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MMA Link Club: A connection between weight cutting & PED usage

By Zach Arnold | January 24, 2012

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King Mo and his manager, Mike Kogan, did the media rounds everywhere yesterday to basically go on the offensive in terms of public relations. If you’re looking for a summary of what their stance is on the failed Nevada drug test for masteron (drostanolone), you can read an in-depth summary here.

Masteron is known for being used to help recovery time and/or keep lean muscle for those who do weight cutting. In other words, it’s a ‘good’ drug for MMA fighters who are looking to use something for performance enhancing benefits. One of the connections that no one has made yet is the fact that in many PED cases where guys got busted on drug tests, the drugs in question are less about bulk and more about maintaining strength while minimizing weight gain.

Both steroid usage & weight cutting can damage the body’s endocrine system. If you’re a steroid user, you use drugs, damage your endocrine system, and end up using synthetic testosterone to get your endocrine system back to ‘normal’ because you damaged your body with steroids. It’s double-dipping. With weight cutting, you damage your body and you end up using testosterone (steroids) because your body can’t naturally produce what is needed.

I bring this up because I wanted to recall a recent interview that Dr. Johnny Benjamin did with Mauro Ranallo about Anthony Johnson’s massive weight cutting problems. I hate the concept of weight cutting in MMA that involves dropping down more than one weight class from your normal weight… but I suppose I’m in the minority. The idea of guys cutting 30, 40, even 50 pounds to make a weight limit is completely unhealthy and sickening to think about given the damage you are doing to your body.

Dr. Benjamin’s message about Anthony Johnson: don’t hate the player, hate the game.

“All the blame is getting placed on Anthony Johnson but, unfortunately, we reward guys for being able to cut weight to fight at a weight class that is not their own. So, everybody’s throwing Anthony Johnson under the bus and, yes, he missed and he’s missed it before (but) he can get rewarded for that because when he come in for fight night 20 or 30 pounds larger than his competitor and maybe 40 or 50 pounds greater than the limit for the weight class, that’s really in his best interest if he wants to proceed up the ladder in the UFC.”

Dr. Benjamin says that it’s time for UFC to implement a regulated weight-cutting policy for its fighters. Why the onus on UFC? Because what UFC wants, UFC gets and they can set the tone.

“(There are) some very serious health concerns (with weight cutting). I mean, the one that everybody thinks about is kidney damage or kidney failure. It happens. Everybody says, ‘oh, it’s not that big deal.’ The hell it’s not! Go spend an hour at a dialysis center and watch someone take every drop of blood taken from their bodies and put through a machine and ask them how big of a deal it is to have to do that three times a week just to live. I mean, your kidneys are at risk. The other thing that people don’t consider is your brain is at risk because water makes up 97% of the CSF, the Cerebral Spinal Fluid, that’s the fluid that is around the brain that protects and cushion the brains from blows. So, any time you lose massive amounts of water you shrink the amount of cushioning and protection that there is around the brain. Now you’re going to ask Vitor Belfort to punch you in the face, it’s a bad combination.

“People always say, ‘hey, what’s the solution? There is no solution, this is a time-honored tradition.’ There’s a lot of things that we’ve done for a long time that didn’t make sense and people always say, ‘well, these guys have been doing it since High School, most of them are wrestlers, they know how to do it.’ Just because you’ve done something for a long time doesn’t make it safe. My uncle, you know, drives with no seat belt and he’s done it forever. It doesn’t make it safe. Rides a motorcycle with no helmet, doesn’t make it safe just because you’ve done it forever. It makes you particularly lucky.

“The thing that I would say is simple — find out what the person’s normal weight is … it’s really simple. All you do is show up and weigh the guy when he’s not training, when he knows he doesn’t have a fight coming up. And let’s think how simple that’d really be — when you go to a normal UFC fight in Las Vegas, how many other fighters who are not on the card are there on that night? Dozen? 20 or more? There’s a lot of fighters around. Hey, throw a scale down, make them get on it. Three or four times a year, check the fighters, put them on the scale, and get an average of what their walking-around weight is. And guess what, if a guy normally walks around at 200 pounds, you say you know what? The new rule’s going to be you can’t fight at a weight class less than 90% of your normal weight. So, if a guy normally walks around from the three or four times you caught them for random weigh-ins throughout the year, if his average weight comes out to be 200 pounds you say, you know what, 90% of 200 is 180 pounds. That means the least you can fight at is at Middleweight. I don’t care what you can cut your body down to, we want you fighting at a fair weight. You’ve been given 10% that you can cut your body weight and that’s it.

