Cheaters will be cheaters

Randy Couture punching Tim Sylvia during their UFC 68 fight last March in
Ohio. (Josh Hedges, UFC)

Randy Couture punching Tim Sylvia during their UFC 68 fight last March in Ohio. (Josh Hedges, UFC)

JOSE RODRIGUEZ

, Last Updated: 9:20 PM ET

That’s the reluctant response from the Godfather of mixed martial arts, Randy Couture, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship suffers another kick in the teeth as the result of positive drug tests.

UFC lightweight champ Sean ‘Muscle Shark’ Sherk and challenger Hermes Franca both failed drug tests after their July 7 fight in Sacramento, Calif.

Couture, the current UFC heavyweight champ and long revered as one of the sport’s most respected ambassadors, said he was upset by news of the test results.

"It’s disappointing," the 43-year-old Couture told Sun Media yesterday adding he considers Sherk a great competitor and a good person.

But Couture was quick to point out that there is no more the UFC can do to stop any fighter bent on taking performance-enhancing drugs.

"I think (the UFC) is doing everything it can do," said Couture. "They’re testing and there are repercussions. People are still going to be willing to take that risk.

"It’s been throughout sports all along from the Olympics right on down.

"I think they’re doing everything they can but it’s still up to the athletes."

Whether the UFC and other mixed-martial-arts leagues are indeed doing enough to keep their fighters clean is a question fans continue to grapple with.

Stephan Bonnar tested positive last August and received a $5,000 fine and a nine month suspension. For a middle-of the-pack fighter who made $32,000 in his last fight, being out of commission for any period of time for Bonnar would constitute a huge chunk of lost income.

The legendary Royce Gracie, on the other hand, who made his name selling technique over power, tested positive or steroids after a California mixed-martial arts event this June and was suspended for a year. He chose not to appeal because he only fights once a year and by the next time he’s ready to scrap, his suspension will have been served.

In the latest incident, Sherk tested positive for nandrolone while Franca’s test showed traces of drostanolone.

Each received one-year suspensions and $2,500 fines.

So, is that enough of a deterrent to stop some fighter from thinking twice before juicing up?

Detractors will say the fines are mere slap on the five-ounce gloves.

Others will point out the suspensions are monstrous by comparison to other major sports leagues like the NFL or major league baseball where suspensions are measured in days, not months.

Yes, the UFC could make a statement on how serious it is about steroid abuse by doubling any suspension handed out by sanctioning bodies. It could institute its own set of monstrous fines.

And those discussions are, no doubt, taking place inside the UFC war room in Vegas.

But in the end there will always be those ready to break the rules regardless of the consequences.

There will always be cheaters.

jose.rodriguez@sunmedia.ca

FIGHT NOTES: o Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell will take on Keith ‘Dean of Mean’ Jardine in his first fight since losing the belt to Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. The two will fight at UFC 76 on Sept. 22 in Anaheim in a card that will include the highly anticipated UFC debut of Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. Shogun will take on Forrest Griffin. Welterweight Diego Sanchez will also take on Jon Fitch at the fight. o Canadian fighter Jonathan ‘The Road Warrior’ Goulet has will fight Mike ‘Quick’ Swick for Swick’s debut as a welterweight. The two will sqare off in September at Ultimate Fight Night 11. o Spike TV will telecast UFC 75: Champion vs. Champion, on Sept. 8. The event will feature the belt unification bout between UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Pride 205-pound champ Dan ‘Hollywood’ Henderson. Also on the card Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic will battle Cheick Kongo and Michael "The Count" Bisping will fight fellow "The Ultimate Fighter 3" cast member Matt "The Hammer" Hamill. For the latest mixed-martial arts news, check out The Scrapyard blog at canoe.ca


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