Derek Brunson has heard all the excuses.
As a staunch advocate against the use of performance enhancing drugs in mixed martial arts, Brunson has spoken out numerous times against the athletes who have been busted since USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) started year-round drug testing for all UFC athletes.
Having already faced three fighters in the UFC who have a history of some kind with using banned substances, Brunson doesn’t feel much sympathy for an athlete who gets busted and then faces a lengthy suspension as a result.
The same goes for former champion Lyoto Machida, who Brunson faces on Saturday night in his first fight back after serving an 18-month suspension after admitting use of 7-keto-DHEA, a substance that is banned by USADA based on the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) banned substances list.
“Everybody will come out and say ‘I didn’t do this’ but it’s like OK let it play out, save face, whatever, but we all know somebody is going to try to take a supplement that masks something else and something else will show up,” Brunson told MMAWeekly ahead of the fight. “I’ve seen guys get short suspensions like Yoel [Romero], he got six months. He had a [performance enhancing drug] in his body but he came up with an excuse, saying it was in a supplement and wasn’t on the label, which is in my opinion easy to get that done.
“For a guy to take a [18 month] suspension and he was innocent it’s kind of like come on man. You know there was more to it than that. Maybe he wanted people to stop talking about it.”
Machida accepted the 18-month suspension but maintained that he didn’t purposefully take a banned substance, instead blaming USADA for insufficient information being provided to the athletes about what substances aren’t allowed.
That doesn’t fly with Brunson, who makes it clear that fighters should always know what they are putting into bodies and the litany of excuses just makes them look guilty.
“Guys know exactly what they should be doing and what they shouldn’t be doing,” Brunson said. “USADA has a list of banned supplements and substances, you can go to the website and look it up.
“It is kind of ridiculous that all these guys will pop for PED’s or have something in their system but I’m hoping that it shows in their fighting styles. Let’s see what type of fighter you are without that.”
As far as styles go, Machida presents an interesting matchup with his extensive background in karate while also employing counter striking as arguably his best weapon in any fight.
Brunson has faced that kind of fighter before in his career so he doesn’t expect Machida to throw anything at him that he hasn’t seen previously. In fact, Brunson feels like he’s already faced a slightly superior version of Machida just a few fights ago and he earned a knockout in less than two minutes on that night.
“I think he has a lot of tendencies like Uriah Hall,” Brunson said. “In my opinion, if Uriah Hall and Lyoto fought, I don’t know, maybe I’d slightly favor Uriah Hall. I believe Uriah Hall’s a slightly better striker, a little more creative, but I see a lot of the same tendencies in their fighting styles so I definitely see a lot of things I can expose and feel like I can get the finish in this fight.”