Last weekend, in the main event of Bellator 198, heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko picked up one if his best wins in ages, putting former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir down with first-round punches.
In this win, Emelianenko showed flashes of the brilliance he was famous for at the height of his reign as the world’s best heavyweight. In the opinion of UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, however, Emelianenko’s heyday might have been marred by performance-enhancing drug use. In Rogan’s eyes, it’s “suspicious” how Emelianenko’s success seemed to dwindle when he began fighting outside of Japan, where drug-testing is more stringent.
“[Bellator] does some [drug] checking; they do have state athletic commissions,” Rogan said on his podcast (transcribed by Damon Martin for MMAWeekly). “Japan was encouraging [steroid use]. Who knows who was doing what and who wasn’t doing what, but when you talk to the guys who were over there, like Enson Inoue, and he’ll tell you they had it in capital letters in the contract: WE WILL NOT TEST YOU FOR STEROIDS.”
“I’m super suspicious about all those old fights now,” Rogan added. “I mean steroids, performance enhancing drugs, we’re looking at a different human [in Emelianenko], that’s what I’m thinking.”
Whatever the case, Rogan believes that steroid use was so widespread in Japanese leagues like PRIDE that it was essentially a level playing field. So perhaps, Emelianenko’s record is as impressive as it looks after all.
“Whatever everybody was on back then, they were all on the same shit,” Rogan said. “Fedor was still beating everybody’s ass.”
What do you think of these comments from Joe Rogan?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/2/2018.