Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Steroids in MMA: Are they here to stay?

Posted on 28 September 2017 by Shane Murphy

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.