MMA Fighting's Shaun Al-Shatticaught up with UFC Lightweight champ Benson Henderson in Arizona this weekend and got the champ talking about steroids, TRT and other performance enhancing drugs in MMA. Here's what Bendo had to say on the topic:
...for those guys who need a little extra bump, a little extra edge, they know it's illegal. They know they shouldn't be doing it. Those guys are mentally weaker. They don't have that fortitude to push through and say, ‘Yeah, I didn't do this, but I'm still going to beat your butt.' I'm okay with guys taking it, to be honest. If you want to take all the steroids you want, and it cuts off 20 years of your life, but you want that five years of glory -- cool. That's your decision. Go ahead and do whatever you want with your body. But it's still not going to pan out for you in the long run, because I'm still going to beat you.
"I'd be for increased testing," explained Henderson. "It keeps the playing field even. It makes it so guys have to do a better job of either hiding it, or just not taking it. I think a lot of guys would actually just do a better job of hiding. Like guys in the NFL, some get busted, but the guys who get busted are just the, not very intelligent ones, because it's not the hardest thing just to time it correctly to where you don't get caught whenever you get tested.
"That being said, I'd be for more rigorous testing. They want the blood doping testing? We can do that, too. I'm cool with that. Random testing? I'd be for that. I'm all for any testing," Henderson finished. "Random, blood testing; whatever you want to do, let's do it, because for me, I never even considered it."
I have to strongly second Bendo's call for increased drug testing in the sport. If steroids and other drugs are going to be banned from the sport, we need a rigorous and reliable testing regime that will actually catch wrong-doers and not simply drive them to cycle since they know when they will be tested or use substances like human growth hormone that cannot be caught with simple urine tests.
What do you think?
Athletic commissions will tell you that expanded testing is cost prohibitive but I've long advocated a drug testing surcharge. I'd personally happily pay an extra $5 or $10 per PPV or ticket to improve safety protections for fighters.