In a surprising and refreshing move, an MMA fighter has been open and honest about his past performance-enhancing drug usage. John Alessio, a Canadian fighter that has competed all over the map and once challenged Pat Miletich for the UFC welterweight title, was a guest on Sherdog's Beatdown Radio and opened up about his usage in the past:
"I’ll be honest with you," he said. "I’m an honest person. When I was young -- in my 18, 19, 20s, you know, 22 -- I dabbled in a few of them. I tried them out [to see] how it is, so I know what they can do, and I know how they can work against you also."
"There are proven facts [that] it can make you faster and stronger," Alessio said, "but there are proven facts [that] it can gas you out eventually." "I’m not in a weightlifting competition. I’m not in a bodybuilding show," he said. "I’m in a mixed martial arts fight."
The 32-year-old fighter states that he is against PED usage now though:
"In the dark ages of the sport, I tried [PEDs]," he said, "but I also became a firm believer in ‘let’s make this sport natural.’"
"A lot of people have become dependent upon performance-enhancing drugs and stuff because of the mental factor," Alessio said. "They don’t feel as strong; they don’t know if they’ll be as mean out there. And I’m definitely against performance-enhancing drugs. I think it’s kind of silly. I don’t think it is necessary at all. I think you can get everything you need naturally."
The topic came up because Alessio said he was a hyperbaric chamber at the time, and the idea of science helping athletes advance in sport led to him talking about his own experiences. He did make it clear that he never used them for a major fight though:
"I never did [PEDs] for a UFC fight, or any major organization."
Why would he admit to past usage?
"I’m trying to take a stand."
While some might believe it's not the wisest move for Alessio to admit this, I applaud him for his honesty. As a guy who has been actively trying to get back into the UFC though, this might hurt his chances. Alessio, who recently dropped to lightweight, fights this weekend at Score Fighting Series 4 in Hamilton against Ryan Healy.