Since the UFC partnered with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in 2015, a lot of fighters are much happier with how things are going in the organization as far as their competition goes. UFC heavyweight “Big” Ben Rothwell is one of them.
Rothwell spoke with ESPN recently on how the landscape of the UFC is changing with the increased drug testing, especially in the heavyweight division.
“Before USADA, I would say 80 percent or more heavyweights were on performance-enhancing drugs,” Rothwell said. “Let’s just look at the facts. Bigger athletes don’t like to train the way we do. This sport is exhausting. Big guys come and go all the time because they hate the hard work. The ones who survive seem to think they need steroids and PEDs to cope with the training.
“And let’s face it, being a big guy and ripped just doesn’t happen naturally. Everybody wants that ripped look. For a guy to weigh 265 pounds and get that look everyone wants to see in a professional fighter, he needs help. I think that’s another big reason PED use is high at heavyweight. All divisions have it, but it has been bad at heavyweight.”
Interestingly, “Big Ben” himself has been under the microscope for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone back in 2013. While he was approved for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) back then, Rothwell tested with higher levels than what was allowed and was suspended for nine months. Rothwell has had to cut TRT treatment off completely after it was banned in 2014.
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“These guys are changing. They’re not the same,” Rothwell said. “You see the Alistair [Overeem] and Junior dos Santos fight [in December], even when they get on the scale, the way they fought — there are a lot of changes. Travis Browne just struggled to beat a guy [Matt Mitrione] I trashed in two minutes. There are a lot of changes going on right now in this division and I’m excited to be a part of it.”