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TMZ’s Brock Lesnar/USADA story is premature and pointless

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Did Brock Lesnar retire due to a failed drug test? Probably not. And speculating about it is a useless non-controversy.

There’s almost no question that, at some point in his career, Brock Lesnar has been on something. His UFC drug test failure and subsequent suspension is likely proof enough of that. It’s also no secret that professional wrestling has a long and slightly uncomfortable relationship with steroid use. Even with the WWE’s current ‘Wellness’ drug testing policy loopholes for HGH, TRT, and other potential performance enhancing treatments exist—especially if they’re performed under medical supervision.

And all that bypasses the “eye” test, and the fact that Lesnar is built like an absurd superhuman, but tends to look just a little less monsterous when he’s in the USADA pool. So, reports like this one: “BROCK LESNAR TESTED BY USADA Weeks Before MMA Retirement” have a certain amount of stick to them. Unfortunately it also plays into exactly the kind of low-evidence speculation that the UFC’s USADA era has become partner to. An era that feels like everyone is a likely cheat, just waiting to be caught. And when any sudden change in a fighter’s career momentum can be chalked up to possible drug use or current lack thereof.

Since Lesnar and Dana White announced his re-signing with the UFC back in the summer of 2019, his drug testing dates have been a matter of public record. Lesnar was tested 7 times in the second half of 2018, according to the USADA athlete test history database. And twice more in the first two quarters of 2019. Without any firm fight date in place, whether or not he failed a drug test is entirely unknown to the public—since the UFC stopped declaring failures before USADA had finished with adjudication last fall.

All anyone knows is that he was tested regularly over the last several months, and that he retired. The last several years of his MMA and WWE careers have been marked by his playing the promotions against one another to improve his own bargaining power, as well as somewhat more personal competitive whims and health problems. Any and all of which are as likely at play here as Lesnar failing more drug tests, since all are things we’ve seen before.

End of the day, for those that care about drug testing and keeping a ‘clean’ sport, fighters like Lesnar only serve to highlight that the UFC’s goals have less to do with keeping cheaters out than they do exacting punishment. And that the casual speculation that system brings casts a continuously unpleasant pall to the UFC’s atmosphere. For those that aren’t invested in comprehensive drug testing? It’s just another fight we’re not going to see.