The Chael Sonnen drug test fiasco of 2014 may have just altered the future of MMA….
Drug cheats in MMA are a smear on the sport and, if nothing else, 2014 has taught us this more than once. In fact, the last 10 years has been scattered with dirty tests and athletes exposed for their cheating ways, but in reality 2014 has been the year that really put it in perspective for most of us.
After Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva were tied in a twisted triangle in May of this year, many have been left wondering if drugs will ever stop being affiliated with MMA. After the TRT ban, Belfort was unable to compete against Chris Weidman due to his abnormal levels. Chael Sonnen failed two drug tests this year and received a two-year ban, was released by the UFC, and sacked by FOX.
Wanderlei Silva skipped a random doping test by the NSAC earlier this year, and was subsequently banned for life from competing in Nevada (essentially ending his career in the States). “The Phenom” was the only one who emerged relatively unscathed, as he is still able to fight for the title against “The All-American”. Silva decided to call it quits, in a shroud of controversy.
Something that many of us have spoken about for years is the need for harsher punishments for drug cheats. Most common punishments for failed drug tests include 9-12 month bans by the commissions, the potential of a fine, and being released by the promotion that used to pay your way. As a whole, the punishments seem to be enough for even the top level athletes to gamble against.
That, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, may be a thing of the past. The NSAC has commissioned Anthony Marnell III to come up with a new guideline for punishing PED (performance enhancing drug) users in combat sports. Check out what Marnell said during a Las Vegas hearing this week:
“It’s time for those who don’t want to play by the rules are punished severely for it,”
NSAC commissioner Pat Lundvall also spoke on the matter:
NSAC’s punishments currently are “more than other states, but it is less than we thought,” and recommended Marnell “look at that in the context of whether we need to increase our suspensions to provide a greater deterrent for any of those who are found in violation of the policies.”
“That would take us more in line with USADA’s structure and the WADA code. That’s something we rejected in the past, but it’s a comment that I have whether we need to embrace it rather than reject it.”
Quotes courtesy of MMAJunkie.com
So the days of slapped wrists for drug cheats could soon be a thing of the past, as the most powerful commission in combat sports looks to clamp down further on offenders. Will this eradicate the plague of drug cheats in MMA, or will we see sneakier ways of avoiding being caught?
Drug cheats in sport needs to stop, and hopefully this is the first step in ending a long line of doping in combat sports.