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ColinBollocks

The "Jon Jones gone screwed up again" thread

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Serious question, and I know this subject is as old as the hills, but: would MMA be massively altered if drug testing was just scrapped altogether and fighters were allowed to put whatever they wanted into their bodies? You could argue that the headliners would have access to better PEDs, but then they'd also be matched against someone who had similar access. The Askren/Lawler fight was interesting if you compare physiques; Lawler was quite ripped, whereas Askren looked just.... well, kind of normal. I'm not suggesting Lawler was juiced, but does it really make that much of a difference, compared to things like age, training camps, dedication, mindset, natural ability?

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2 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

Serious question, and I know this subject is as old as the hills, but: would MMA be massively altered if drug testing was just scrapped altogether and fighters were allowed to put whatever they wanted into their bodies?

Giving already physically gifted, highly skilled athletes and fighters carte blanche to ramp themselves up into a completely unnatural physical condition then setting them loose to punch and kick each other in the head?

Yeah, what could possibly go wrong there?

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14 minutes ago, David said:

Giving already physically gifted, highly skilled athletes and fighters carte blanche to ramp themselves up into a completely unnatural physical condition then setting them loose to punch and kick each other in the head?

Yeah, what could possibly go wrong there?

Well, what I'm driving at is how much more dangerous is it to kick someone or punch someone in the head while on drugs? The Pride guys seem to have done OK, relatively speaking. It's not a hill I want to die on or anything, but given that being in an unnatural physical/mental state is part and parcel of fighting in a cage for a living, would the consequences of scrapping drug tests make that much difference to the fights themselves and how fighters prepared for them? Would upstanding fellows like GSP still remain pure or would he have a bit of it? Couldn't you make a case that, if yer GSPs and Bispings are on the level, it'd be actually better not to take any drugs at all as it might take you into a psychological minefield that yields false confidence?

Edited by Brewster McCloud

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4 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

Well, what I'm driving at is how much more dangerous is it to kick someone or punch someone in the head while on drugs?

Go back and watch Vitor Belfort while he was on TRT and you'll see a classic example of the difference it makes.

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On TRT Belfort was literally headkicking guys into oblivion, such as Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, Dan Henderson. He also smashed through and subbed Anthony Johnson.

Once he was forced to stop using the PED, his appearance and performances drastically changed, as you can see above.

It makes a huge difference in some cases, and whilst PED's alone won't make you a great fighter, they can turn a very good fighter into a great one, allowing them faster recovery and so forth.

It's also a dangerous enough sport as it is. Could you imagine if someone got seriously hurt and it was revealed that the guy he was fighting was juiced up? It would be a PR nightmare.

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OK, Belfort is one example of someone who had a much better record while he was on the jazz. But did the non-drug takers he smashed through suffer any lasting damage as a result? 

Belfort is a bit of an outlier, though, as he came to prominence so early - you have to consider factors such as age, previous fights, and the transition from Pride to UFC as part of his decline. 

The faster recovery point is interesting - isn't that a good thing? It's a short career as it is. Would drugs really turn a good fighter into a great one, though? I suspect it wouldn't be as dramatic as that, and surely, it's apples and oranges? It's a bit like when fanboys claim certain writers/musicians were only as good as they were because of the drugs, as if William S. Burroughs wouldn't have been able to write as well as he did unless he was a heroin addict, rather than despite it.

Yes, it's a dangerous sport (the hazards are real!), that's why we watch it. Of course, it would be a PR nightmare, and I'm not seriously suggesting the UFC scrap drug testing - they never would. This is a hypothetical discussion on the Internet, nothing more. 

Edited by Brewster McCloud

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31 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

OK, Belfort is one example of someone who had a much better record while he was on the jazz. But did the non-drug takers he smashed through suffer any lasting damage as a result?

Go back and watch the finishes to those fights and you tell me. Is getting kicked in the head by a juiced-up wrecking machine ever going to be a good thing? Also, we won't really know until we see fighters hit their later years.

You mentioned PRIDE earlier, and we've already seen reports that Wanderlei Silva is suffering some serious issues due to the damage he took over the years, and another PRIDE mainstay in Mirko Cro Cop has just retired due to having a stroke at 44 years old.

