Smell test? Eye test? Whatever you want to call it, it appears that Paige VanZant feels that several of her 115lb competitors aren't passing it. The rising strawweight star spoke to the assembled media at a recent UFC luncheon to talk about her upcoming bout with Alex Chambers at UFC 191 on September 5th. But, when the conversation turned to the recently implemented USADA drug testing policies, VanZant was quick to point out that she's not sure all the woman around her are clean. (transcription via MMAFighting)
"I will say some of the girls in my weight class have very masculine physiques, and I don't know if you can get those naturally. I'm not a nutritionist, though, so I don't really know. But I am happy that USADA is here and implementing the drug-testing policy."
It's been something of a divisive talking point in WMMA for a while, most particularly centered around Cris Cyborg. It's not that male fighters don't get a lot of scrutiny for their physical appearance when it comes to potential steroid use, but the subtext of gender policing is something that's not really present on the men's side. Allegations of steroid abuse in WMMA always seem to carry that extra threat that potential abusers risk not just their health or the health of others, but their status as actual physical women.
With visible stars like Ronda Rousey and Paige VanZant leading the charge on that kind rhetoric, it seems like there's potential for the eye test to become a more problematic part of policing PED use in WMMA. Following the UFC's own Jeff Novitzky talking up the importance of potential physical indicators and the use of tip lines, open speculation on what looks natural and what doesn't may start to be a much more common theme among fighters. Paige VanZant's not out there naming names yet, but in the meantime she just put her whole division on notice.