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« | Home | »

Namedropping: Bob Sapp & BALCO

By Zach Arnold | March 31, 2008

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(Hat tip: Mikeinformer.)

As if things couldn’t get any worse for the giant from Seattle:

Novitzky said 30 athletes were called to testify before the grand jury in 2003. Novitzky didn’t identify any of the athletes, but testified there was “some evidence” that professional wrestler Bob Sapp — who briefly played in the NFL — bought steroids from Arnold.

Novitzky is expected to finish testifying on Tuesday and prosecutors plan to next call sports doping expert Don Catlin to the witness stand.

Catlin has developed numerous tests to detect performance-enhancing drugs and helped expose hundreds of cheating athletes. He discovered both of Arnold’s previously undetectable steroids — THG and norbolethone — that are at the heart of the BALCO investigation.

Thankfully, the Arnold in question is not me or a family member. (That would be a hell of a story, though.) Here’s the last image most American fight fans saw of Bob Sapp:

Been a hell of a few years for both Sapp and Michael Connette.

Topics: MMA, Media, Pro-Wrestling, Zach Arnold | 47 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

47 Responses to “Namedropping: Bob Sapp & BALCO”

  1. ilostmydog says:

    Snapzilla! Never would have expected that…

  2. Skwirrl says:

    Kinda surprised Bob can afford the really good stuff.

  3. white ninja says:

    i just cant wait for somebody to come out and demand “documentary proof that [insert name of any MMA fighter] used steroids in Japan” :)

  4. UFC 4 Life says:

    wow. i mean who would have ever in a million years think bob sapp was on something.

    i thought cm punk got his gimmick from sapp.

  5. The Gaijin says:

    Well you see in this case there is some semblance of proof that actually implicates him in steroid abuse, rather than pure conjecture. Recall that accusations without proof aren’t much more than hollow accusations…

    See the difference?

  6. Grape Knee High says:

    While I think it’s a good thing to keep steroids illegal and to enforce these laws, I am starting to wonder if it’s not such an efficient use of taxpayer money to continue these ridiculous steroid witch hunts.

    There are plenty of other more pressing political and societal issues than taking down athletes who took some drugs and lied about it.

  7. ttt says:

    it works by setting an example on the highest profile athletes

  8. cyphron says:

    Bob Sapp is the only one in Japan who uses steroids. I’m sure no one else in Japan uses steroids either. I just can’t figure out why “average” fighters become champs in America while previously “great” fighters come off worse.

    It must be the water over there.

  9. Grape Knee High says:

    ttt, my point went entirely over your head, didn’t it?

    cyphron, and I’m sure only fighters in Japan use steroids. No one in the UFC would ever consider using steroids, because we all know there’s no way to game the test.

  10. cyph says:

    Are you talking about HGH? The one where a recent study found that it actually hinders performance?
    http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/ny-sphearing135574545feb13,0,5105013.story

    Mizark, how come these Pride fighters don’t game the system just like all the UFC fighters?

  11. cyph says:

    Here’s another article to debunk this myth once and for all.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23677433/

  12. cyph says:

    I’m on a roll. This article is from Newsweek magazine:

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/112768

    The fact remains: If HGH does help, it levels the playing field for both Pride and UFC fighters. When abilities (and muscle mass) drop off after the transition, one must suspect that something is amiss, and that’s anabolic steroid.

  13. Grape Knee High says:

    cyph, what myth are you talking about? Forget about HGH for a second, I must be misunderstanding you since you seem to be saying that UFC fighters don’t use steroids.

    Are you?

  14. The Gaijin says:

    All I’m saying is it would be nice to see some proof to go with the accusations. Last I check the burden of proof for things like this lies with the party attempting to prove it’s truth, not the other way around.

    There’s plenty of other factors that come into play other than the popular performance enhancing drug argument. *What about change in rule sets?

    *Difference b/w cage and ring?

    *The fact that weight cutting is very popular in the US (due to the heavy influence of amateur wrestling) and not so popular elsewhere

    *You’ve got a lot of fighters coming into someone’s “home field”, for lack of better word and fighting under their rules that they’ve fought under for years, if not their entire career –

    You think maybe these might also be a larger part of the explanation?

    Look, I’m not saying that fighters did or didn’t use PED’s in Japan, but to think that they were/are the only ones that did it, when we’ve seen all the pro sports in North America that have rampant abuses and proved that they know how to get away with it even with testing and saying its the sole explanation for everything – is in a word, FOOLISH.

