Reclaiming A Name

ufc-fn133Steroids have been a big part of all sports for decades now after the MLB was rocked by their biggest scandal that brought questions to an entire era.

These drugs have always been used to gain that competitive advantage, but it is only recently that the usage has become headline news.

Fans can be divided on the subject as some claim that the use of steroids shouldn’t be outlawed and instead they would prefer to see players performing with PEDs.

Many others would prefer to see a clean sport if only to see how far an athlete can push themselves without anything extra helping them along the way.

The UFC and MMA are no strangers to the use of PEDs as they have had issues since the sport first began.

In the old days, the sport went unregulated as the first UFC saw no weight classes and no training.

As the sport evolved the organization began their own testing but it was never really good enough.

That became evident when the UFC decided to begin using USADA to test their athletes only to see some major names fail tests.

The use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy was the biggest hit as huge names went from being unstoppable to looking very human.

Plenty of names like Jon Jones and Frank Mir had been caught for numerous other PEDs or masking agents that are on the banned list.

The USADA testing has brought a new level of responsibility to the UFC and the effects are being shown with those perfectly toned bodies becoming rare.

More fighters are fighting clean and simply looking to compete with their own skills rather than using PEDs.

Overall it has been a positive thing as the UFC continues to fight on the fringes of mainstream and clean sport is one way they are trying to stay among the sports talked about on regular rotation.

USADA is not perfect though and there are plenty of issues that have arisen as a part of the new system used by the UFC.

They are often far stricter than other testing with more banned substances and a few that can be questionable.

Junior dos Santos might just be the perfect example of what can go wrong with USADA testing.

The former heavyweight champion failed an out-of-competition test for hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic used often as a masking agent.

The problem with that substance is that it has a long history of being included in supplements and over-the-counter drugs that are not on the banned list.

The test showed low levels and it seemed very likely that dos Santos had ingested the drug unexpectedly.

Yet still, USADA launched a nine-month investigation and then handed him a six-month suspension keeping him out of the octagon for 15 months.

Despite all of the steps taken by dos Santos to ensure there were no issues he was still caught and handed a massive suspension.

Although the new testing is attempting to keep the sport clean there is still that inability to be flexible based on the situation, which could also be good.

Now with that on his record and his suspension over, dos Santos was looking to get back on track and reclaim his good name.

He would take on a new name in the heavyweight division to try to earn that respect back and make a run back to the title.

Blagoi Ivanov was not going to be an easy test as the former Judo and Sambo champion had put together an impressive MMA career with a 6-1 record.

He was making his UFC debut against the former champion in a tough test to start his UFC career but was trying to make that impression.mma-sidebar.fw

It was a tough fight for both men as neither of them were willing to back down in a five-round battle.

The biggest takeaway from the fight might have been that the former champion looked a lot more like himself than in his recent fights.

He immediately pressured Ivanov and never backed down through five rounds with that signature gas tank.

Although Ivanov put up a good fight and kept things close it seemed clear that dos Santos was the better man on the night.

This is the start to the long road back for dos Santos who not only has to put his inconsistency in the past but also a USADA suspension.

There will be questions for a long time about how much he had accomplished and whether or not PEDs played a role.

The only way to stop that conversation is to get back to that level and his win against Ivanov is the first step in that mission.

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