34 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

The faster recovery point is interesting - isn't that a good thing? It's a short career as it is. Would drugs really turn a good fighter into a great one, though? I suspect it wouldn't be as dramatic as that, and surely, it's apples and oranges?

Would drugs turn a good fighter into a great one? it depends on what drugs they're using, doesn't it? Erythropoietin increases red blood cell count, which helps to keep the body oxygenated. A good fighter who, under normal circumstances is carrying significant muscle mass would gas out pretty quickly in an MMA fight. Using EPO he or she could fight at a higher level for much longer.

Bromantan is well known not just for the masking qualities it has which can help hide other PED's in the system, but for its qualities as a stimulant. It can help an athlete remain alert and less fatigued for longer, which would give them a definite edge.

I could go on, but I won't bore you or anyone else. 

Another factor that has to be taken into account is the effects these PED's have on the user. Blood thickening that can cause clots, strokes, heart attacks and so on.

42 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

It's a bit like when fanboys claim certain writers/musicians were only as good as they were because of the drugs, as if William S. Burroughs wouldn't have been able to write as well as he did unless he was a heroin addict, rather than despite it.

There's a difference between a musician or a writer using recreational drugs and putting pen to paper or lifting a guitar, and a highly trained combat athlete using drugs to allow them to be faster, leaner, more explosive and so on in a fist fight.

44 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

Yes, it's a dangerous sport (the hazards are real!), that's why we watch it. Of course, it would be a PR nightmare, and I'm not seriously suggesting the UFC scrap drug testing - they never would. This is a hypothetical discussion on the Internet, nothing more. 

It's a hypothetical question that anyone with a shred of knowledge on the dangers of the sport, and the dangers of the PED's in question knows the answer to though. 

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Yep, I saw this had new replies and wondered how the GOAT had Jones'd it up again.

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23 minutes ago, David said:

Go back and watch the finishes to those fights and you tell me. Is getting kicked in the head by a juiced-up wrecking machine ever going to be a good thing? Also, we won't really know until we see fighters hit their later years.

You mentioned PRIDE earlier, and we've already seen reports that Wanderlei Silva is suffering some serious issues due to the damage he took over the years, and another PRIDE mainstay in Mirko Cro Cop has just retired due to having a stroke at 44 years old.

Would drugs turn a good fighter into a great one? it depends on what drugs they're using, doesn't it? Erythropoietin increases red blood cell count, which helps to keep the body oxygenated. A good fighter who, under normal circumstances is carrying significant muscle mass would gas out pretty quickly in an MMA fight. Using EPO he or she could fight at a higher level for much longer.

Bromantan is well known not just for the masking qualities it has which can help hide other PED's in the system, but for its qualities as a stimulant. It can help an athlete remain alert and less fatigued for longer, which would give them a definite edge.

I could go on, but I won't bore you or anyone else. 

Another factor that has to be taken into account is the effects these PED's have on the user. Blood thickening that can cause clots, strokes, heart attacks and so on.

There's a difference between a musician or a writer using recreational drugs and putting pen to paper or lifting a guitar, and a highly trained combat athlete using drugs to allow them to be faster, leaner, more explosive and so on in a fist fight.

It's a hypothetical question that anyone with a shred of knowledge on the dangers of the sport, and the dangers of the PED's in question knows the answer to though. 

 

Of course I'm not saying that getting kicked in the head by a juiced up wrecking machine is a good thing, but neither is getting kicked in the head by a non-juiced up wrecking machine. What I'd like to know is how much more of a difference re: brain damage it makes. And yes, we don't really know just now how much damage a career in MMA entails long-term because it's still a new sport. Nobody will have a clue about that until about 20 years in the future. I would imagine it'll be similar to the damage NFL players take, probably more so. 

Are Cro Cop and Wanderlai really the best examples to use, though? I'd put them down as freak outliers. Cro Cop just won his last fight, didn't he? I honestly didn't know about the stroke, and that's a shame, but whether or not it was MMA-related we just don't know yet. 

And you didn't bore me at all - the stuff about drugs I was ignorant about and I really appreciate the reply as you've educated me, which is kind of what I wanted. I think I'm ready to cede the argument to you, sir!

