LOS ANGELES – Michael Bisping has suffered losses to Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva. What do those three fighters have in common? They’ve all been caught up in drug testing scandals over the past several months.
While these scandals came up well after each man stepped in the octagon to compete with Bisping, “The Count” says he’s positive he wasn’t playing on an even field during his 2013 bout with Belfort, his 2012 contest with Sonnen and his 2010 matchup against Silva.
“They weren’t clean,” Bisping told MMAjunkie. “We all know they weren’t f–king clean. They’ve only just started doing blood tests. People have been taking (human) growth hormone and EPO and all kinds of s–t for years. A urine sample will only show certain things, and people know when to come off stuff. It’s an IQ test. The blood test they do now will catch more people because they’re testing for more things, but they didn’t do that before.”
Belfort, who knocked Bisping out at UFC on FX 7 in January 2013, has failed two drug tests during his storied MMA career. The first came under the PRIDE banner in 2006, when he was flagged for elevated testosterone levels. The second came in February, when the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) ordered “The Phenom” to take a random drug test that showed irregular testosterone ratios. Belfort, however, insists those ratios were a result of his testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) treatment.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion was on TRT for his fight with Bisping. At the time of the fight, TRT was permissible for fighters with a prescription, but it has since been banned in most regulated jurisdictions. Now that Belfort is off the treatment, Bisping is curious to see the changes in his physical attributes and performance.
“Vitor is not going to be the same,” Bisping said. “You can already see it. His physique looks remarkably different already. Of course, since this all kicked off in when he got tested, he’s obviously been clean since then, and that was six, seven months ago and you can see the difference. It’s going to be very interesting when you see Vitor at the weigh-in (at UFC 181 against Chris Weidman) and you see his physique compared to the last few times he’s fought and the guy looked like he was in a bodybuilding contest.”
Sonnen, who narrowly edged Bisping via decision at UFC on FOX 2 in January 2012, is also a multiple-time offender. He was flagged for elevated testosterone levels following his infamous UFC 117 loss to Anderson Silva in 2011, and earlier this summer flunked a random drug that saw him test positive for a cocktail of four banned substances.
As punishment for his failed test, the NSAC handed Sonnen a two-year suspension. The effectiveness of that decision is up for debate due to the fact Sonnen has retired from MMA competition, but Bisping hopes others can take a lesson from the mistakes made by one of the most popular fighters to even grace the octagon.
“I don’t want to kick Chael while he’s down,” Bisping said. “I like Chael, but he’s paying the price and hopefully it sets an example to the younger fighters and they see the error of his ways and learn. If you can’t do this sport without taking steroids, go do something else.”
Silva, who defeated Bisping by decision at UFC 110 in February 2012, has technically never failed a drug test. But when the NSAC attempted to subject the Brazilian to random testing along with Sonnen earlier this summer, “The Axe Murderer” quite literally ran away and avoided the test entirely, which in the NSAC’s eyes was all but an admission of guilt.
While none of the three fighters produced positive tests when fighting Bisping, it’s difficult not wonder if, and for how long, they’ve cheated the system before being caught. The fact Bisping lost to each man, and in meaningful, high-stakes fights no less, infuriates him to no end, he says.
“It’s disgusting to me that people do that,” Bisping said. “I know they’ve done it, Chael did it, he admitted it, Wanderlei, Vitor – in hindsight maybe I should have insisted on blood tests through camp or whatever, but hindsight is a great thing afterwards.”
In recent months the NSAC and UFC officials have made positive steps to increase the quality in drug testing for fighters. This past week MMAjunkie first reported UFC fighters Robert Drysdale and Kevin Casey were flagged for banned substances.
Drysdale is a situation, much like Belfort, where his use of TRT has raised several complications. Bisping says he doesn’t know Drysdale on a personal level, but that didn’t prevent him from sending a few choice words the way of the 205-pound jiu-jitsu world champion.
“F–king Drysdale, he can kiss my ass,” Bisping said. “I’ve never met the guy, he could be the nicest guy in the world, but what I see is a guy who failed his f–king test, then was on TRT, then said, ‘Oh, I don’t need TRT.’ He came off it and there you go, that’s my f–king problem with TRT right from the get-go. You either need TRT or you don’t. You can’t get a doctor to prescribe it and say, ‘Oh, I don’t need it and I’ll come off it.’ You’re a cheat, and now he failed his IQ test. Not only is he a steroid cheat, but he’s f–king stupid.”
As much as Bisping would like to change the past, he knows that can’t be done. Unless something drastic happens with the system, the results of his fights with Belfort, Sonnen and Silva will stand permanently on his record. Bisping is a self-proclaimed clean fighter who, as far as public knowledge is concerned, has never failed a test. While he’s pleased the sport is taking effective steps to catch cheaters, he’ll forever be disturbed by the trend of his career losses.
“I’ve never done anything in my entire life,” Bisping said. “Today I was the first one to the gym. I was f–king kicking pads while people were just chatting away about what they had for dinner last night. Now the next class is halfway through and I’ve only just f–king finished. I do it the hard way and I work my f–king ass off.
“We’re trying to knock each other’s f–king heads off. We’re not trying to put a ball in a basket. The situation is horrible.”
Bisping (24-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC) will next fight Cung Le (9-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) on Aug. 23 in the main event of UFC Fight Night 48 from Cotai Arena in Macau. The entire event streams UFC Fight Pass in the United States.
For more on UFC Fight Night 48, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.