer this is not the best move, enter PED’s. one of the positives of PED’s (depending on what you use) is they can massively decrease amounts of injuries to fighters. PED’s such as steroids help strengthen your muscles and ligaments which can cause less injury and fatigue meaning you can train harder and longer with less risk of an injury causing you to be pulled off a card.
Going along with injuries, recovery is a massive and unseen part of MMA. when you’re doing two a days six days a week with some of the best athletes on the planet, your body is going to get beaten up, so making sure you are recovered for further training and your fight is key. PED’s can greatly speed up muscle recovery and lessen muscle fatigue meaning the fear of over training becomes less and less, and with fights being pulled left right and center because of injuries, fighters are more worried about the recovery aspect than ever before.
4. Everyone’s Doing It Argument
the classic school yard argument of “well he/she is doing it so i will too.” with the amount of press dedicated to the PED scandals of Hector Lombard, Anderson Silva and various others, its hard to believe that not more fighters are doing PED’s. if you are a fighter, and you believe everyone you are going to fight is using performance enhancers, then why shouldn’t you? surely that’s not cheating, its just evening the playing field. Sadly, this is a thought that goes through alot of fighters heads and is a major reason why PED’s in all sports is so rampant. in such a fickle game as MMA, where one loss can cause you to lose your job, and not mentioning your health, you want to be as prepared as you can be for competition so using PED’s seems logical if everyone else is. the downside of course is if everything is using because they think everyone else is using, then everyone will use! vicious circle 101
3. Lack of Technique
now this doesn’t apply to all fighters on PED’s because many are some of the most skilled fighters of all time, but for much younger in the game fighters, especially when you’re starting to break through in the bigger organisations, using PED’s can help you get a strong footing in places like the UFC. we’ve all heard Dana White talk about the ‘step up in competition’ when entering the UFC, and this has been shown alot of times when fighters just are not ready to fight in the number one organisation in the world (check Dufresne vs Reneau) PED’s can help counter act this, for instance if you’re a blue belt in BJJ coming up against an experienced black belt, you may want to stay away from him/her on the ground. Yes your striking and wrestling may be good enough to do this, but there is also an aspect of strength involved, cue steroids. If you can take steroids and be much bigger, faster and stronger than your opponent it becomes much easier to nullify their techniques and apply your own. is it morally right? probably not but the fact is it works.
much like what was mentioned above, age is a huge factor in PED use. MMA is a young mans game, and as fighters get older and they get slower, weaker and the damage of their career takes its toll, it becomes near impossible to stay up with the younger fighters. PED’s can help counteract the aging process extending your youth in terms of physical attributes meaning your experience and ears in the game can give you the advantage over your much younger opponent, while your PED ridden body is just as usable as their younger frame. the most famous example of this has to be Vitor Belfort with TRT. using TRT Vitor has got all the way to another shot at a UFC title at the age of 37 with 17 years of UFC experience! this is a major advantage over say a 4 year UFC pro like his next opponent Weidman.
unfortunately the one thing in life that drives most people in the world is the dreaded dollar bill. yes MMA is notorious for not paying well, so every fight and possible win bonus counts, and if by taking a few pills can help double your pay check ( not mentioning a possible $50,000 ‘of the night’ bonus) then its mighty hard to resist that urge, especially for the younger fighters with contracts of say $10,000 to show and $10,000 to win.