 

Edited by Brewster McCloud

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12 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

Are Cro Cop and Wanderlai really the best examples to use, though? I'd put them down as freak outliers.

I think we can say that about most of the PRIDE roster though, can't we? it was full of "colourful characters," and it was well-known for its really lax approach to drug use. 

12 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

Cro Cop just won his last fight, didn't he? I honestly didn't know about the stroke, and that's a shame, but whether or not it was MMA-related we just don't know yet. 

Of course we can't be sure if it's MMA related, but a relatively healthy man of 44 years who suffers a stroke after previously being popped for using Human Growth Hormone and what he himself described as a "cocktail of drugs" to try and heal a shoulder injury before a fight is always going to raise questions, isn't it?

I'm fairly sure that being smacked on the head repeatedly for the past 20 odd years or so is going to lead to some form of traumatic brain injury, however minor it may be. Throw the PED usage in there (both the recent documented violation and anything he may have done in the dark years in Japan) and you have a nasty combination the likes of which we've seen in the past in the pro wrestling world.

Will we see some of the so-called "2nd generation" of MMA fighters die early in life like we seen in pro wrestling during the pill and steroid era? who knows? A lot of those guys are now just hitting their late 40's and early 50's I think, so I guess we'll see.

12 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

And you didn't bore me at all - the stuff about drugs I was ignorant about and I really appreciate the reply as you've educated me, which is kind of what I wanted. I think I'm ready to cede the argument to you, sir!

Thanks, that's much appreciated. I didn't want to ramble on to the point of putting people to sleep. 

I think USADA CEO Travis Tygart sums it up well in this statement he made a few years back;

Quote

“Ultimately, our goals are to keep the Octagon clean and to protect the rights of clean athletes within the UFC.” 

“Not only do athletes need to consider their health and safety when it comes to the use of prohibited substances, but also the damage that such use can inflict on their own legacy.”

I can be critical of USADA on occasion, as I think they are a little too stringent on the trace amounts of certain substances that they pop athletes for, but it's better to err on the side of caution than be too lackadaisical I guess.

Edited by David

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1 hour ago, Brewster McCloud said:

OK, Belfort is one example of someone who had a much better record while he was on the jazz. But did the non-drug takers he smashed through suffer any lasting damage as a result? 

Michael Bisping’s detached retina came as a direct result of a TRT Belfort headkick in 2013. 

MkTUsC.jpg

Of course, it could’ve happened if he was fighting a 100% clean fighter but we’ll never know. 

On the plus side, Luke Rockhold’s chin has never been the same since TRT Belfort Ryu spinkicked it to smithereens. Allowing Bisping to knock him out and win the title. So syringes and roundabouts and all that. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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I must’ve read that about 7 times. I didn’t want to say anything in case I’d missed something and been whooshed. Or in case you’d had a stroke. Sorry, Mirko. 

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14 hours ago, David said:

On TRT Belfort was literally headkicking guys into oblivion, such as Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, Dan Henderson. He also smashed through and subbed Anthony Johnson.

Once he was forced to stop using the PED, his appearance and performances drastically changed, as you can see above.

It makes a huge difference in some cases, and whilst PED's alone won't make you a great fighter, they can turn a very good fighter into a great one, allowing them faster recovery and so forth.

Aye, Belfort is one of the worst offenders. Mousasi is convinced that he was also psychologically wounded when he came off the gear. It's a theory that Bisping has parroted about one of his ex-trainers when they stopped using steroids. It robbed them of their confidence. For me, that's a possible explanation for Jones' positive tests in 2016 and 2017. Jones didn't want to lose the comfort zone that PED-use gave him, even if he didn't really need them. He thus gambled on cheating the tests. 

I think Jones was cheating the tests from his UFC debut onward. When he came onto the scene in 2009/2010, it's commonly accepted that the vast majority of fighters were using illegal performance enhancers and still finding ways to pass the tests. It was just part of the game back then. I remember it being discussed on Sherdog radio at the time. I think the stated figure was in the region of 75-80% of fighters were on something or another. A lot of top fighters from that era have been caught out by USADA (Lesnar, Mir, Anderson, Barnett etc). So it could be a case of old habits dying hard and a certain comfort level. Or maybe they are all merely hyper-competitive and would try and cheat the system in any era. Who knows. 

 

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