May 27, 2024

Friday Fights: MMA’s drug problem

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts is plagued by the rampant use of drugs. In this edition of Friday Fights, Adam Milliken takes a look at the issue and details what course of action organizations have taken to try to solve the problem.

Photo by Elite Sports Tour, courtesy of No changes made.

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Recently, No. 2 UFC middleweight contender Yoel Romero tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Romero has gone from next in line for a title fight to stuck in limbo awaiting to hear what his potential punishment will be.

This example isn’t rare.

In fact, something like this is quite common in mixed martial arts. All throughout the MMA, there is a rampant drug issue that has been so ingrained into the sport’s DNA that many haven’t noticed it and they need the help of a drug rehab baltimore md.

Take Anderson Silva for example.

He is, pound-for-pound, one of the greatest MMA fighters to ever compete and was someone that the fans thought stood for something better in the sport. However, back in January 2015, just before UFC 183 was scheduled to take place, Silva failed a pre-fight drug test. His positive test suggested the use of PEDs. If you’re an inclination to alcohol, talk to experts who provide alcohol treatment

Silva tested positive for substances that help an athlete retain and/or gain muscle without gaining extra mass, which would be a huge benefit to athletes in a weight class system. Places like the addiction treatment beverly hills can help people addicted

Many people were shocked by this development. People simply couldn’t believe that the man who so many thought was above the cheating and doping was actually just as guilty as the rest.

A fantastic legacy, a man who many consider the best ever, that is now being displayed with an asterisk and even crossed out altogether by some.

PED use isn’t the only drug issue that is present in today’s MMA environment. There is also widespread recreational drug use. Back in January 2015, Silva’s scheduled opponent, Nick Diaz, failed a post-fight drug test. Diaz’s failed test stemmed from the use of marijuana rather than PEDs.

As a result of these failed tests, Silva was suspended for one year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) which was upheld by the UFC.

Diaz originally received a five-year suspension, although that was recently reduced to 18 months. He is eligible to make his return in August.

[table td1=”Fighter” td2=”Drug Policy Violation” td3=”Original Punishment”] [td1] Jon Jones [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for recreational drugs [/td2] [td3] 1 year suspension, stripped of LHW title [/td3] [td1] Anderson Silva [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] 1 year suspension [/td3] [td1] Nick Diaz [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for recreational drugs [/td2] [td3] 5 year suspension [/td3] [td1] Yoel Romero [/td1] [td2] Potentially tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] TBA [/td3] [td1] Wanderlei Silva [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] 3 year suspension [/td3] [td1] Hector Lombard [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] 1 year suspension [/td3] [td1] Abdul-Kerim Edilov [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] TBA [/td3] [td1] Gleison Tibau [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] 2 year suspension [/td3] [td1] Tim Means [/td1] [td2] Potentially tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] TBA [/td3] [td1] Mirko Cro Cop [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] 2 year suspension [/td3] [td1] Brian Ortega [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] 9 month suspension [/td3] [td1] Mike Richman [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] 2 year suspension [/td3] [td1] Kevin Casey [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] 1 year suspension [/td3] [td1] Mike King [/td1] [td2] Tested positive for PEDs [/td2] [td3] 9 month suspension [/td3] [/table]

As the table above displays, drug use in MMA is widespread and is a deep-rooted issue. In the past two years alone, there have been numerous failed drug tests by MMA fighters. There are 13 pictured in the table and many more not included. This has become an issue that shouldn’t continue to surprise fans and observers.

Regardless of whether or not one would like to admit it, it appears clearly evident that the MMA definitely has a drug abuse problem.

With that being established, the next logical question to ask would be, does it really matter that there is a drug problem throughout the sport?

The answer is, again, a resounding yes.

Although the UFC and other MMA organizations do have the advantage of being marketed for a niche audience, there is a glaring problem with that. While they are currently only directed at a smaller, yet loyal, fan-base, they have been attempting relentlessly to break into the mainstream for some time now. The raging drug dilemma threatens to derail that progress, though.

Continued drug policy violations will only garner negative attention and press that will dissect organizations for allowing the issue to become so out of control.

It also projects the perception that any legitimacy that the sport gains will be immediately undermined — otherwise meaning there would be no clear way to discern who the best was or who deserved to win.

There would be no fan favorites.

Because of this, the UFC and other MMA organizations have taken a much harsher stance on the PED and drug use issue. The UFC specifically announced its new drug policy last year, which had major updates.

It implemented year-round drug testing. It introduced a much more severe penalty system, with a one year ban for first time offenders of “Specified Substances” (recreational drugs), and a two-year ban for first time offenders of “Non-specified Substances” (PEDs).

A fighter who tests positive will also be stripped of any title or rank that they possess, and they will be forced to forfeit any compensation for the bout. The fight’s result will be disqualified.

Additionally, the UFC has banned fighters from using IV’s to hydrate themselves after a weigh-in. This is because IV’s can be used to cover up the use of illegal substances.

These new, stricter rules and regulations by the UFC and other promotions are good for the sport.

The hope is that these much steeper punishments will deter fighters from using banned substances altogether. However, I believe that the consequences should be even more severe than they are currently.

Any violation of the anti-doping policy should result in a minimum ban of two to three years, with all titles and rankings being stripped, and bout result and compensation being taken away. Not only that, but there should be astoundingly high fines for violations of the policy. A second offense should result in a permanent ban.

To some, those penalties may sound a bit too harsh. But what needs to be remembered is that MMA isn’t just combating the use of drugs and PEDs. It’s combating an entire drug culture that has been well established and ingrained in the lives and identities of the fighters.

To create a culture change, there must be extreme consequences that make it far more beneficial for individuals to change their behavior and follow the rules. Culture doesn’t change overnight, but it can be done.

One step at a time.

Featured image by Elite Sports Tour

Edited by Cody McClure

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Adam is the Assistant Sports Editor for the Tennessee Journalist and a Junior at UT. Most of his free time is spent watching sports, listening to good music, and enjoying life. If you wish to contact him, you can email him at, follow him on Twitter, @AdamMilliken14, or find him at

1 thought on “Friday Fights: MMA’s drug problem

  1. I love fight. I love to read fight news. Every fight knock me as I am a fighter. This blog enthusiasm me a lot and I

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