Cleat Geeks

Illegal drug use in MMA: What does it mean for the sport?


UFC 183 has been somewhat overshadowed by the buzz, (pun intended) surrounding the use of banned substances in the sport. This was brought on

UFC Fighter Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana.

UFC Fighter Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana.

after the announcement that both, Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz failed their random out-of-competition drug tests on January 9th. Diaz failed for marijuana metabolites, while Silva tested positive for Drostanolone metabolites as well as Aldosterone.

A positive test for marijuana metabolites may not come as a huge surprise when it comes to Nick Diaz. After all, this is the third time that he’s tested positive for this specific drug. The first came in 2007 after a submission win over Takanori Gomi at Pride 33, which resulted in the win being overturned to a no contest. He then tested positive after two of his last three UFC bouts.

UFC Fighter Anderson Silva.

UFC Fighter Anderson Silva.

Anderson Silva’s positive test, however, comes as a shock to many. Silva has had a squeaky clean record throughout his career up until this point. Silva has claimed his innocence, saying that he has not taken any performance enhancing drugs and that he’s an advocate for a clean sport. He has also stated that he plans to fight these allegations and clear his name. No matter the outcome of the Anderson Silva situation. It’s a known fact that illegal substance abuse has become a real problem in mixed martial arts.

After all, the controversy over the Silva and Diaz situation comes just shy of a month after UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, tested positive for cocaine. This positive test came just before his title defense at UFC 182 against Daniel Cormier. The results were not revealed until after the fight which made fans question why the UFC, as well as the Nevada State Athletic Commission, still allowed Jones to compete. For those keeping score, that’s 3 of the UFC’s highest profile stars that have tested positive for illegal substances in the month of February alone. This makes many of us wonder if drugs are becoming more of an issue in the sport as of late, or if there has always been a bigger problem than originally thought, brought to light as a result of a more vigorous testing policy that has been put in place by the UFC.

UFC Fighter Jon "Bones" Jones recently tested positive for cocaine.

UFC Fighter Jon “Bones” Jones recently tested positive for cocaine.

As a long time MMA fan, I have often asked myself this question: What does this mean for the sport? This could potentially be a major problem for mixed martial arts in the near future if it’s not taken seriously. It could possibly turn most casual fans away from the sport, as well as a portion of the hardcore fans. A decline in popularity would, in turn, halt the sport’s growth. I truly hope that the proper measures will be taken to remove this stain from the sport that I love, so that we can continue to watch it prosper for years to come.

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