Heading into his match-up against Roy Nelson at the TUF 16 finale, Matt Mitrione was asked by his opponent to participate in additional drug testing courtesy of VADA.
VADA is the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency that offered to sponsor the testing for Nelson and his original opponent, Shane Carwin, prior to him being forced out of the bout with a knee injury.
Mitrione ultimately opted not to participate in the testing leading up to the fight because he wanted to stay focused on the task at hand: getting ready for Nelson.
But the former Ultimate Fighter opened up a bit more about the subject of drug testing when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio prior to the fight. As a former NFL player, Mitrione has seen all sides of the drug testing debate, and while he’s all for a clean sport, he believes that Nelson and other advocates may be pounding on the desk of an issue that’s much more complex to solve than by adding some additional testing.
“There’s not enough money in MMA yet to get the high-end drugs or steroids or PEDs that are not detectible. There’s not enough knowledge in MMA for the people that don’t have the money to bring it in. So do I think it’s beneficial in MMA right now? Yes, maybe. But as far as other sports where there’s more money, no. It’s stupid. You’re only going to catch the people that don’t know any better or didn’t have the money to bring somebody in,” said Mitrione.
“The robbers are always going to be ahead of the cops, that’s why the cops are always chasing the robbers, not vice-versa. Is there a benefit to it? Yeah, I guess there is a benefit to it.”
Mitrione admits that Nelson’s offer to get additional testing done by VADA wasn’t exactly on the top of his “things to do” list especially after the agency posted an article attacking former TUF coach Shane Carwin. While VADA has stated on several occasions that the article defaming Carwin was a post by an intern, who was eventually fired, Mitrione wasn’t a fan of their tactics.
“I think VADA hurt itself with how they handled the Shane Carwin situation. I think they made themselves look pretty bad as far as writing a slanderous article about Shane, and how he got caught with steroids, and he got his muscles from bottles, or whatever the hell they wrote,” Mitrione stated.
“I know it was more of an attack on Shane versus being an objective, third party testing source.”
Mitrione also points out to a flawed system when it comes to drug testing in sports, especially with the current standards. He says with the right combination of ingredients, any athlete can get away with cheating so long as they’re willing to pay for it.
“When you go, they test for what’s called metabolites. Like they know when you take Dianabol that you’re going to have this metabolite in your system. So they don’t test the gas, they test the exhaust. They test what it turns into, not what it was. So if you change the gas a little bit, the exhaust is going to be different. So if they change the exhaust just a little bit so it’s still effective, it’s not going to be the same exhaust as it used to be, they’re never going to catch that new exhaust,” Mitrione explains.
“That’s the point. If you find a chemist or somebody that’s smart enough to change the gas, to give a different exhaust, you’re in the clear forever. That’s what I’m saying.”
Money talks according to Mitrione, and that’s what will buy a negative result even when an athlete has been taking something they shouldn’t have.
“Do I think drug testing is reasonable? Well, yeah I think it’s reasonable, but do I think it will ever be effective? No, you’re just catching the bottom end guys,” said Mitrione. “You’ll never catch the people that know ‘the people’ and the people with the money, the people with the big bucks, they’re the people who know the people cause they have the money to spend on the people.”
Mitrione also admits that he’s not a big fan of Nelson’s approach of asking for additional drug testing, especially when he doesn’t appear to be the biggest fan of hitting the gym or cleaning himself up to do much of anything for the sport.
“If you’re going to try to call somebody out and try to clean up the sport, and you’re trying to be a spokesperson for the sport, which is obviously what he’s trying to do. Obviously what Roy’s trying to do, if he’s trying to bring people and call them out, and clean up the sport. Well dude, look at your appearance. You can’t be a poster boy and a choirboy for this one thing, but break all the rules or look almost like a vagrant. Cut your hair and shave your beard and be a poster boy and then you can go preach about it,” said Mitrione.
“I respect the effort that Roy’s putting forward, but I think a lot of it gets lost. It’s like cut your hair, shave your beard and then try to bust somebody else’s balls about doing something. It’s great to stand out, but stand out for the right reasons, not necessarily the wrong ones.”
In the end, Mitrione warns that sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for when it comes to the results of cleaning up the sport and eliminating everything from an athlete’s regimen in terms of how they prepare and get ready for competition.
“Everybody wants to see a Todd Duffee. Nobody wants to see Roy for the most part. You want to see a chiseled Adonis. You don’t (want to see) a big bellied, pale, furry beast. We’re modern day gladiators, we fight in spandex and everything else and it’s like if you know what you want, then sometimes you can’t bust everybody’s balls for giving you what you want,” said Mitrione.
“If you want your cake and eat it too, then you’re not going to have that good looking cake. It may taste good, but it’s not going to look nearly as good if you could use eggs instead of egg beaters.”
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