Outside of the nearly universally positive reaction to the new policy in terms of curbing PED use, there has been a lot of talk about the potential side-effects of the new steroid testing program. From cancelled fights, to diminished performances & gassed fighters, to derailed careers via suspensions, to increased injuries. The talk has primarily been about the negatives. But I don't see it this way at all. This new policy will usher in the most turbulent era of change and divisional upheaval the sport has likely ever seen.
Certainly, formerly exciting fighters will find themselves listless. Certainly big name fighters will find themselves suspended. Certainly big fights will drop off as a result either of injury indirectly related to this. These things are bound to happen. However, this also means everything we thought we knew about MMA means little. To me, this is tremendously exciting. Isn't that when MMA is at its best? When it is unpredictable and nothing we think is supposed to happen does?
Worried about gassed fighters in five round fights and title contests? Don't be. Gassed fighters in title fights means finished fighters in title fights. Worried about suddenly washed up stars? Don't be. Suddenly washed up fighters means dramatic upsets and fresh blood. This can't come at a better time. The original marquee divisions of the sport are suffocating from a lack of fresh talent. I was as Pride Never Die as anyone, but its time to cut off the life support all these 39 year old washed up stars from yesteryear have been on. This, along with the end of TRT, was needed to throw the dirt on Pride's casket. This is it, the apocalypse.
And perhaps there are other benefits. Perhaps if fighters no longer have the crutch of chemicals to recover from rigorous training, methods will have to be amended and this may lead to smarter training, and ergo, less knee injuries over the long haul and less cancelled fights.
Another interesting side effect will be what this means in terms of weight classes ; Without the substances they use to maintain or cut weight, some fighters will have to move up, while other fighters may have to drop down. This will create new opportunities for match ups, and lead to greater size disparity between fighters within weight classes. Big LWs and small MWs may suddenly find themselves meeting in the middle - leading to more Bendo-Thatch type matchups, which for me, is an awesome thing.
Whatever happens, one thing is clear - if you bet MMA fights, stop. Right Now. This is going to be a horrible time for MMA bookmakers, and a great time for fans of the sport. Whatever you think you know about MMA officially doesn't mean shit. Welcome to the new age.