As the debate over drug use in MMA rages on, Cain Velasquez calls for increased testing

Steroids and PEDs are starting to seem like an undeniable evil in MMA, getting fighters suspended and cut left and right. The debate over anabolic steroids and TRT rages on with no set solution in place.

Many martial artists, such as UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson, have spoken up to advocate increased and/or random testing in order to alleviate the use of PEDs. Today, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez has come out with the same stance, telling MMA Fighting his support of an even playing field:

“There’s rules out there. We all need to follow the same rules.

“Me, I’m a natural athlete. I think all my competitors should be the same. We should be all equal. Nobody should have an advantage like that on their side.”

“You can by looking at me. Me and Daniel (Cormier) were talking about — I forgot who were saying it, but it was two guys, they were trying to think of the two guys that they think, for sure, are not on steroids or anything. The only ones they could come up with are me and Daniel. Just by looking at us, you can tell that we don’t do anything. Or if we do, it’s not very good stuff.”

“So I think we’re both on the side of [increased] testing. For sure, I’m all for that. Being natural, I think, is the best way to be even on the playing field.”

Some simple, yet powerful, words from the world’s best heavyweight. It’s not hard to believe Velasquez’s stance on steroids, as he and American Kickboxing Academy teammate Daniel Cormier would never win a bodybuilding contest. But they are arguably the two most effective heavyweights in MMA as of late.

With two UFC Champions calling out for a new drug-testing program, it seems a fresh plan would at least make some headway towards solving the UFC’s PED epidemic. Failed drug tests for elevated testosterone have ruined cards such as UFC 146 last spring, while many other fighters have been suspended for use.

Marijuana has also been a hot topic in MMA, and it is kind of paralleled against PEDs. With Nick Diaz being suspended and Matt Riddle being cut for using marijuana, Velasquez sees the two as polar opposites:

“I’m looking at, kind of, two spectrums of it.  Living now in California, where you’ll see it on the street, it doesn’t seem as bad. It definitely [desensitizes you to it], seeing somebody just walking down the street, or having [dispensary] shops all around. It definitely does.”

I think that increased, random drug testing for steroids is an obvious avenue for the UFC to take. Too many fighters are using PEDs, with estimates continually coming out as high as 90% of UFC fighters. Whether those figures are true or not, the instances of steroids ruining fights and events are simply too high.

Dana White has recently come out with a stance against TRT. While legal to use with a doctor’s prescription, it definitely treads a fine line between medical use and simply gaining an edge. Of course fighters like Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Frank Mir, and Chael Sonnen are all admitted users of TRT.

The UFC could go a long way towards curing the drug epidemic in MMA with a new and more rigorous testing plan. No, it would not get rid of the problem as a whole, but it would make it a lot harder for athletes looking to gain an illegal advantage. As far as marijuana use goes, I think it’s very hard to call it a PED for an athlete, considering what the effects are.

This is obviously a debate that has many sides to the coin. What are your thoughts on steroids and TRT? Should they be tested for with much stricter methods? Would that even curb their use? And is marijuana being focused on as too much of a problem when true performance-enhancing substances are being relied upon in record numbers? Let me know your stance. 



  1. Profile photo of Brian Cox

    Brian Cox

    March 25, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    …and the debate rages on.

    I don't know that I'd call The UFC's PED problem (if indeed it is a problem) an epidemic. I think that's overstating the case.

    As to The Champ thinking that he and Cormier alone, are the only two fighters in either the HW Division or in all of The UFC, who look like they're not on steroids….please.

    I think the reality of it is, that the vast majority of the fighters are clean. At least, that's my view of it. Have there been or are there fighters, who have used or have had "exemptions", sure. Is it the majority? I don't think, so and I've not seen the evidence to support the case.

    Here's a question I'd like to see posed, what about fighters who used a lot of steroid in the past and have built up large amounts of muscle mass and power, resultantly…should they be held accountable for their previous drug use and should they be sanctioned? And what type of sanctions can you place on an athlete whose used, gained and benefited from it, however, no longer uses?

    As to pot, I am so sick and tired of this being raised as an issue. If a fighter wishes to smoke, then let him. As long as he's not high going into the ring, then I don't care. I see no difference between smoking pot and drinking liquor, beer or wine and you can get a whole lot more F'd-up on that crap, then you ever can on herb.

    Maybe before getting rid of the PEDs', we should get rid of the hypocrisy of former PED abusers being overlooked or not being held to account and consumers of alcohol , being given special treatment over pot smokers, as if they are somehow better.

    Funny, the one episode of TUF that I hate and it's happened every season I can think of, is the cliched, lets get hammered, lets trash the house and then someone starts a fights.
    Next TUF, it's going to be interesting to see how that episode unfolds with women in the house. Particularly if they are also drinking.

    Yeah, Pots' bad.

    • Profile photo of Akordas


      March 25, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      "Here's a question I'd like to see posed, what about fighters who used a lot of steroid in the past and have built up large amounts of muscle mass and power, resultantly…should they be held accountable for their previous drug use and should they be sanctioned? And what type of sanctions can you place on an athlete whose used, gained and benefited from it, however, no longer uses?"
      No steroid use will not make you bigger in the future, its only make you stronger on that single time, steroids are hurting testicles, its means after while less producing testasterone and that make you weaker.

      • Profile photo of Brian Cox

        Brian Cox

        March 25, 2013 at 8:13 pm

        @ Akordas

        Respectfully, if you think that taking juice and pounding heavy weight and training hard and I don't mean that bodybuilding crap and that at the end of it doing it for "years", that you won't retain a huge chunk of your size, mass and power, you would be wrong. 500 lb bench-presses and squats ect. just don't evaporate, because you stopped taking the drugs. Will you keep it all, no. However, where a user may loose a lot of the hardness of their look, they will retain a great deal of the power they've built up over the years. That's an undeniable fact. The only way to really lose that, is to stop training. If the user keeps training, then yeah, he will keep most of the power. Again, I'm not talking bodybuilding or bodybuilders.

    • Profile photo of enjoylife321


      March 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      …I just spoke to Dana on the phone and everyone has got it completely wrong…Dana told me that the UFC is the most tested and regulated sport on planet earth.

  2. Profile photo of odesahitman


    March 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Am I wrong or have steroids become more of an issue since the UFC seeled the deal with FOX?

    To me this whole discussion seems to be designed to legitimize MMA as a sport – however the position that Dana seems to be taking is a moral highground… which I don't believe he can truly occupy as he has obviously turned a blind eye to the subject before.

    Example? Brock Lesnar.

    I think it's great that MMA is being cleaned up to enable it to become seen as a main stream sport… however please don't take a moral high ground and say steroids are wrong as tighters ranging from the Shamrocks, Tito Ortiz etc have been on them for years.

    Ps, I don't have any proof that Tito has been on steroids, but in my opinion anyone who develops facial muscles and an elongated face has probably been dabbling…

    Is this fair or am I missing something?


  3. Profile photo of HolyGrimace666


    March 26, 2013 at 12:46 am

    i hate when fighters say this kind of stuff.. it makes me wish the drug testing was like it was in japan for pride.. just bring a paper saying you're clean signed by whoever you want and go ahead and fight..

  4. Profile photo of MMA Don

    MMA Don

    March 26, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I know the PED issue is important but I think you guys are missing the main point here: Cain Velasquez cracked his first joke!!

    "Just by looking at us, you can tell that we don't do anything. Or if we do, it's not very good stuff.”


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