Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn (16-9-2 MMA, 12-8-2 UFC) has long campaigned for more stringent drug-testing in the sport of mixed martial arts. Following Chael Sonnen’s second random drug test failure, “The Prodigy” thinks things are starting to look up for the sport, as he stated on the UFC175/TUF19 conference call:
“I’m really excited that they can test for the HGH and the EPO. I’ve always suspected that people were doing those things and not just a steroid. So it’s very exciting and very gratifying to finally see that they playing field is…people are going to start thinking twice about what they put in their bodies, and the playing field will be much more equal. And that’s just huge.”
Prior to the ban on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), Penn had voiced his disapproval of the treatment being used in the UFC on multiple occasions. Chael Sonnen had been one of the recipients of the treatment, this until it’s outright ban in February 0f 2014.
The self proclaimed “American Gangster” has not issued a public statement yet regarding his second failed test. But that doesn’t mean that Chael is not already feeling the backlash, as it was recently announced that Sonnen had been terminated from his UFC on FOX broadcasting duties.
Penn went on to say that he feels bad for his buddy Chael, but at the same time is very excited for the future of the sport:
“Chael Sonnen is actually a personal buddy of mine, and it’s sad to see what Chael Sonnen is going through,” Penn said. “But if you want to talk about the future of the sport, the safety of the fighters…and I’ve always spoke out against it. It’s just I’m so excited now that they can get the HGH and the EPO. That put a smile on my face.”
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The News should really put a smile on everyone’s face in the MMA community. Human growth hormone (HGH) and recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) are incredibly hard to detect in tests; even when blood sample has been taken. So, that means the NSAC has upped their game in terms of testing, helping level the playing field for all those competing in mixed martial arts.