Opinion: GSP Takes A Stand
By Jesse Heitz
This week surely has been a mixed bag regarding the topics that have dominated the MMA news cycle. The one I’ll comment on in this piece is amongst my very favorite topics to chatter about. As the title clearly implies, removing all mystery and suspense in the process, it’s about steroids.
Former UFC Welterweight Champion, Georges St-Pierre, took to the microphone earlier this week, making some comments that may very well have ruffled some feathers down at Zuffa’s corporate headquarters. In an interview later published by Fox Sports, St-Pierre stated,
“The only thing I want to say is that I wanted to do something to help those who are honest in the sport. Believe me or not, I never took drugs in my life. I’ll take a lie detector test. I don’t care. I’m for anti-doping tests. I think it’s a big problem in the sport.”
Quickly coming to the defense of the UFC and its current vigor in stamping out the use of performance enhancing drugs among its athletes was UFC CEO, Lorenzo Fertitta. Remarks he made to ESPN regarding St-Pierre’s comments were also featured in the aforementioned article, his statement reads as follows,
“We’ve made it clear, through presentations at various athletic commissions, that we advocate for the most rigorous drug testing possible. We’ve actually advocated for harsher penalties for PEDs.”
“Maybe Georges didn’t understand the level of drug testing Nevada was doing. They are the ultimate authority that handles drug testing, medicals and everything else — and they are very capable.”
I highly doubt that any of us are living in a dream world in which professional athletes, of any sport, aren’t still using performance enhancing drugs. Sure, it may not be as severe and widespread now as it was throughout the entire sports world in the 1980s and 1990s, but let’s face it, steroids are still far too commonplace. MMA has been riddled with positive tests for steroids with numerous well-known fighters making that shameful list.
In my opinion, MMA has the least amount of leeway with steroids. In this sport, the athletes aren’t swinging a stick at a ball. No, they’re swinging fists, knees, elbows, and legs, at another human being. BJ Penn once compared entering the cage on steroids to entering the cage with a baseball bat. Herein lies the problem with Fertitta’s statement. Even if the UFC and the Nevada State Athletic Commission adheres to exceptional testing practices, an unhealthy amount of fighters are still able to step into the cage with that “baseball bat” advantage, as they’re never caught until after the fight.
As such, I say bravo to St-Pierre. He had the courage to do what is right, to speak out in stark opposition to blatant cheating. More importantly, he had the moxie to call out his former, and possibly future, employer as well as the athletic commissions. He challenged the industry to do more, to be better. I think we should all applaud his comments on “juicing”.