No holds barred fighting or bare knuckle fighting gained back it’s popularity in the 1980s, and has become the testing ground of every martial artist looking for a competition. At least for the real martial artists who can actually fight. The main objective then was to test their skills, and continue to improve on their weaknesses. In the mid 1990s, everything changed in the field of no holds barred fighting — it became a sport. And whenever a physical activity turned into a sport, a tough competition is expected. And for every tough competition, several athletes will find ways to dominate, and this unfortunately results in the introduction of drugs.
Although drugs used in sports do not have the common narcotic effects, the possibility of abuse is definite. Laboratories are finding ways to squeeze out money from athletes, and the first step was to change the word “drugs” to “dietary supplements,” but it didn’t sell well being named as supplements. Nowadays we call it “performance enhancing drugs,” or PED.
There are a lot of reasons why PED should be taken out of sports fighting, and the most ludicrous reason was the notable “it’s not healthy.” Sure it’s not. But will athletes listen to this lame reason? No. And it will never happen.
When an athlete begins to have a taste of victory, human nature dictates that one must strive for more victories. It’s always great to be on top of the game and be somebody. We see it all the time. Nobody cares if it’s healthy or not. It’s the gold and the money that comes in with fame and dominance that keeps laboratories and scientists of PED employed.
Both professionals and newbies in the business of sports fighting need to be evaluated before entering the fight stage. Everybody wants to win of course, but winning a match with assistance from drugs will only end your career early, or land you in jail.
Let me explain how the darker side of sports fighting works. After a fighter signs a contract to fight, he or she becomes a legal lethal weapon. I used the word legal because you are allowed to hurt another individual and beat each other into a bloody pulp only in between bells. If you throw your “legal” punch outside the legal stage, your ass will be locked inside the prison.
A fighter’s skill alone is already dangerous. Mix those skills with some anabolics, and a criminal is born. Going inside the arena equipped with PED is tantamount to carrying a dangerous weapon. If a fighter kills his opponent deliberately or not within the bounds of a legal fighting contract, an investigation will occur. And if PED is discovered that spells jail time for the fighter.
Currently, there are no set standards on what penalty to give to a fighter. It all depends on the organizing or governing body. The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) imposes a two-year ban on first time offenders. But the world famous Ultimate Fighting Championship is expecting the WADA to impose a much harsher penalty, such as a four-year ban on first time offenders and a huge amount of money to be fined and taken out of the fighter’s pocket.
I guess it makes a lot of sense. Take out the four-year suspension, and it will be difficult for them to get back in the game clean. All fighters will be tested during competition and outside the competition randomly. I personally find it will be good for the world of sports fighting to also bar the banned athlete from coaching. A coach who believes in doping, will surely influence the rookies. There are no sure ways to stop these fighters from purchasing PEDs but if sports fighting has to be cleaned, it has to be cleaned thoroughly.
“Mumbakki” Daniel Foronda is a former MMA champion and a Filipino martial arts expert. He is currently based in Russia where he is a combat tactical trainer to the country’s Military Special Forces.