Brian Stann has served in the military, as well as inside the Octagon. Now, he's serving for those affected by performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
"All American" recently made headlines months after his mixed martial arts (MMA) retirement, admitting a big reason he stepped away from the sport was because of certain athletes finding success by using banned substances.
In a sport like MMA -- where you literally can batter and opponent several times before the referee has time to step in -- the consequences can be troubling.
He explains his reasoning below (via MMA Hour):
"I think the time when you retire coming off a loss and then you say that, what I didn't want to do was discredit any of my former opponents. You know, specifically seeing that Wanderlei (Silva) was my last fight, I didn't want to come off like, ‘Hey, I'm making excuses. The only people that beat me were people on drugs.' I don't know any of that for a certainty. There's one time when I fought a guy on TRT when it was allowed, and that's the only time that I could say substantially somebody was taking something. But, it was a factor. I'm a clean fighter. I'm 33 years old, and I have seen, in my own training, and in talking and knowing guys in the inner circle, I've known what guys are not on, and when they cycle on it. You can feel the difference in the gym and what big a difference it makes, and I do think there are a number of guys who are using just because the testing currently by our athletic commissions is inadequate."
The former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) light heavyweight champion confirmed on the show that the only lab testing blood is USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Nevada has started to implement the same structure, testing Travis Browne and Josh Barnett ahead of their Heavyweight match UFC 168.
Stann's biggest fear is for something catastrophic to happen inside the cage if one fighter decides to batter another using PEDs, which could bring in parties who would want nothing more than to shut down the young sport.
"Currently, what athletic commissions are doing testing the day of the fight is not enough. That's almost an IQ test."
The former combatant met with USADA‘s CEO Travis T. Tygart -- the man who took down Lance Armstrong -- and the Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar in Las Vegas. And after sharing thoughts on the matter in a meeting, Stann was shocked at the amount of money it takes for a random drug test per fight.
The average cost is between $35,000 to $45,000.
Aguilar confirmed that it just doesn't fit the budget. And without the help of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) CEO. Lorenzo Fertitta, it wouldn't be possible. NSAC decides who it wants to test, requests the money and the promotion, so far, dishes out the cash with no questions asked when it comes to specific fights.
"I think we've made some significant changes in the last six or seven months and I think we can continue down that road especially if we can make the cost of random drug testing more efficient. There's got to be a way to lean out that cost so that it can be done."
Stann will be making a point to keep communicating with UFC brass to see what he can do to help out. More specifically, how he can find a way to get that cost cut. The United States army veteran has also been talking to Aguilar about the idea of longer suspensions, since he feels six to nine months is nothing compared to a fighter who would have to sit out for two years.
Obviously, Dana White's comments that PEDs have been eliminated from UFC should be taken with a grain of salt because the issue isn't fixed. To make matters worse, he made that statement around the exact same time Dennis Siver failed a drug test based on his UFC 168 performance against Manny Gamburyan.
Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre has voiced his disapproval with the sport's drug testing policies as well, saying he would only return to the sport if he sees a difference. Stann isn't quite in the same boat, since he's happy being retired.
"I don't think so. No, I really don't. For me, that ship has really sailed. Not that I couldn't compete. I know I can. I still train pretty often ... for me, at this age, and with my children, the big thing for me is I can no longer go where I need to go to be at the highest level and focus."
One more for the good guys.
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