  15. cyph says:

    cyph, what myth are you talking about? Forget about HGH for a second, I must be misunderstanding you since you seem to be saying that UFC fighters don’t use steroids.

    Are you?

    No, I did not. I merely stated that steroid abuse is rampant in Japan. That is all I’m saying.

    You were the one that insinuate that UFC fighters are using steroids too. I don’t discount that. But that fact does not invalidate my criticism of how Japan condones and encourages the use of steroid by their lack of testing for it.

    I think if you want to find evidence of it, it’s right before your very eyes. Go on Youtube. Compare Bob Sapp in Japan VS Bob Sapp in America. Now, compare Wanderlei, CroCop, Shogun Rua Japan VS US. Draw your own conclusions.

    I’m not ragging on Pride or Japanese MMA just for fun. My point is that Japan needs to fix this problem. And the fans should not let this problem continue just because it’s more entertaining. I admit it, a roided up Wanderlei and CroCop is much more exciting. But at what cost? CroCop is already deteriorating and Wanderlei looks like he’s 40.

  16. Grape Knee High says:

    cyph, the facts are that many people use steroids, in every country, in every sport. Testing helps, but clearly doesn’t help that much since Olympic sports and cycling probably have the most stringent and pervasive testing policies there are. And they’re STILL losing that battle every single day and every single event.

    For you to single out “Japanese MMA” just reeks of the usual pro-UFC, 45 Huddle type of fanboy nonsense.

  17. cyph says:

    So we should get rid of the police altogether since we can’t catch all the speeders and prevent every crimes? Since we can’t catch every roider, we should just stop testing and embrace the juice?

    Your argument is flimsy and nonsensical. Lets not pull 45 Huddle into this. At least he’s logical and defend his position well.

  18. The Gaijin says:

    I think his point is to continually point the finger at “japanese mma” and japanese mma only rings pretty hollow and is biased. Because the fact of the matter is, yes – testing is a good thing. But the current state of testing is full of flaws and allows people to cheat at basically the same level as “japanese mma”. And it’s ridiculous to pompously act as though one place is perfectly legitimate and the other is not.

  19. Grape Knee High says:

    My only argument is that you’re a UFC fanboy.

    You’ve insinuated through comments like, “It must be the water over there.” that only fighters in Japan juice, of course ignoring reputable insiders like Dave Meltzer saying that a large majority of MMA fighters — including fighters in top camps — currently juice.

    People juice. Regardless of testing. They find ways around it. So the only point of you singling out “Japan”, is because you have a fanboy agenda.

  20. cyph says:

    Why don’t you offer proof instead of throwing fanboy taunts and throwing blanket statements such as “everybody cheats.”

    It’s easy to defend your arguments with statements that can’t be backed up.

  21. The Gaijin says:

    Not to extend this “argument” much further – but those are the exact points you try to state as fact.

    I don’t see any proof beyond the blanket statements – “it must be something in the water over there.” or “some fighters haven’t performed as well in the US”

    It’s pretty tough to make any type of decisive statement with regards to PRIDE guys fighting in the US.

    - Silva fought once, looked pretty good in a loss and was coming off two brutal KO losses. No one is sure whether he’s just shot as a fighter from his style, whether he’s still adjusting to the new environment and rules, whether he should really be a MW or whether its “not being able to roid” (even though we know he’d be able to cycle like everyone else who uses PEDs).

    - Shogun had one fight and subsequently had major ACL surgery. Was it the rules? The fact that he should be a MW? The injury? Or was it “roids”?

    - Cro Cop was 1-2 and looked absolutely lost in the cage. Was it rules? Was it his being an undersized HW? Was it roids?

    - Nogueira is the HW champ.

    - Rampage is the LHW champ.

    - A. Silva is the MW champ.

    There’s so many different variables, but you claim “they lost”/”looked bad” and that’s proof they were roiding? They could easily cheat under the current standard of testing right now.

    Again – I don’t see how you’re saying anything different than what you’re criticizing GKH for doing?

  22. Grape Knee High says:

    Gaijin, the difference is that I have hundreds, if not thousands of positive tests, and witnesses testifying under oath, and consistent scandals across numerous sports on my side.

    cyph, on the other hand, has…not much.

