With another highly anticipated matchup possibly going up in flames, the breaking (though unsurprising to many) news of "The Reem" testing positive for elevated testosterone levels has forced me to finally take a position on this whole steroid debate. My position: let them inject as much into their systems as they deem fit.
I have heard the arguments for and against too many times to count, and have come to the realization that regardless of how many facts experts present either for or against the use of PEDS, many athletes are going to use them no matter what. Why not when they stand to make millions, achieve fame and become world champions of a sport they have dedicated their lives to. The reality is that no matter how many tests or procedures the athletic commissions/governing bodies put into place, red tape moves slower than the black market (for lack of a better descriptor). If there is money to be made there are individuals and companies willing to provide athletes with the chemicals they need to achieve success.
I understand the potential harm that is associated with steroid use, I have witnessed it first hand as a former gym rat. It was as common to walk into the men's locker room and see someone stabbing their ass or thigh with a needle, as it was to see someone taking a piss. Many knew the risks, but the rewards far outweighed those in their minds. Who was I, or anyone for that matter, to tell them they were making the wrong choice. Let's be honest about MMA, steroid abuse poses health risks, but so does getting your head caved in or your appendages broken or torqued well beyond their normal ROM. How many punch drunk fighters are we staring to see struggle to form coherent sentences now that many of the pioneers (in the modern sense) are hitting middle age and older. There are numerous assumed risks with full contact sports.
We live in a reality filled with fantasy. We want our fighters like we want our video games, movies and other entertainment - larger than life. Many of us talk about technique, skill, hard work, beautiful transitions, etc. but much of that is lost on the casual fan or newbie. However, people will stop on a dime to watch two giants beating the hell out of each other. It's the spectacle that many of us crave, so why should we be denied that because the opinions of a few trump the opinions of the masses.
My suggestion is simply this: Allow the fighters to use steroids under the guidance of a licensed medical doctor. Steroids are used everyday in a variety of treatments for numerous ailments and illnesses, they have obvious health benefits, and could even speed up the recovery time for the seemingly rising number of injuries that are occurring in MMA (also affecting many of our dream fights). There is no level playing field in life, people either choose to abide by the law all of the time, some of the time, or not at all. If you play the game you understand this going in.
This is merely an opinion piece. I am not even going to attempt to back up my position with facts or data, many of us here know them already, I am simply an unhappy fan who was looking forward to an awesome fight that is now most likely not going to happen anytime soon. In the end it is only the individual who chooses to use steroids that stands to lose. Let them make that choice.