HD Net sent out an e-mail earlier today mentioning that they would be discussing steroids in mixed martial arts on tonight's episode. But more importantly than the subject was the fact that they mentioned a UFC Hall of Famer would be on the show to admit that they used steroids during their career.
Initially reading the e-mail did elicit a bit of a "OH MAN!" response from me, but then it just took remembering who is in the actual UFC HoF and remembered that there are already a couple positive testers out there:
- Dan Severn - Signs have generally pointed to Severn being "clean"
- Mask - Not a fighter
- Mark Coleman - There have been many rumors and Severn is on record saying he thinks Mark is on HGH
- Ken Shamrock - Has tested positive
- Randy Couture - Still active. If he was using there would be no way he admits it at this point.
- Royce Gracie - Has tested positive
- Chuck Liddell - Same boat as Couture
It'd be a surprise if the UFC Hall of Famer in question isn't Ken Shamrock. I imagine we'll see him admitting that he used and possibly going as far as suggesting that many of the UFC's fighters are using. This kind of suggestion wouldn't be the only one on the show as UFC vet Dennis Hallman says half the UFC's fighters are on PED's. From tonight's episode:
The steroid story has continued to pick up steam over the past year and over the past two weeks the talk has really ramped up. All of the steroid coverage and the recent talk by Josh Koscheck of Olympic style testing finally pushed UFC president Dana White far enough to elicit a response telling Josh to "shut up."
One can't really fault Dana from a business perspective as he A) does not want the UFC tied up in some sort of steroid scandal as the sport continues to gain ground and B) blood tests are more costly than urine. Having the "that's the job of the athletic commissions" to fall back on is a nice way to avoid having to really drive deeper into the issue.
In talking to media and fighters you'll hear over and over that there are gyms where being on a PED program is basically an accepted part of the training. Several of the early UFC champions have tested positive for something at some point in their career. Bas Rutten tested positive for pain killers, Gracie with steroids, Shamrock with steroids, Randleman turned in a fake urine sample, Josh Barnett with three positive tests, Tim Sylvia with the positive test post-McGee fight, Ricco Rodriguez with cocaine, Mark Kerr (tournament champ) was a steroid user. Many fans point to the fact that these guys used to pop positive tests and now no one does, so the urine tests must be working. But the big difference in today's MMA is money. The more money you make, the better drugs you can use. The better drugs you can use, the less likely you are to get popped by the current joke that is athletic commission testing.
I honestly think we're about to head down the MLB road where unpopular men are going to keep going on record saying that everyone is using, there will continue to be other chatter throughout the sport that big names are using, and eventually something will have to break that leads to a change in how the testing is done. Maybe it will take the confidence in athletes being damaged enough to hurt the sport, maybe it will take a top star admitting to use or maybe it will be something else. Either way, something is going to change eventually.
The only thing that is an absolute is that the steroid story is not going away any time soon.