  23. Dave2 says:

    I love how in all of the weight classes that the UFC and PRIDE shared (PRIDE lacked a 155 and 170 division. They had 161 instead), former PRIDE fighters have all of those belts (185, 205, HW). But yet we’re told that PRIDE fighters were over-rated juice heads and inferior to UFC fighters. Maybe, just maybe, *gasp* the UFC wasn’t the only org that had solid talent all along? (as Huddle and such like to believe)

  24. cyph says:

    Some fighters being caught taking steroids is proof that the system works, rather than proof that “all fighters cheat.”

    Evidence that Pride had rampant steroids:

    Fighters accusing Pride of cheating through refereeing, matchmaking. Check.
    Fighters accusing.

    Fighters accusing other Pride fighters of roiding up. Check.

    Video showing differences in muscle definition of before and after fighters. Check.

    Fighters more prone to injury. Check.

    Fighters defeated by mid-tier fighters who they should have demolished. Check.

    I won’t do the leg work for you. If you want the links, Google it yourself. While these are not concrete proof, it is pretty good. Now, where is your proof or evidence that everyone cheats? Some people cheat, and they are caught. Which tells us the anti-cheating system in the US system works pretty damn good.

  25. cyph says:

    There must be an Internet rule that states all MMA discussions inevitably ends up as a Pride VS UFC debate.

    Lets head that off right now. The original premise was this: There should be steroid testing in Japan. Do you agree?

    It should be a Japan VS US thing. One is treated as a sport and the other as a spectacle. Why are people so defensive about this?

  26. The Gaijin says:

    It took them how long to catch Sherk and Baroni? All the “anti-cheating” system in North America proves is: you will get caught if you’re dumb enough to not time your cycles right or aren’t aware of the newest, undetectable performance enhancers.

    It’s now been shown that almost a great deal of the US track team and other atheletes were on THG and a variety of other undetectable drugs designed and administered by BALCO at the Olympics. None of them were ever caught under the far more stringent IOC testing, until a disgruntled former employee mailed a in syringe and blew the whistle on the whole thing. To think that the system in its current form is “working pretty damn good” is absolutely naive.

    As for “fighters accusing other fighters”: (a) that happens over in the US too; (b) its always the guy who lost

    - If you think I should take that as a credible source, you’re insane. A disgruntled fighter who couldn’t win, blaming it on the fact that his opponent cheated (but of course he didn’t – even though as you’ve told us – they were all cheating) rather than he lost…not the most substantial proof.

    Injury prone
    - Who? Shogun had a blown out ACL and he’s basically the only “injury prone” fighter I can think you’re referring to.
    How many UFC guys are injury prone? There’s tonnes of guys in the UFC that have had to pull out of fights for an injuries at some point in time – does that automatically provide positive proof of cheating?
    - You’re ignoring the fact that a lot of the big UFC guys are fighting an average of 2 fights per year compared to a lot of the big PRIDE guys were fighting on average of 4 fights per year. That wouldn’t have anything to do with it would it?

    Refereeing and matchmaking = steroid cheating?…OK??

    I’m sorry, but your “proof” lies purely on hearsay, rumours and bitter comments from losing fighters. That’s not good proof and I’m certainly not going to “google” that b.s.

  27. The Gaijin says:

    Yes there should be testing in Japan. But accusing EVERYONE who fought over there of cheating, just because they can is ignorant – not only because it devalues the accomplishments of those who you’ve accused without merit but because it ignores the fact that EVERYONE can cheat in the US can cheat if they own a brain (or at least a trainer with a brain to listen to).

    The new proposed system of year-round, surprise testing is the best system available and should be implemented worldwide for fighting.

  28. Grape Knee High says:

    Some fighters being caught taking steroids is proof that the system works, rather than proof that “all fighters cheat.”

    You show me where I said your made up little quote and I’ll give you a cookie.

    There must be an Internet rule that states all MMA discussions inevitably ends up as a Pride VS UFC debate.

    The only one here making it a PRIDE vs UFC debate is you. I think many athletes of many nationalities, in many organizations, in many countries, in many sports — cheat.

  29. white ninja says:

    the point is not theoretical discussions about who did and didnt use – in a first in any “sport” – PRIDE fight contracts specifically allowed fighters to take performance enhancing drugs – and in fact, Pride management encouraged doping

    hey – drugs produce more exciting fights, the crowd loves that, so why not?

    at least that was the theory of the yakuza owned pride management… maybe they were right – but should we accept it?

  30. cyph says:

    Okay, I’ll bite.

    I stated that Japan should be testing their fighters for steroids.

