Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Outside the Octagon: UFC's Growing Drug Problem

Earlier this week, Chael Sonnen failed a random drug test and has been pulled from his fight against Vitor Belfort.  His test came up positive for two banned substances, Anastrozole and Clomiphene.  This is the second time that Sonnen had an issue with drug testing.  In 2010, after his fight with Anderson Silva his urine sample came back with having 17 times the amount of testosterone for a normal person.  Sonnen is just another example of UFC’s ongoing problem with drugs.  
Many other popular fighters have failed drug tests in the last ten years.  These names include Chris Leben, Alistair Overeem, and the original superstar of the UFC, Royce Gracie.  These failed drug tests have damaged and tainted their careers.  The problem isn’t just on the male side; female fighter Chris “Cyborg” Santos failed a drug test also.  That failed drug test is one of the main reasons she never and probably won’t make it into the UFC.  

Some UFC fighters have even retired because of the drug problem issue.  Brian Stann in a recent interview said that the drug problem was a major reason why he walked away.  He did not believe he was given a “fair shake”.  One of the best welterweight fighters of all time George St. Pierre walked away for the same reason.  He said that the system is flawed and needs major improvements to become legitimate.

The recent banning of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a good start in helping to improve the drug issue.  No other sport allowed TRT but it is still good that UFC finally eliminated that issue.  I think that the UFC should implement an independent drug testing system.  This would make the drug testing more legitimate and make it harder to cheat and pass.  

The UFC needs to fix this problem before it escalades and gets completely out of hand.  They want to try to avoid problems that other sports like baseball and football have with their drug testing.  Hopefully in the next year there is a new drug testing system in the UFC so that fighters will no longer want to retire because of the system. 

 Greg Monforte is a Drexel University Sport Management pre-junior from South Jersey.  Currently he works at Not Just Pizza in Sicklerville, NJ and Daddis Fight Camps in Philadelphia where he has social media and marketing responsibilities.  Greg is also the SMTSU Director of Marketing & Outreach.  Follow Greg on Twitter @Greg_Monforte.
Connect with Greg Monforte on LinkedIn. 

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