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Steroids in MMA: Are they here to stay?

Volunteers with the Drug Enforcement Agency, Naval Health Clinic Hawaii and Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Substance Abuse Counseling Center will be collecting old prescription medication and expired over-the-counter drugs at a drop-off collection site near the Marine Corps Exchange in Mokapu Mall during the National Take-Back Initiative day scheduled Sept. 26, 2015. People with drop-offs can go to the collection site between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to safely dispose their old medicines. The SACC, as a part of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, strives to ensure safety as well as provide facilities, programs and services in direct support of units, individuals and families in order to enhance and sustain combat readiness for all operating forces and tenant organizations aboard the installation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Christine Cabalo/Released)

Jon Jones has tested positive for steroids following his bout with Daniel Cormier for the Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 214 in Anaheim, California with the bout now shown as ‘No contest’.

But as the dust has settled over the past few days on a monumental tragedy for MMA, questions are beginning to rise from the debris.

The obvious question is what is next for Jon ‘Bones’ Jones? Well, you can almost be certain that you won’t see him headlining or even appearing at a UFC event anytime soon. Jones’ conviction will most certainly be a ‘death sentence’ to his career and legacy, but will we ever see him compete again?

It’s unlikely, but, the suspension excludes Jon from competing in America, and Jones would have no problem competing abroad in places such as Japan for promotions such as ‘One Championship’ and ‘Rizin Fighting Federation’. As big as these promotions are, neither have the ‘X-factor’ of the UFC, and ultimately Jones may soon fall foul to the controversies surrounding the Japanese promotions, should he choose to do so.

With competitors such as Brock Lesnar also being flagged after UFC 200, and Yoel Romero following suit, it seems USADA are cracking down on the use of performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) within the sport. But, these cases still seem to be cropping up even now, with Jones’ recent ‘flagging’ by USADA being his third.

The notorious Diaz brothers famously quoted “Everyone’s on Steroids”, and If that infamous quote is true, how many athletes have managed to ‘slip under the radar’ without being caught? Giving the fighters a perspective of ‘It’s not cheating if you don’t get caught!’ surely isn’t the message the sport wants to portray or send out to up and coming athletes.

As a result, we may have to accept as fans that the controversies surrounding banned PED’s in sport will always be present, but is the risk for taking steroids truly worth it? Using Lance Armstrong and Justin Gatlin as prime examples, it’s easy to see how PED’s have affected athletes after they’ve been found guilty of taking them, with the after effect of these substances being the least of their worries.

So, it would seem steroids and performance enhancing drugs are here to stay, and these will always be affiliated not just with the sport of MMA but with the world of sport in general. All we can hope for, is for governing bodies such as USADA and WADA to crack down on their testing and be clear and strict about their sanctions.

Lets just hope the athletes, who do have a choice whether to take steroids in the first place, make the right choice.

Shane Murphy
Shane was born in Camden, North London to an English Mother and Irish Father. After studying Primary Education for three years, Shane realised his dream and decided to embark on a sports journalism course. He joined St Mary’s in September 2017 as a trainee sports journalist, and hopes to one day have a social media brand that gives fans instant news from the world of combat sports, which will include Boxing and MMA as its primary topics. After playing Football at senior amateur level for several years, he also trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a grappling based martial art and competes regularly. Outside of those sports, Shane shows an interest in Horse Racing, Rubgy Union and Tennis.  He states that many of his favourite writers and broadcasters stem from the world of boxing and MMA, most notably Gareth A. Davies (Talksport/Telegraph), Ian Darke (BT Sport/ESPN) and Adam Smith (Sky). 
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