“There were plenty of media reports that said that 7-to-10 days before the fight, [Anthony Johnson] was walking around at 215 (pounds). Well, wait a minute… 7 to 10 days he’s 215 but he has to fight at 185? So, this guy’s got another 30 pounds to lose in 10 days? That’s ridiculous. I mean, he should be no more than 5% above that body weight the week to go out.”

As for his thoughts on the King Mo suspension: King Mo acknowledges taking an OTC testosterone (T) supplement. Everyone knows that altering T levels is banned. Doesn’t really make sense. Officially no difference where the testosterone comes from. All sources are banned. He appears to be saying that he took an OTC supplement T booster with a precursor in it that breaks down to T.

Member sites of the MMA Link Club

This week’s MMA Link Club featured stories

Five Ounces of Pain: Ronda Rousey says female fighters appreciate her self-promotion

“I’ve had so many girl fighters come up to me and tell me they appreciate me and thank me. The only girls that seem to have a problem with me are either current champions or are former champions,” Rousey continued. “I just think they have this sense of entitlement that everyone should kiss their ass and respect them all the time…they’re not used to dealing with any kind of confrontation.”

MMA Fighting: The frustrating search for the real Chael Sonnen

That was a different Chael Sonnen. This was before he talked his way into the headlines, before he turned himself into a larger-than-life, pro wrestling-style character known for saying things he couldn’t possibly believe. Now, that’s what people expect from him. They practically demand it in every interview and public appearance. It makes you wonder if some part of Sonnen is sorry he ever put that hat on to begin with, since it would seem that he can’t easily take it off these days.

“Not too much, no,” Sonnen told me when I spoke to him on the phone last week, one day before Mark Munoz dropped out of their UFC on FX 2 bout and was replaced with Michael Bisping. “It’s par for the course and it needs to be done. There’s only one me. I see a lot of people try to come out and copy me, duplicate me, and give it the old college try, but at the end of the day, there’s only one Chael Sonnen.”

Interesting to note that CM Punk will not be walking with him to the cage on Saturday and that his name was not mentioned by Joe Buck during the promo reads on Fox for the NY Giant/49ers game.

Fightline: 0.9 cable rating on FX for Jim Miller/Melvin Guillard-headlined debut show

Cage Potato: ‘Haywire’ fizzles at box office, nets only $9 million in opening weekend

The press/Hollywood PR spinsters were pushing this movie hard as great and a breakthrough for Gina. Then came time for people to vote with their pocketbooks. Those who saw the movie generally had a mild negative to mostly negative reaction to it.

On one hand, no one should blame Gina for trying her hand at movies if she can make more money doing it than by fighting in MMA. Plus, if her heart isn’t 100% committed to MMA and she sees the writing on the wall with Dana White in large control of the business, may as well take a stab at Hollywood. That said, lots of people were hoping that the movie would succeed and somehow validate MMA’s crossover appeal.

MMA Mania: Exclusive interview with Phil Davis

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Mike Easton, a guy who trains with you guys, when he made his UFC debut last year, he kind of tried to fight like your teammate Dominick Cruz in the first round before coming into his own in the second. Does training alongside Cruz, does that kind of affect you guys by osmosis at all with your striking style or are you still trying to fight with a style that’s all your own?

Phil Davis: I think I’m learning more about my own self and which style works best for me until I get it down, or at least learning to get it down. I’ll never forget who I am, at least who I am now. (laughs)

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): And can you share a little bit about who you are in your striking?

Phil Davis: Nope, nope. Can’t do it. I shouldn’t even be talking about that. Cheese and rice, dude. You’ll see.

Rashad Evans opened up at about a -140 favorite and he’s only climbed up to the -170 range, meaning there is some respect from the betting public for Phil Davis to pull off the win here.