    And you stated that:
    cyph, the facts are that many people use steroids, in every country, in every sport. Testing helps, but clearly doesn’t help that much since Olympic sports and cycling probably have the most stringent and pervasive testing policies there are. And they’re STILL losing that battle every single day and every single event.

    You didn’t exactly say “everyone cheats” but from what you wrote as a follow up, is it safe to say that you infer “everyone cheats, so what’s the point of testing?”

    Lets throw away the semantics and call it the way it is. I like Fight Opinion because everyone is so opinionated and passionate about what they’re talking about. Notice I haven’t directly address Gaijin because some of his points are sound. You on the other hand, have resorted to calling me a fanboy but have never defended your position. Even Gaijin admits there should be drug testing even if it’s flawed.

  31. cyph says:

    But accusing EVERYONE who fought over there of cheating, just because they can is ignorant – not only because it devalues the accomplishments of those who you’ve accused without merit but because it ignores the fact that EVERYONE can cheat in the US can cheat if they own a brain (or at least a trainer with a brain to listen to)

    Now, Gaijin. I’ve never said that I believe everyone cheats. That’s you putting words in my mouth. But can you accept the fact that many in Japan do cheat easily because of the system, or lack thereof for testing?

    Cheating as defined by the athletic commission as having traces of illegal substance on you at the time of the fight. If Nick Diaz smokes weed and it goes out of his system by fight time, that’s not cheating. So I will never agree with your assertion that “anyone with a brain can defeat the system.” That’s a blanket statement that you can’t back up.

  32. Grape Knee High says:

    cyph, I agree that they should be testing in Japan. I was just pointing out that testing is not a panacea to rampant performance enhancing drug abuse.

    But, again, you continually insinuated that somehow the Japanese MMA scene abused steroids more than in the US, and I don’t think that is true. Again, when a trusted insider like Dave Meltzer says that a ton of UFC fighters are juicing, I believe him.

    Think about through the roundabout way that you even got onto Japanese MMA.

    BALCO -> American steroid abuse -> Bob Sapp -> Japanese MMA.

    You can’t point the finger at Japanese MMA without getting your source info from the American steroid scene. Yet you are saying this is PROOF POSITIVE that somehow the Japanese MMA scene is rife with abuse! That is nothing if not evidence of a fanboy agenda.

  33. Grape Knee High says:

    LOL at cyph for saying that if you know how to game the system properly, it’s not “cheating”.

    Are you for real?

  34. cyph says:

    Cheating, as defined by the athletic commission is when you have anabolic steroids or other banned substance in your system at the time of the fight.

    If a fighter is injured and the doctor prescribe him steroids to help heal the wound, is that cheating? There’s a fine line there.

    If you define “cheating” as ever been injected with illicit drugs, then hell, 100% of the fighters out there and probably 90% of the US population are cheating.

  35. Grape Knee High says:

    Jesus, cyph, you’re comitting rampant fanboy abuse. You’ll go to any length to defend UFC / US fighters.

  36. The Gaijin says:

    C’mon man…cheating is cheating is cheating.

    I don’t care if you’re smart enough to find the “loophole” in scheduled testing. The idea is that you’re actually NEVER allowed to be using it (outside of a legitimate medical need – and i’m not talking visiting your WWF doctor either) as it gives you a competitive advantage – i.e. allows you to train harder and longer, heal faster and make strength gains etc. that you would not be able to have realized “but for” using the steroids.

    That’s why the system is flawed – b/c it cannot properly test for cheaters – and thus needs year-round, random testing. And as you pointed out in your definition of “having the banned substance in your system at the time of testing”, how can that NOT be described as anything but “only requiring a brain to beat the system”? Maybe I’m missing something in your logic (I’m legitimately asking)…

    You cannot honestly tell me you actually believe in the statements you just made.

  37. cyphron says:

    The bottom line is this: The athletics commission is planning year round testing. However, at this point they are not.

    We know the system is flawed. But the NSAC and probably others are working toward a better system. Until then, you say so and so is cheating but you’re be wrong because you don’t know. If people pass the test, then they’re clean until they fail.

    On the other hand, Japan doesn’t plan on testing and doesn’t pretend like they care that anyone is taking steroids. Isn’t it easy to make a case that they condone such actions? Now, we wouldn’t be accusing these guys of taking steroids if not for the circumstantial evidence I have outlined in my previous post.

    You have no problem accusing people of cheating when they pass tests, yet at the same time defend people who have NEVER take steroid testing in their life, whose muscle mass have shrunk and their performance diminished when coming over this side of the Pacific.

