Stephan Bonnar announced his retirement last week, but soon after, it was announced he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs for his loss to Anderson Silva. Dave Herman tested positive for marijuana metabolites for his UFC 153 loss to Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera.
Because the fights were held in Brazil, which has no regulatory commission, the fights were overseen by UFC vice president of regulatory affairs. He suspended Bonnar for a year, while Herman's punishment will be decided later this week and will involve some sort of treatment.
OK, but what's the point of such a suspension at this point? This was Bonnar's second time testing positive. The $5,000 fine and nine-month suspension he received last time didn't deter him from taking banned substances again. Now, he has to serve a suspension while retired. How does this stop him from using again if he does come back -- as so many fighters do -- or keep other fighters from using?
For Herman, Ratner did say marijuana is treated differently than performance enhancers:
"We feel very strongly that there's a big difference between PED's [performance-enhancing drugs] and marijuana," Ratner said to MMA Fighting. "We think the commissions do a good job with PEDs, but we think with marijuana there should be some form of rehab involved, going through that kind of process and learning about it.
Considering two states changed their laws on marijuana on Tuesday, it's not surprising to see the UFC has a more lax attitude about the drug.
But performance enhancers can not just change the outcome of a fight. They can seriously injure a fighter, both for the one taking it and for the unwitting opponent. When a fighter blows weight, he or she quite often has to give up part of his or her purse. That money goes to the opponent. However, take a PED, and the opponent gets nothing?
Merely suspending a retired fighter and not punishing with a substantial fine is not enough for the UFC to stop future usage.