Gordon Ryan isn’t so sure about bringing United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing into the grappling world.
The arguably greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner of all time, Ryan (93-5-3), hasn’t been seen in active competition since Dec. 2022. Having dealt with a health scare in the past months, the 28-year-old “King” returned to the public eye to attend the UFC Fight Pass Invitational that took place at the end of last month (June 29, 2023).
Ryan’s fellow highly-touted grappler, “Nicky Rod” Nick Rodriguez, won the night’s eight-man tournament, prompting a callout for a USADA-tested rematch between the two. Ryan defeated Rodriguez via escape time in overtime the last time he competed and declined the offer. Ryan now explains why he thinks it’s best to leave USADA out of these UFC Fight Pass-related grappling events.
“I think if USADA steps into, like, Fight Pass events, for example, it’s gonna ruin Fight Pass events,” Ryan said on IT’S TIME!!! with Bruce Buffer (h/t Grappling Insider). “And the reason is that if you’re competing in a Fight Pass event or if you’re competing on a Fight Pass Invitational and you’re getting randomly tested, that means now that you’re the only person in the sport who’s getting tested and a person who’s competing on FloGrappling for example, or ONE Championship, isn’t getting tested. So that means you have to be competing natural for those specific events where everyone else in the sport can be on PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs). That puts you at an extreme disadvantage for no reason unless you’re getting paid exorbitant amounts of money. If USADA comes into just one organization, it’s gonna pretty much crush that organization and athletes will just not compete in that organization.”
Often under fire for alleged PED use by grapplers and the community, Ryan shrugs off the accusations, treating them as excuses made as a byproduct of his legendary run. Ryan clarifies that he’s not against drug testing, he just believes it has to be done universally to be as effective as possible in the sport.
“I definitely think USADA coming in would have to be across the board rather than just one organization or another,” Ryan said. “If USADA did come in and start testing across the board, I would love to actually compete against all of my opponents natural because the only way that they survive for any amount of time is they just juice their way out of things for 10 minutes until they get tired. If they didn’t have the physicality, the match would be twice as easy. The only reason they can survive against me, they’re so physically strong I have to tire them out first and then I can submit them.”