By Zach Arnold | July 20, 2007
By Zach Arnold
I want to point out two new articles today that I think you should read online in regards to the steroids problem in Mixed Martial Arts.
Please read the Sportsline article first.
Second, there’s an open-letter to Dana White at Sherdog. View that article here.
Colin Cowherd talked on his radio show today about the different levels of steroids abuse in sports (including wrestling). Audio here. Mauro Ranallo is not happy with all the doping going on in MMA. Audio here. Lance Storm is angry about cable news coverage.
For anyone who doesn’t think that there are drug problems outside of UFC in MMA, you’ll find out differently in the Sportsline article. There is an allegation in the Sportsline article from an individual that agreed to go on-the-record that DSE had a doctor who gave a fighter painkillers. Sportsline spent a full week in communication with DSE lawyers and an official to get comment. No comment was ever given.
Go to full-post mode to read my thoughts on the ‘open letter’ from Josh Gross to Dana White.
I have conflicting thoughts on the Josh Gross ‘open letter’ to Dana White. Listen, I’m not going to deny that there’s major heat between both parties and that Dana has reportedly help exacerbate it. No denying that.
However, I found the Gross letter to be completely self-serving and contributing absolutely nothing whatsoever to the discussion of steroids in MMA. My biggest complaint with the open letter is that it basically shifts the entire blame of MMA’s drug culture onto Dana White, as if MMA has the exact same problems as professional wrestling and Vince McMahon have. That’s not the case.
I like the idea of UFC hosting fighter symposiums to help fighters in regards to education on several topics. I like the fact that UFC isn’t afraid to publicly take a stand against their fighters when they fail a drug test. Do I wish that UFC would release the test results of their privately-administered drug tests in areas with no commission oversight? Sure, I would. Absolutely. However, to railroad against Dana White and basically call him out as the man who should responsible for cleaning up the steroid problem in MMA is ridiculous.
The steroid problem affects every single promoter in the MMA industry. Sherdog covered two events promoted by Pro Elite in June in which 5 guys got busted over two shows. Do we suddenly blame Gary Shaw for being a drug pusher because he had knucklehead fighters who got caught cheating?
The issue of cleaning up the drug problem in MMA is extremely difficult to take on. I spent a little over three weeks writing two articles on CBS Sportsline about MMA’s drug culture. While I learned quite a bit on some of the problems MMA is facing, I can safely say that it would take me years, if not decades to truly understand what the industry is currently facing and will be facing in the future. I couldn’t get a single fighter to go publicly on-the-record in the CBS Sportsline articles, let alone find fighters who want to admit that there was a drug problem in the industry. Placing the blame of MMA’s drug culture simply at the foot of a promoter is irresponsible and clueless.
Now, here’s where I think Gross was on the right track but going after the wrong target. They went after the wrong promoters. If he is so upset about the drug culture in MMA, then start going after the promoters who continually promote events in non-commission areas. Primarily, K-1 and PRIDE. In the Sportsline article, I had a powerful person in MMA claim that DSE (the parent company of PRIDE) had doctors who were giving at least one fighter painkillers in order to fight. Could you imagine the firestorm of controversy UFC would be facing if it was found out in the media that they had a personal doctor giving a fighter drugs? It would be insane.
However, I don’t expect Gross to go after anyone other than Dana White. He’s the easy target to attack. It’s an easy out for the MMA media to go after a guy labeled as a carnival barker when the drug culture in this industry is so much more complex to understand, let alone come up with solutions for.