by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The problem with steroids in mixed martial arts has been well documented over the past few years. From champions to challengers all testing positive, no one can deny that an issue exists, and while many athletes shy away from the subject, Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder B.J. Penn is happy to give his thoughts on a growing trend that haunts the sport more and more each year.
Many fighters have been tested under numerous athletic commissions, and a staggering list of offenders grows to new heights each day. Recently, the Nevada State Athletic Commission instituted a new “off season” drug testing policy for combat sports and both Penn and former champion Sean Sherk were tested prior to their upcoming title bout on May 24.
While Penn feels the change is a step in the right direction, it is not the answer to the problem of steroids in MMA.
“It’s a positive idea, but it’s not like people can’t get around that stuff any time,” said Penn in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “The people taking steroids that they’re getting from their doctor, they know how to beat the test. They know what they’re doing. The athletic commission, it’s not their fault, they’re trying the best they can to see what’s going on, but steroids or blood doping, growth hormone or whatever, it’s a part of the sport. It’s a black eye on sports, but the athletic commission, that’s the best they can do and you can’t blame them for trying.”
The trend of fighters testing positive hasn’t gone away and the current lightweight champion doesn’t feel enough attention is being paid to the problem.
“The thing that’s so crazy is how it gets swept under the rug,” Penn stated. “It’s like, what would happen in the old days in the Wild West if somebody got caught with two aces up their sleeve? You shoot them right there, you know what I mean? That’s why I tell Sean Sherk he’s dead. It’s just ridiculous.”
The society of fighters using performance enhancing drugs also concerns Penn, who says the people involved are more likely to cover for each other and we may never know just how many athletes are involved in illegal activities.
“We all know. We all know when people fight. You can look at their nipples. You can just know when somebody’s blood doping. We all know,” Penn said adamantly.
“And fighters to fighters, I think so many fighters do it that they all back each other up and say, ‘No, I don’t think he was doing it.’ That’s because you were (expletive) doing it.”
With his upcoming bout with former champion Sean Sherk less than a week away, Penn isn’t afraid to call out anyone with a background that involves performance enhancing drugs.
“It’s a joke and they’re cowards and they’re not real fighters,” he commented. “That’s why I say there’s too many athletes, not enough fighters in this sport. To me fighting’s everything, and it’s such a pure thing, and this and that and they go and pervert it and go and do all this other stuff. And then they’ve got the guts to go out and say they’ve got heart or they train hard. I look at them and I just want to laugh.”