5th Round: Jon Jones thinks Phil Davis can beat Rashad Evans by KO because Evans has no chin

Bleacher Report: Fans are underestimating Michael Bisping’s chances against Chael Sonnen

Michael Bisping has had a relatively solid UFC career. He has a 12-3 record inside the Octagon and has beaten decent competition in two separate weight classes. The problem is that when he takes that step up in competition and starts fighting guys near title contention, he historically has struggled. Bisping’s three MMA losses have come against tough veterans and top contenders Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson and (to a lesser extent as a contender) Wanderlei Silva.

Will the real Chael Sonnen please stand up? Inside the contender’s training camp

“Bisping breaks easily. I think he’s mentally weak. Watch how he fought Dan Henderson. I think he was totally intimidated. And I think he’s going to be intimidated by Chael too…Chael is such a hard worker and he has such a fast pace. Bisping is much more lackadaisical. He likes to throw a jab, throw a kick, keep his distance. He’s not going to be able to keep up the pace Chael forces. Whether on the ground or standing.”

Middle Easy: UFC Undisputed 3 & THQ say Rashad Evans has 28% chance of knocking out Phil Davis

Low Kick: Bas Rutten says JDS will expose Alistair Overeem’s glass jaw

His attitude on Alistair has changed a bit since the split from Golden Glory.

The Fight Nerd: Letter-writing campaign for MMA in New York begins

With a new legislative session just kicking off in New York, the battle to sanction mixed martial arts in the Empire State is joined once again. The Coalition to Legalize Mixed Martial Arts in New York, the organization that hosted last year’s rally for the sport in front of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office, is beginning a letter-writing campaign and needs the New York MMA supporter’s help.

The link takes you to several form letters to choose from if you’re interested in being active on this front.

MMA Convert: The dreaded ‘tainted supplement’ defense for King Mo & Mike Kogan

The tainted supplement defense, excuse or whatever you want to call it has been used for years. It’s almost a running joke that whenever a fighter tests positive, everyone expects they’re going to blame it on a bad supplement. Maybe everything they’re saying is true, but at this point that’s not good enough. How can I have sympathy for someone when this red flag was raised a long time ago? It’s been clear for quite some time that it’s the fighters’ responsibility to know exactly what they put in their bodies. If they don’t know what it’s in the random muscle building powder the guy at the local GNC sells them, then they need to either find out, don’t use it or risk putting themselves in the crosshairs. That’s life. No one ever said it would be fair.

MMA Payout: Pro-SOPA editorial may have led to hacking of UFC.com

While the UFC will be concerned from an online security perspective, it should also look at it from a PR perspective. For the UFC, this may not be as easy as it seems. The UFC has been aggressive in its stance against illegal streaming and distribution of its fights. In supporting SOPA and PIPA, it sees legislation that can assist in its fight against online piracy. But, opposition to the laws, which include many young, internet savvy individuals – the same people that likely follow Dana White and many other UFC fighters on twitter, utilize social media and embrace the online community oppose the restrictions that would come with the proposed laws.

I’ve been asking (since last night) if any MMA media members will post polls on their web sites to see if any of their readers will protect UFC’s support of SOPA by not spending any money on Zuffa content.

Topics: MMA, Media, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 13 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

13 Responses to “MMA Link Club: A connection between weight cutting & PED usage”

  1. john dough says:

    “Those who saw [Haywire] generally had a mild negative to mostly negative reaction to it.”

    Uhh, based on what criteria?

    RottenTomatoes: 82%
    imdb: 6.7/10
    Metacritic: 6.7/10

    Does it ever get tiring being negative just for the sake of being negative

    Ed. — The one public critique that counted was at the box office and that didn’t work out so well.

    • Dave says:

      No, it just didn’t have the right kind of push behind it, Zach. Critics generally didn’t dislike it. There is a chance that might last a while or pull in a good second weekend. etc.

    • john dough says:

      How a movie does financially and how well it was received by those who saw it are two very different things. A child could understand the difference

      Being overtly pessimistic to the point of fabricating data doesn’t give you MMA-journalism cred

      • edub says:

        “The press/Hollywood PR spinsters were pushing this movie hard as great and a breakthrough for Gina. Then came time for people to vote with their pocketbooks. Those who saw the movie generally had a mild negative to mostly negative reaction to it.”

        It’s pretty easy to see he was saying the box office/audience reviews were below expectations.

