As anyone and everyone who has followed any sports publication at any time in their lives already knows, the UFC has a massive PED problem on its hands. Almost every sport, if not every sport, has had to deal with this issue in one way or another, but for UFC the consequences are much more severe. In baseball, you’ve seen notable players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have their legacies tarnished by PED use, and in cycling Lance Armstrong had his record seven Tour de France titles taken away. But in UFC, its not about hitting a baseball farther or riding a bike faster. PED use in the UFC isn’t just cheating it’s dangerous.
In the UFC, by using PEDs you’re not just risking your own reputation and place in the sport, you’re risking the health and well being of your opponents. With that being said, you’d think the UFC would have by far the strictest policy on using these banned substances, but if you take a look you’ll realize they’re actually one of the most forgiving. Everyone knows about this issue in UFC after reading countless articles and headlines about it, so instead of focusing on the obvious problem, I’ll focus on possible solutions.
As far as I’m concerned, the UFC has three options as to what they can do about PED use in the sport. They could a) Get serious about keeping PEDs away from their sport by drastically improving their drug testing policy and making consequences much more severe, b) Make the use of PEDs completely okay in the sport and then fighters would be able to choose whether they want to train naturally or with the performance enhancing substances, or c) They could keep their current position of straddling the line between strict enforcement of anti-PED use and allowing PED use to continue.
If they go with option A, UFC will have to commit a significant amount of money towards strictly enforcing their drug policy. They could conduct drug tests in complete adherence to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s code, administering tests randomly and often. Anyone found violating the drug policy would face a lengthy suspension and considerable fines. If a fighter violates the policy multiple times, he should be banned from fighting in UFC or any other league. If the UFC is serious about wanting PEDs out of the sport, this is what they will inevitably end up doing.
Say the UFC doesn’t want PEDs out of the sport. Maybe they want their athletes as strong as possible, even if that means using performance-enhancing drugs. Well then they could go with Option B. What the UFC could do then is announce the use of PEDs is no longer against its policy. Fighters would then be able to use these drugs to benefit themselves, or they could opt to not use them at their own risk. I don’t know if this is the best idea, but it certainly wouldn’t be unfair.
Option C would more or less be for the UFC to do nothing. They have policies in place right now to keep their athletes from using PEDs, but its obvious to every fan, athlete, and employee at UFC that these policies are largely ineffective. In my opinion this would be the worst thing the UFC could do, as I believe it would put the league at risk of not being around after another five to ten years or so.
Whatever the UFC decides to do, they ought to do it quickly. Feel free to weigh in on the subject in the comments below, and check back here at scifighting.com for all your up to date news in MMA and much more!