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Fedor Emelianenko talks PEDs: 'People are trying to substitute hard work with drugs'

PRIDE legend Fedor Emelianenko talks about the effect PEDs are having on MMA.

Joe Corrigan/Getty Images

A lot has happened in the world of Mixed Martial Arts since PRIDE's longtime heavyweight champion, Fedor Emelianenko, retired in 2012 after a first round knockout victory over former UFC champion Pedro Rizzo.

The final stanza of Emelianenko's career was bittersweet - while "The Last Emperor" wrapped his career up with 3 straight victories, they were preceded with 3 quick loses to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson. Since those 3 losses, two of Fedor's opponents have faced PED controversies. Henderson was an advocate for and user of the now banned Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Antonio Silva has failed a drug test due to 'elevated testosterone'.

Speaking to at a press conference in New York City, Emelianenko stated that he feels people who are caught taking PEDs should face tougher punishment:

"I feel that they should increase the punishment or control what's happening," he said. "There's definitely more room for control over it. I feel betrayed by those who actually enhance their performance with various drugs. It's unfair, and it should definitely be stopped. It reflects on the sport overall, as well as the fighters, in a very negative way. And athletes should get to where they're going because of all the work they put in, not because they are taking something that will enhance their performance."

In an interesting turn of events, Emelianenko's opinions on PEDs line up almost identically to UFC president Dana White's, whom he famously never saw eye-to-eye with. Fedor went on to say that during his career he pushed his body to its limits and he feels that was the key to his success:

"When I was competing I would run daily 20 kilometers, and in addition to that I'd put in many hours of fighting and sparring. That's why I was always able to keep the speed in the ring. I would train so hard that sometimes it was not only hard to stand up, but it would also be hard to lay down. Nowadays in not just this sport, but in other sports, people are trying to substitute that hard work with drugs."

Fedor is currently on a publicity tour along with UFC legends Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie and Tito Ortiz for Bellator 134 - The British Invasion, which takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Friday night.