Tim Kennedy, as outspoken as ever, wrote on his Twitter account that he knows about 50 guys in MMA who are “dirty,” so UFC has not routed all the cheaters. Kennedy’s claim is not necessarily hard to believe. Ali Bagautinov, the fighter who competed for the UFC Flyweight Championship at UFC 174, recently failed a drug test for erythropoietin (EPO). What do both Kennedy and Bagautinov have in common? They both train or have trained out of the Jackson/Winkeljohn MMA camp.
So, if Kennedy knows 50 fighters who are cheating, then one would assume that Bagautinov is at least one, considering both trained out of the same camp. In recent years, Kennedy has been outspoken against users of performance enhancing drugs and testosterone replacement therapy, supporting enhanced drug testing for fighters. However, if Kennedy truly does know 50 cheaters, he should name them. The sport does not get cleaned up through his silence.
One problem with Kennedy’s statement, it is very easy for fighters to accuse others of cheating. Fighters have been doing so years. Recently, Jose Aldo basically made that accusation toward Chad Mendes in a statement where Aldo mentioned Mendes taking “supplements.” At the end of the day, anyone can accuse anyone of using steroids to get a competitive edge.
Kennedy’s remarks lack substance because he refuses to divulge what he alleges. It makes him come off like a whiner. It was not long ago that BJ Penn accused Georges St. Pierre of being a steroid user, despite the fact that GSP never failed a drug test in his career. No one really took Penn’s accusations seriously. Now, the recent rash of failed drug tests do add some more weight to Kennedy’s remarks; but that is all the more reason he should expose the cheaters.
If you believe the rumors, it is possible that over half the industry or more is using some type of banned substance. This means there is a good chance a fighter you like and respect is using some type of PED. If Kennedy is that serious about the issue and he has hard evidence, he should present it to the public or the athletic commissions, no matter the repercussions. Instead, Kennedy’s current stance makes him look like he is dangling a carrot but refuses to reveal the actual details. If this sounds like a cynical perspective, it comes from this observation: Almost every cheater that gets caught in sports has denied being a cheater at some point.