Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
In the fight against PEDs in MMA, Roy Nelson has been one of the first mixed martial artists on the front lines, challenging his fellow athletes, and more specifically, his opponents, to join him in random testing with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. So far, he's mostly struck out, as his original TUF 16 Finale opponent Shane Carwin decided against it, as did Carwin's eventual replacement, Matt Mitrione.
In declining, the two cited different reasons. For Carwin, it was a question of VADA's credibility after the organization's website posted a story which his representative said included "false and defamatory" claims against him. The story was taken down by VADA, whose president Dr. Margaret Goodman said it was posted by an intern without permission, but in Carwin's mind, the damage was done. Mitrione, meanwhile, said that after taking the bout on short-notice, he needed to focus all of his efforts on preparing and couldn't deal with registering for the process as well as random testing.
Nelson's inability to get them on board won't dissuade him from his mission at all, he said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
The way Nelson sees it, he's doing something good not only for the sport, but also for its athletes. He's giving them the opportunity to prove they are fighting clean, to erase all doubts.
Stripped down to its core, he's giving them their reputation.
"That’s the thing I don't understand with this VADA stuff," he said. "It's not that hard. I ask you if you want to do it. If I can give you a gift, if someone gives you a gift, of course, you’re going to say, 'Thank you, Roy.' With Matt, I called him personally up because we’re supposed to be friends, and I said, 'Hey, man this is what I want do.' He said cool. And then next thing you know, he doesn't want to do it. Wow. But [I'm saying] on The MMA Hour, if you fight Roy Nelson, don't be surprised if I have a 'gift' for you."
In a literal sense, he's right. The testing involved costs money, and VADA conducts carbon isotope ratio testing, a process which most experts says is far more effective than the traditional urine panel screens.
That's the behind-the-scenes of it. But for a fighter, he says, the tests should be fairly easy. Sign up, and be available.
"They got excuses up the yin-yang," said Nelson, who recently became a father when his wife Jessy gave birth to a son, Jaxon. "It's the most lamest thing. You pee in a cup and it goes to a lab. The lab either says it's good or he's got fishy stuff going on."
Nelson, known for his physique we'll generously call "untraditional" among athletes, subjected himself to the testing for this fight even though his opponent did not. The fight itself ended in another first-round knockout win, lending credence to the belief that you can win clean in the modern era.
The spectacular victory capped off his stint on TUF, during which Nelson was the subject of complaints by some of the fighters on his own team. Colton Smith, a team Nelson member, won the series, and was one of only four TUF members to score a UFC deal, leading many to the conclusion that the cast was low on talent.
"Me personally, I probably would’ve picked a whole different group," he said. "There were a couple guys who actually really wanted to be Ultimate Fighter guys. And then there were others who walked into the wrong audition. They thought it was for Jersey Shore, but it wasn’t."
Nelson said that of his group of eight, he only expects to keep ties with Smith and Jon Manley.
He also has no interest in keeping alive his rivalry with Carwin. He took a shot at the former interim heavyweight champ's quiet personality, saying, "it was me carrying the show by myself," but despite their cross words in the past, Nelson has no plans on campaigning for the fight, even though other coaching matchups that have been sidetracked by injury have eventually happened in due time. But if it comes his way?
"Have I ever turned down a fight?" he said. Then, he added, "I'm not going to think about him right now. No need to."
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