The media around UFC 118 is wrapped up in the event and the fights but there is a pretty big story brewing in the background. It was less than two weeks ago that Shane Carwin was named by a federal prosecutor as a customer of a steroid-dealing pharmacist. Carwin has chosen to stay mum on the topic and UFC Dana White doesn't feel comfortable speaking on the subject without more facts.
"I don’t know enough about it to go into it in depth," White told Fanhouse's Ariel Helwani. "But, I know he came up on like a BALCO-type list. On a list of guys who did it. But, this guy’s [Carwin] fought in the UFC a long time, under regulation and has never tested positive for anything. We’ll see how this whole thing plays out."
Yahoo! Sports' Dave Meltzer says using recent testing results, to give athletes accused of using steroids a pass, doesn't wash anymore.
The current testing system means nothing in most states and in the states like Nevada where it is legit, you still know well ahead of time the day you are being tested. They do have the power to test you off season, but it's rarely done, and if you aren't a top guy headlining a show in the next two months, there is no fear of it happening. California was very real before, but when you go from people failing tests nearly every weekend to nobody failing tests for months, either everyone smartened up at once or something has changed.
Meltzer wrote in Pro Wrestling Observer that he's always had suspicions about Carwin (pictured in early 2008 when he initially signed with the UFC).
When I met (Shane Carwin) in 2006, he was 289 ripped and when I asked him if he could cut to 265 (the weight he'd need to be for UFC), he laughed and said there was no way he could. Two years later, he was in UFC and fighting at 254 without cutting and physically he looked like a completely different person.
Meltzer said fighters believe that many of the top competitors in the sport are using some of sort of performance enhancing drug.
My feeling from talking with someone who directly distributed is that the people who say everyone or 90% of the top fighters are on them are people covering up for their own insecurities and justifying usage.
That said, the percentage is significant. Dennis Hallman was on Inside MMA (video - 38:00 mark) a few weeks ago and said it was no less than 50 percent. When going through fighters at one prominent gym from someone who knew, person by person, we did end up right at 50 percent and again, some who did and didn't from that list would surprise you.
Meltzer thinks anyone who says steroids or PED's make little difference is being foolish.
But the point is, steroids do change the game (one fighter who is very sophisticated on use noted to me about certain opponents that he's trained with both on and off and he mentioned one guy as almost a world beater on when he trained with him and he was `nothing' off, and talked about being genuinely scared of another fighter-keep in mind this was in a non-drug tested environment--who was a very dangerous and actually legendary striker at any weight and had in a very short period of time had suddenly packed on 20 extra pounds of muscle and completely changed his body.
We're never going to get resolution on the Carwin story. He'll come back, address it quickly and the story will get buried just like it has with James Toney, who is fighting on the card this weekend. Toney tested positive after his win over John Ruiz back in 2005 and served a 90-day suspension. Most MMA fans have no idea of Toney's history with PED's.
Hopefully down the road, more comprehensive testing for steroids and HGH (that means everyone on the card) will be put in place and the worries, about who's on and who's not, will be alleviated. It's certainly made a difference in baseball. The 50 home run, 145 RBI seasons have been replaced by very 70's-like 32 HR, 110 RBI seasons. It must be the improvement in pitching, right? Baseball finally instituted real testing and up next is a reliable test for HGH. MMA and boxing need to follow suit.
Meltzer tip via Bloody Elbow