Two years is a long time – 730 days to be exact.
That was the sentence imposed on Chad “Money” Mendes by USADA for failing an out of competition drug test on June 10th, 2016, for GHRP-6 – a growth hormone-releasing Hexapeptide.
UFC Boise will mark the return of the Team Alpha Male standout when he takes on dangerous featherweight Myles Jury in a FOX Sports 1-televised main card bout.
Speaking with MMA Junkie, Mendes detailed how the time off was almost a blessing in disguise.
“I’m feeling great, and I’m feeling excited,” said Mendes. “I’ve got that hunger back. I feel almost rejuvenated. My body feels good – the bumps and bruises.”
“Probably about the past four years, getting up in the morning, my feet were just so bruised and beat up from kicking and getting stepped on and stubbing your toes during practice. It’s just nice. Everything feels back to normal, I’m ready to go.”
Mendes denied knowing taking any kind of banned substance or performance-enhancing drugs but later postulated the positive test may have been the result of a cream he used to treat psoriasis.
“It was my own damn fault,” Mendes said. “I should have paid attention. I did the time. I’m not going to sit there and make up a bunch of excuses and try to get out of it. …”
The former two-time title contender has taken responsibly for the failed test, however, Mendes stands by his assertion of unknowingly consuming a banned substance. Be that as it may, hindsight is 20/20 and “Money” wishes he would’ve contested USADA’s final ruling.
“When they told me two years, at that time, honestly I was frustrated. I was embarrassed. I was just like, ‘Screw it. I’ll do my time. I just want to step away from all this.’ About halfway through it, I was like, ‘I wish I would have tried to fight it a little bit.’”
USADA, like anything else, isn’t always going to get it right. Take the recent Josh Barnett situation for example. Barnett harbors such negative feelings for the organization that he elected to be released from the UFC in order to pursue other options. Mendes may not be on the best of terms with USADA, but he fully understands their place in the MMA landscape.
“I think it’s great, just keeping blatant cheating stuff out of the sport,” Mendes said. “A lot of that stuff was getting overlooked and getting through. I think there are some petty stuff that we can probably fine-tuned. In my opinion, the tainted supplements even. There’s no way for us to know that. If I go to the store and buy amino acids, I’m planning on taking amino acids, which are 100 percent legal.”
“There’s no way for me to know there’s something illegal in there, and if there’s something the company tries to sneak in there to make their product sell better, by people saying, ‘I feel great when I take this, and I’m looking good,’ how is that our fault?”
The matchmakers didn’t do Mendes any favors in his return to the octagon, offering up a talented “Fury” to the Team Alpha Male star.
“For me to get back there and fight a guy like Myles, who is a guy that is all right going into my world,” Mendes said. “He’s OK wrestling. He trains with (Dominick) Cruz and those guys, so I’m sure they wrestle a lot. He’s OK being on his back.”
“I’m treating this like it’s the biggest fight of my life – and it is,” Mendes said. “This is a fight that I need to go out there and prove to people (that) I’m back. I didn’t leave. I took a little bit of time off, but I’m still an animal. I’m still going to go out there and try to knock your head off. I can take you down when I want and put that pressure on you.”
“Money” is hoping he will not miss a beat in his return to the cage at UFC Boise, but more importantly, Mendes want people to remember what kind of fighter he was – and still is.
“That’s the type of Chad that I want people to remember and see back in the octagon now and be like, ‘(Expletive), this guy never left.’ That’s the plan. I’m going to go out there and try to do that and if I get that win, which hopefully I do, I would like to fight someone in the top five right off the bat.”