The past two years of MMA have been riddled with controversy surrounding drug testing failures. The issue reached boiling point after UFC 183 when it was revealed that Anderson Silva failed his drug test for using steroids. As a long-time mixed martial arts ambassador, Silva's shocking drug test results have cast a dark cloud of doubt over the sport's image. Such concerns have prompted the Nevada Athletic Commission to enforce a complete overhaul of their drug testing program.
The authoritative body announced on Friday that fighters found guilty of using recreational drugs, diuretics, and anabolic steroids will be served with much sterner penalties. A first-time offense for recreational drug use, including marijuana, will result in an 18-month ban while using diuretics and steroids will be met with longer suspensions, respectively: 24 months for diuretics and 36 months for steroids. In cases where fighters avoid drug tests altogether, a 48-month ban will be issued. Repeat offenders will be punished more severely, and will eventually be faced with a permanent ban.
Two UFC fighters who are set to perform on Saturday night for the UFC 187 pay-per-view are Daniel Cormier and Travis Browne. When talking to MMAFighting on Monday both fighters revealed their opposing views on the NAC's new punishments.
Daniel Cormier sides with the athletic commission and applauds their efforts to crack down on drug use:
"I think it's good. You have to do something that discourages these guys from cheating, Half the time, guys will take risks if they know the penalty is not too steep. Imagine if a guy like Anderson made as much money as he made, and there was no penalty after making $5-6 million? You have to make sure people know there is no tolerance for this type of stuff. There will be no tolerance for drugs of any kind. So yeah, I think it's great. It will scare these guys into, if you don't give a guy to make a way to earn, to make a living, then they will take notice and not make these mistakes," Cormier explained to MMAFighting.
6 ft 7" heavyweight contender Travis Browne couldn't disagree more. The native Hawaiian believes that a one-year ban is harsh enough:
"A year is bad enough, if you want to send a message, I would say a financial message is harder. You still allow the guy to fight, but, okay, 30-40 percent, I get it, getting fined 30-40 percent of your purse. But, two years out of the game, you're not fighting. Think about it. Most of these guys, if you took me out for two years right now, I would be 34 and trying to make a comeback."
The aspiring heavyweight champion concluded by describing how MMA is undergoing a transitioning phase and went on to mention the Reebok deal:
"Right now, people are whining and complaining about that Reebok thing. We're in that transition phase. This sport is still young. We're not like the NFL, the NBA, MLB. we're growing and we're in transition."
Travis Browne will look to put an end to Andrei Arlovski's career resurgence at UFC 187 this Saturday while Daniel Cormier hopes to achieve his career-long dream of attaining UFC gold in his championship light-heavyweight clash with Anthony Johnson.