        Maybe post the entire quote next time. Instead of the one sentence that fits your opinion. You won’t look as trollish.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Audiences reviews actually only gave the movie a 54% review. So that combined with the movie’s box office is basically a pretty good indication of its “reception” by the movie-going public.

  2. fd says:

    “The dreaded ‘tainted supplement’ defense for King Mo & Mike Kogan”

    It’s not even a “tainted supplement” defense. That’s when they’re trying to argue that a regular supplement was tainted with steroids (which actually has happened in the past, because a lot of supplements get made by companies that also manufacture steroids for areas in which they are legal, so cross-contamination is possible, if unlikely). Their story is that Mo took “Mass Lean Gainer by Rock Solid”, which is a supplement that has 2a-17a-Dimethyl-5aandrost-3-one 17b-ol prominently featured on the ingredients list –

    https://sites.google.com/site/steelbodysupplements/products/s-mass/s-mass-facts

    2a-17a-Dimethyl-5aandrost-3-one 17b-ol is the 17?-alkylated version of drostanolone, and has been on the WADA ban list since 2008.

    So basically there are two possible scenarios here –

    1) Mo managed to make it through nearly a decade of random Olympic testing without ever checking any of the supplements he took for banned ingredients, and was just unlucky/lucky that it took until now for him to take one which a simple google search would have revealed that it was banned by both the FDA and WADA.

    2) Mo fucked up his cycle, and he and his manager immediately went looking for a “legal supplement” that would cause the same positive test and claimed they mistakenly took that, so that Mo’s public image is that of a guy who was “careless” rather than a cheater.

    You can make your own judgement regarding which one seems more likely.

    • Bob says:

      Or, there may have been a bacteria/fungi if he “stored” it improperly that may have then produced the said anabolic.

  3. Mark says:

    I think I may know what Mo is talking about.

    In 2006 my friend Greg who is a police officer was telling me practically every cop in his district was taking a pill sold at GNC called T-Bomb that supposedly naturally increased testosterone production (the bottle claimed up to 200%) naturally. He talked me into trying it for 2 months. It could have been a placebo effect, but I definitely felt more aggressive and had twice the energy to put into a workout. But I got bored with it and stopped after 2 months. I don’t remember what they claimed was in it, or even if it’s still produced, since that kind of thing is a “here today, gone tomorrow” deal. But maybe that is what Mo was talking about. Like I said, I have no proof the stuff did work and it could have been all in my mind (although my skin got really oily at the same time), but it could be true.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    1) So the UFC should implement a weight cutting policy that both professional boxing and the olympics have not? Come on. Cheating is cheating. Changing weight cutting rules because of cheaters makes no sense.

    2) UFC Ratings went up from the UFC 142 prelim show to the first FX show. They are likely to improve a little more slowly over the next few months as the fans figure out that it’s on a new channel and the days have changed. To me the shocking ratings news was that the Fuel TV prelims got almost 150k. If they can improve the number of homes that channel is in, some of those prelim and Fuel TV shows will be able to do north of 500,000. beats the low 5 figures they were likely pulling in on Facebook.

    3) According to BE, SpikeTV is sending out emails comparing the former UFC ratings to the current FX ratigs. B#tthurt much? But you have to love their strategy…. Make the UFC pay by putting more UFC on television. The UFC was on 3 channels on Friday. Way to stick it to them SpikeTV. They much be really pissed that they can’t put Bellator on TV for another year. They know that every week that passes it will make it harder to keep the UFC fans and convert them to Bellator fans.

    4) I think Phil Davis will beat Rashad Evans. And Bisping over Sonnen… And Weidman over Maia.

  5. ot says:

    Along with VADA testing, the state regulators, promoters and the UFC should look at the NSF NFL/NFLPA Supplement Certification Program. This would cut down on the tainted supplements defense.

    http://www.nsf.org/business/athletic_banned_substances/index.asp?program=AthleticBanSub

  6. RST says:

    Bleacher report?

    Nooooooooo!!!!!

  7. [...] right about praising the concept of cutting over 30 pounds of weight in 10 days. It brings me back to what Dr. Johnny Benjamin said about the topic a couple of weeks ago… There was talk about Chael Sonnen vomiting during the [...]

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