Zero Tolerance for Performance Enhancing Drugs in MMA

Chael Sonnen, despite what ever his argument/excuse may be, got caught taking a performance enhancing drug (PED). He is not the first and most certainly will not be the last to try and gain an unfair advantage or gets caught.

This latest revelation in this on going dark saga merely emphasizes 3 points:

• Contact sports and combat sports in particular must maintain a vigorous zero tolerance policy as it pertains to PED's.
• The PED problem in MMA is bigger than many may appreciate.
• It is time for Olympic-style testing including random year around sampling and blood testing in elite MMA.

Contact sports like football and combat sports like boxing and MMA have a fundamental and important difference to their non-contact brethren. In contact and combat sports the application of significant bodily force to ones opponent is critical and virtually constant.

As a physician, I look at fair play a bit differently than most. I am less interested in who wins the contest as I am concerned about each competitor's ability to fairly defend themselves on the field of battle.

If a sprinter gains an unfair advantage by using a PED they potentially run faster than the person in the lane next to them. If a baseball slugger uses a PED they may hit more home runs than they otherwise would or should have. If a football player or fighter uses PED's they have the ability to cause serious harm to an opponent which is a vastly different outcome.

Zero tolerance in contact and combat sports means that no one should care that your excuse may be that you unknowingly took a tainted or mis-labeled nutritional supplement. That will mean very little to the competitor that you injured.

And just to be clear. We're not talking failed tests due to cold remedies and asthma inhalers here.