The UFC has been plagued by rumors as well as substantiated allegations of PED use in its organization. Will the UFC weather the storm and what does the future hold for the organization and our UFC picks?
Silva Tests Positive
The legendary Anderson “The Spider” Silva is the most recent culprit in the performance enhancing drug (PED) scandal haunting the UFC. It was supposed to be a triumphant return to the Octagon for Silva after a year’s hiatus in which he rehabbed from a Theismanesque leg break sustained in his rematch for the UFC Middleweight title which had been wrested away from him by the current champ Chris Weidman. He was opposed by the thuggish yet talented Nick Diaz where the beloved former champion was installed as high as a -400 favorite in UFC odds and did not disappoint when he walked out of that match with yet another win on his impressive resume.
But the sweet smell of success quickly vanished when it was reported that Silva failed a post-fight drug test in which he tested positive for three banned substances including drostanolone which was revealed to be in his system during a random drug test on January 9th of this year and only weeks before his match with Diaz. We know that Anderson Silva is not the kind of person to be led around by his nose and consume anything that his team supplies. Silva is a bright, articulate and engaging personality who has ironically spoken out against PED use in the past. Therefore we must believe that he was fully aware of what he ingested between January 19th when he passed a random drug test and January 31st when his post-fight tests came back positive. Even if we want to believe him and give credence to his story that he never willingly or knowingly took any banned substances the onus to be clean is still squarely on the fighter.
Will PED Use End the UFC?
Perhaps the broader question is will PED use end mixed martial arts? The answer is no. Every sport has the same issues to one degree or another but fans would not sit still if there was no football to watch on Sunday or no baseball to pass the time during the dog days of summer. However, the way the organizations handle their business and to what lengths to they go to ensure that every game, or in this instance every fight, is clean and above board will determine their future. Right now the UFC has a problem not only with a marquee name like Anderson Silva testing dirty but also the likes of Hector Lombard who tested positive for anabolic steroids after UFC 182 or even Silva’s opponent at UFC 183 Nick Diaz who tested positive for marijuana use post-fight. While I will submit to you that penalties doled out for testing positive for marijuana in not only the UFC but every major sport seems to be a bit asinine considering the rapidly changing social mores regarding its recreational, and of course medicinal, use it is considered verboten and that rule must be respected until it is ultimately repealed.
The long and short is that Dana White must enact more frequent and robust testing of his stable of fighters. Fans and bettors of the sport must know that each fight is on a level playing field with the only advantage being the skill and physical preparation of the participants. Because if one day there is a fatality inside the Octagon and either fighter tests positive for a banned substance then heaven and hell will come to bear on a sport that scaled monumental obstacles to get this sport not only channeled into the mainstream but legalized in the first place.
I will leave you with a quote from Brent Brookhouse of Bloodyelbow.com who stated the following, "Who would I like to see tested? Everyone on your roster, blood test with a full workup that includes everything from steroid panels to HGH screening to EPO screening to carbon isotope ratio testing to check for the presence of synthetic testosterone. Also random timing and no warning."
I couldn’t have said it better and I hope Dana White is taking notes.