As news is circulating that Frank Mir has been accused of a possible violation by USADA, one has to question the damage that recent violations are having on the reputation of the fighters in question.
While Mir has not been found guilty and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, as a former heavyweight champion it would be extremely hurtful to his legacy should he be found guilty.
— Shaheen Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) April 9, 2016
It is one thing for a fighter’s legacy to be tarnished, as you could argue that they only have themselves to blame but when someone has been a prominent UFC fighter for an extended period of time it also damages the organisation. If the fighter was a former champion, for example, it paints a scarlet letter over their whole reign as champion and in doing so can hurt the company’s history.
Using Anderson Silva as an example, it is clear to see that the UFC is trying to move past the fact that he was caught using performance enhancing drugs, as they are still booking him in big fights, since his return. It seems to be an almost unanimous belief however, that Silva, while only caught once, that had he been tested out of competition before that time he would have been caught.
Hearsay, while not proof can be just as damaging as proof itself, at least in the eyes of the multitudes of cynics who follow the sport. So should fighters getting popped by USADA, become a regular occurrence over the next few months or even years, a lot of history may just be re-written in the eyes of the doubtful.
Saying that, the UFC’s stance on PEDs is very commendable and you have to admire their steadfast approach at trying to rid the sport of their usage, but perhaps they should re-think their policy on keeping fighters after they have been caught. While it may seem like a huge loss to the company to lose names such as Silva, Overeem, Melendez, Vitor and Rothwell (to name but a few), perhaps it would bolster their standing on the PED crackdown.
Obviously the UFC fears that making huge name fighters free agents, would only serve to help other promotions, maybe the fans would appreciate the company sticking to their guns and show their support. It would also send a very clear message to the fighters. Get caught and you’re done.
Paul O’Dea, Pundit Arena
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