With steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs (PED) finding their way in mixed martial arts (MMA), fighters like B.J. Penn are out to prove that there are still plenty of professional fighters who compete cleanly ... even if it means annoying his UFC on FOX 5 opponent, Rory MacDonald.The use of steroids and other illegal performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) has cast an ugly shadow over professional sports, as a whole, within the past 10 to 20 years.
It started when almost an entire era of Major League Baseball (MLB) was tainted by "the juice," namely coming on the heels of the homerun race between sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998, which was later given a big, fat asterisk, after word spread that both players allegedly had used PEDs to put a little extra pop in their respective bats.
Though it was long speculated that mixed martial arts (MMA) had cheaters in its midst, it was an accusation that went largely unproven, and the controversy never was able to get his claws deep into the sport.
That's until the last few years, when the floodgate seemed to open full blast, with names like Sean Sherk, Chris Leben, Alistair Overeem, Cris Cyborg, Chael Sonnen, Nate Marquardt and Stephan Bonnar (among others) finding themselves attached to accusations and rumors of illicit (or suspect) drug use.
It wasn't the first time it had ever happened, but the frequency with which the foul play seemed to be occurring was far too high for anyone who cared for the integrity of the sport.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight B.J. Penn considers himself as one of those stewards of the sport, and he has recently undertaken a campaign to try and help clean it up, exposing those who would continue to use PEDs with the hope of staying under the radar.
It was in that vein that "The Prodigy" challenged Rory MacDonald (his opponent at the forthcoming UFC on FOX 5 in Seattle, Wash., on Dec. 8, 2012) to strict Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) testing before their approaching bout.
MacDonald complied with the request, stating he had nothing to hide, and so the process has been ongoing as the two fighters train and ready themselves for the December head-on collision in the cage.
Ariel Helwani of FUEL TV and SB Nation brought word, during a segment on "UFC Tonight," that MacDonald has been finding the process "annoying."
Conversely, Helwani reported that Penn is enjoying the testing, and he has no problem placing himself under the magnifying glass if it means he can prove he's a clean fighter and possibly expose those who aren't playing by the same set of rules.
His position as translated by Helwani:
"B.J. loves this. B.J. is the guy who was talking about VADA before anyone in the MMA. He is a proponent because it makes sure everyone is healthy and safe. He believes there are cheaters in the sport and he wants to make sure he is not fighting one of them. So, he is enjoying these tests. You know motivation has always been a question for B.J., but when you consider the fighters he has surrounded himself with he is very motivated to fight. B.J. is surrounding himself with top names in MMA such as Jay Hieron, Tarec Safieddine, Tyron Woodley from Strikeforce, Pat Healy, Josh Thomson and Ben Askren and this makes it interesting to see how that translates come December 8."
Thus far, no results for either fighter have been released.