Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt’s recent dust-ups with state athletic commissions over testosterone replacement therapy have made it clear that the issue of performance enhancing drugs in MMA is legitimate and rapidly needs dealing with.
Especially in the wake of Marquardt’s firing from the UFC, many fighters have begun speaking out on PEDs in MMA. Some of the allegations made by the fighters speaking out against PED usage have been alarming, as was the case when UFC light heavyweight Krzysztof Soszynski recently explained to MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that, by his estimation, well over half of the fighters currently competing are using some form of PED.
“I would definitely say somewhere in the percentage of 85 percent of guys are definitely using, especially the guys who can afford it are definitely using,” said Soszynski. “I would even go as high as 95 to 96 percent of the top level athletes that are definitely using it. You can clearly see it.”
Currently rehabbing a knee injury, Soszynski explained that he’s been approached with the offer of several different illegal remedies (up to and including stem cell injections), some of which are apparently completely undetectable in a fighter’s system.
Under the existing system, fighters are tested only during fight week, but, as Soszynski pointed out, most of a fighter’s hard training occurs several weeks out from a fight. This means that one could hypothetically use PEDs to get through the most strenuous portion of the training camp and cycle off in time to register regular hormone levels come fight week.
“Ten weeks out, eight weeks out, six weeks out — that’s when all the training happens,” he said. “That’s when you’re training at your hardest, at your peak. Every athlete who knows how to train properly knows they’re going to have to taper off two weeks, two and a half weeks out from their fight so they’ll be in perfect condition for their fight. All the hard training happens eight, ten weeks out. That’s the time when everybody’s doing their drug abuse and that’s when they’re taking their testosterone and their steroids. That’s when I think fighters should be tested.”