PED's and The Next Step To Becoming A Legitimate Sport
by, 04-08-2012 at 06:05 PM (1115 Views)
MMA in the eyes of the majority is a brutal, dangerous and barbaric pastime. Notice I did not say 'Sport', that is because very few people still consider MMA a sport. In the eyes of most, the term MMA does not even exist, the sport is only referred to as Cage Fighting! This to many evokes ideas of 2 men(or women) being locked inside a cage and fighting till one has been beaten unconscious or had limbs broken!
Now to the fans of the sport of MMA, this is a ridiculous point of view. And rightfully so too, MMA is a sport with many rules and regulations to protect the athletes who step into the cage and battle to a hard fought victory. MMA is no more risky than Boxing, Judo, Taekwondo and many other combat sports, and on the whole has a very good safety record.
Obviously the early days of the UFC where the idea was 'There are no rules', has hindered the sport for a long time, however, recent evidence of Fox picking up the UFC product does suggest that there is a realisation that this sport is here and it's here to stay. People are finally coming round to the idea that it takes a great deal of skill and determination to succeed.
There are many MMA organisations around the world now, and the sport still seems to be growing at a phenomemal rate. UFC having TUF on in Brasil as well as the US, with plans to take it all over the world shows that the demand for MMA is growing all the time, also talk of Bellator and a 'reality' show on Spike in the near future shows there is demand for MMA that is not only UFC based.
Now back to my point, the next step to MMA becoming a legitimate sport. I have been concerned recently with many MMA fans(and clearly some fighters feel this way too) reluctance to accept that PED's are bad for the sport. There has been plenty of high profile cases of PED abuse lately, with Leben, Diaz, Marquardt, and now Overeem. I have seen a lot of people on MMA forums, Twitter etc trying to justify the use of PED's, going as far as to say why not just legalize them all to create a level playing field!!!
This is unbelievably stupid, dangerous, and incredibly niave in my opinion. There is simply no reason for 'cheating' with the use of PED's to create a level playing field, if nobody used them there would be a level playing field! These guys are putting their health at risk by using PED's and that of the opponent they face in the cage, this simply cannot be accepted. And in the long run if PED use is not dealt with properly then commissions, authorities, Countries will look at banning the sport, remember this sport is still considered barbaric by many people, and this would be an easy excuse to justify banning MMA.
A ban currently for PED use in MMA can be for as little as 6 months, usually only maybe 1 fight, hardly a deterrent! For the future of MMA there is a need for random testing of all fighters, especially in an organistion such as the UFC. Most elite sports have random testing now and MMA must look to ensuring this happens and happens soon. Also punishments must act as a deterent, therefore longer bans and possible lifetime bans must now be considered. This is for the health of the athletes as much as it is for the future of the sport of MMA.
I was as gutted as everyone was that Overeem was caught using PED's and that his fight with JDS now looks to be off. This is not the fault of the drug testers or commission that found his testosterone levels to be high, the fault lies at the door of Alistair Overeem for cheating, he knew the risk and still decided to cheat. This was a huge headline match-up and now the card for UFC 146 will be weaker as a result of Overeems actions, and nobody elses. It is up to Dana White and Zuffa to decide whether he keeps his job now, and I'm not holding my breath on that one!!! It's a long road back now for Overeem, surely now thinking to himself, 'Why did I do it?' It's for others to realise too, that PED's have no place in sport whatsoever.