I would like to start off by saying, I am not an advocate nor have I ever used performance enhancing drugs. Or have I? I was cursed with an insatiable thirst for knowledge for things I don't understand. With all the recent news about HGH testing and the possible MLB and NFL ramifications, I was curious about how it was going to hurt our beloved sport of MMA. I found a documentary called Bigger, Stronger, Faster by Christopher Bell. It is a movie that presents the "other" side of performance enhancing drugs. This movie is worth the 1 hour and 45 minutes of your life if you are interested in all things performance enhancing.
I came away from with movie with a question about performance enhancers. It wasn't the age old question "Do performance enhancers give athletes an edge?". My question is, what defines a performance enhancer? And more importantly, who decides what is (and isn't) acceptable and why?
Marijuana has caused quiet a stir recently here at BE. It was Nick Diaz and his love of all thing Cannabis that stared the heated debate. Is marijuana a performance enhancer? How about Gatorade? Marijuana seems like small potatoes compared to steroids or HGH but says who? Andro and other supplements were legal (some still are) in MLB til a recent change, why? My understanding is anything that helps the body recover faster, build muscle, or helps with red blood cells is labeled a performance enhancer. Where do we draw the line? Is it with injections? Cortisone is an injected steroid that is legal in the NFL and MLB. Maybe we should have a ban on synthetics, ban lab drugs created by mad scientists. Sure that takes care of designer HGH and takes us back to marijuana and other natural enhancers. I know, maybe we should let people who are not informed, have agendas, decide for us. That hasn't worked very well so far either. And what do we do with caffeine?
In his film Christopher Bell raises serious questions about who is using performance enhancers as well. Carl Lewis got caught and was slapped on the wrist. US military pilots use them legally when flying, porn starts inject their dicks to keep erections and gym rats use for that extra muscle. Are we to the point where we should just legalize everything?
I don't have a strong opinion either way on this subject. I have come to the realization that a lot of the athletes I admire have used performance enhancers. Do I enjoy their performances less? Nope. Do I look at record books a little differently now? You bet.
If an athletic commission or sanctioning body says it's illegal, don't do it. An athletes personal beliefs have to take a back seat to whatever regulatory body oversees your sport.