    You two are making a case of inadequate testing in the US yet at the same time defending Japan’s non-testing. Now who’s the fanboys?

  38. cyph says:

    Let me outline your logic for you.

    Logic #1: I accuse US fighters of cheating because they may or may not be taking steroids becaues the system is inadequate. I cannot prove it but in my mind, I believe it is true.

    Logic #2: The system is flawed, therefore anyone can cheat if they have a brain.

    Logic #3: Since anyone can cheat who has a brain, anyone who were caught (and boy there were many), does not have a brain.

    Logic #4: Everyone who passed must have cheated but didn’t get caught. Ergo, all UFC, EliteXC, Strikeforce champions are cheaters.

    Logic #5: Since I’m not attacking the US system, I no longer have to defend the original premise that Japan needs testing.

    Logic #6: If a system is not perfect, then there is no point in testing.

    Logic #7: If you have ever taking steroid in your life even though you are off of it when comes fight time, you are a cheater and forever a cheater even if said steroid may or may not have helped.

    Logic #8: Since the US system is flawed, it absolves Japan of implementing a steroid testing system.

    Am I missing anything here?

  39. cyph says:

    Logic #5: Since I’m attacking the US system, I no longer have to defend the original premise that Japan needs testing.

  40. The Gaijin says:

    Oh I agree that the lack of testing is basically akin to condoning for sure.

    My main point in my argument was that I thought it was pretty blind to just blatantly state that people were using steroids b/c the option was available. You’re right, without the fear of testing, the prevalence of PED use is likely higher.

    All I wanted to point out was two things, and maybe I didn’t make them as clear as I thought:

    1.) I didn’t like that people just casually claim as though it’s fact that fighters were flagrantly using steroids, when there was little to no proof outside of an evaluation of aesthetics.

    (Note: For all I’ve seen W. Silva, Rampage, A. Silva, Henderson and a host of other guys that fought in Japan and have moved over to the US look exactly the same physically. I am especially puzzled by people who claim Silva looks far less muscled, he looks just as jacked as always, the only difference being he’s standing around 205′ers that cut from 240lbs and are 6′2-6′4 while he’s probably a 220-225lbs max and stands like 5′10.)

    2.) People believing that the existence of the current testing equals without a doubt that all these fighters are clean
    (i.e. Sherk, Bonnar etc. have tested clean before and will likely test clean again – and I find it hard to believe that they only were caught useing steroids the very first time) and above reproach.

    I dont think I ever accused any particular person of cheating while passing the tests (??), but I apologize if I made it seem that way or that it meant that EVERYONE fighting in Japan didn’t use just for lack of proof (which is nil since there’s no testing).

  41. The Gaijin says:

    QED
    1.) Japan needs testing;
    2.) Japan and US need to implement a rigorous and random testing system.

    Are we in agreement?

  42. cyph says:

    Hell, why did it take 40 posts to get to this point?

  43. The Gaijin says:

    And on a side note,

    I think that once you’ve seen someone test positive for steroids you basically should or need to call into question the fact that they’ve managed to test clean previously.

    i.e. someone like Sherk, imo, has tainted the fact that they tested clean in the past b/c to me you don’t just up and decide that you need to start taking steroids. I think it’s an indication of a pattern of use and likely that they were able to work the system in the past and makes me skeptical about them in the future.

  44. The Gaijin says:

    Who doesnt like a good useless debate? Otherwise I’d just have to work at work :)

  45. The Gaijin says:

    And I will admit, I think a piece of me just hates to think that all the “great” fights that happened in Japan during the height of my interest in mma might carry an amount of taint.

    I think this sums up my thoughts pretty well:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/080116&sportCat=mlb

  46. cyph says:

    There have always been suspicions about Sherk. I doubt he could beat the Ken “Blood-Flo” Florian today.

    It’s not useless. You’re now a more objective MMA fan. :-)

  47. Grape Knee High says:

    You two are making a case of inadequate testing in the US yet at the same time defending Japan’s non-testing. Now who’s the fanboys?

    I’m not sure why you seem to keep ignoring what I keep repeating.

    I never defended Japan’s non-testing. PLEASE point where I did so, since you are so “logical”.

    I pointed out that you are a fanboy with different standards for the UFC and for PRIDE.

    AGAIN, my stance is that many sports and organizations and countries have steroid issues that need to be resolved, not just Japanese MMA as you seem so hell bent on vilifying.

    The free passes you’re giving the UFC with your lax definitions of “cheating” is simply mind-boggling.

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