We heard it many times, seen it many times. We give praises to our most favorite fighter, only to find out that they’ve been tested positive for banned substances. The obvious reason for taking performance enhancing drugs is to excel and dominate in the fight, no more no less. Any other reason is just that; a reason. As time goes by, the list of banned substances becomes endless.
Athletes will always find their way to new drugs that is not listed. Those who are using banned substances are usually well versed on what they were doing. The better word to describe the use of illegal drugs in sports is Doping. Doping in sports is a risk that athletes take to become invincible, but can also lead to an end in their chosen careers.
The procedure used by the Olympic committee during the 1928 Olympics is via interview. The committee will ask the athletes one by one if he or she is using drugs. And their word is taken as the statement of truth.
Believe it or not, rampant doping began in the early sixties in the sport of swimming. It was an experiment to see if there was an increase in the overall stamina, and it did. Cyclists started using illegal drugs too, in the form of Barbiturates that is suppose to delay the fatigue and sharpen the reflex, which is strange because this drug is used for mild sedation and decrease aggression.
While athletes are getting busy finding ways to enhance their performance, doping committees need to double their time in intercepting every new revolutionary supplements that are put on the shelves of every sports shops and health stores. They need to formulate a plan through which sports commissions in every country could establish a fact and verify weather a sports person was actually administering a banned substance or not. It was only in the 1970 that the Olympic committee and other amateur athletics organizations decided to regularize the procedure through series of urine tests or blood tests. The fighting sports of boxing and the martial arts are now required to submit their samples which are then submitted to certified laboratories. Action is immediately taken to any fighter who’s results yield positive and guilty of using banned substances.
The punishment given to a fighter depends on the kind of drug that was identified. From a mere warning, to a temporary ban, to a permanent ban from fighting in any arena. As long as a fighter chooses to compete at an elite level, drug testing will be a part of his or her life. It can be an irritating and uncomfortable situation for any fighter because doping testers can come to you anytime whether you are asleep, on a date, or inside the training hall. But this is how the committee cleans the sport of fighting. Each fighter is subjected to both in-competition testing, and out-of-competition testing, and this can occur at any time, any place with or without further notice as long as the fighter is actively participating in professional competitions.
The doping committee or representative will approach the fighters, inform them of their rights and responsibilities, and will be asked for any identification before the collection of samples. Fighters who compete in events sanctioned by a national governing body are subject to blood testing. In blood testing, the detection of additional substances that are not detected in the urine are easily identified. After collection of samples of urine or blood, or both, the samples are sent to the laboratory. Note that the owner of the samples are not disclosed. The containers are coded, and the names are never revealed to the laboratory.
The collection of both urine and blood are designed to be a safe process and comfortable for the fighters to ensure that the integrity of the fighter is maintained. The approach is polite, and the communication between the doping representatives and the fighter is always at a positive level. The fighter has the right to bring another person that he trust to witness his test. Normally an interpreter if the fighter is from a foreign country. A fighter who is in the middle of his training when visited by a committee representative, can continue training and take his time until he is free and relaxed to take the doping test. Series of questions can be asked by the representatives such as the type of supplements they use and if they are under any medications. 90 milliliters of urine is collected, and in case of blood test,s a certain milliliters of blood will be taken according to what the testers are looking for.
When a fighter escapes the venue where the testers are present, such as the case of Wanderlei Silva (During the Wanderlei Silva vs Chael Sonnen hype) is already a sign of guilt and may be considered positive, or be penalized by the Sport Fighting Organization. A fighter also has the right to ask for identification and credentials from the doping test representative, and choose the collection vessels. A fighter must receive a copy of all forms that was used to document the processing of his test.
So why did Anderson Silva’s use of banned substances came late and announced days after the fight? Well, it is in the fighter’s right to request for the modification of the test in case of disability (being in a post recovery stage), which can be done in many ways. It is also the UFC’s and the fighter’s right to request for a delay in doping control report for valid reasons.
Written by Daniel “Mumbakki” Foronda on February 12, 2015