Mike King, the Ultimate Fighter 19 competitor who lost to fellow TUF housemate Cathal Pendred at UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao just under a month ago in Dublin, Ireland, has been suspended nine months by the world’s premier MMA promotion following a positive drug test. In this case, King’s gaffe was a costly one.
King tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid that other fighters including Josh Barnett, Royce Gracie, Nate Marquardt, Dennis Hallman, and Joey Beltran, have also been caught on at various points in their career. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds of past Major League Baseball fame have also been reported to have used the drug during their careers. As a result of the positive test, which was preformed by the UFC itself as there was no local athletic commission able to handle fighter testing, King has also lost his Fight of the Night bonus of $50,000 – a costly misstep for a fighter just getting started in his career.
This suspension, and the loss of King’s bonus money, harkens back to Pat Healy‘s loss of his double bonus at UFC 159, where he had originally been awarded a Submission of the Night and Fight of the Night bonus. After testing positive for marijuana, Healy was stripped of both bonuses – $100,000 that would have no doubt been a huge pay-day for the fighter who would subsequently go 0-4 and find himself cut from the promotion.
Marijuana, while not a performance enhancing substance, is a banned substance – though since the Healy fight the NSAC has raised the levels as to what constitutes a positive test. Healy’s infraction, such as it was, is forgiveable as a result. King’s not so much – in fact, it’s downright idiotic for a fighter getting his first shot in the UFC to even think about using performance enhancing drugs (frankly it’s moronic for anyone to do it, but as long as fighters feel it gives them an edge and they can get away with it, they no doubt will).
This test lends yet more credence to newly retired fighter Mark Bocek‘s recent statement to The MMA Hour that there is a war going on in the sport in regards to PEDs, and that as far as the number of guys potentially using performance enhancing drugs in the sport goes, “Maybe 90% sounds about right. You could say that, yeah.”
Even half that number – lets say 45% – would be staggering. Lets hope that more positive tests like King’s makes it clear to fighters that cheating doesn’t pay.