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Matt Mitrione: PED problem in MMA stems from fighters not training smart enough

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Matt Mitrione is not sure there is a serious problem with performance-enhancing drugs in MMA. But if there is, he has an idea where it comes from: poor training practices.

"There might be a problem with PEDs, but I think it's because the sport hasn't evolved enough to realize that kicking each other's ass or kicking your own ass every single day, day in and day out, with limited recovery is ridiculous," Mitrione told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.

Mitrione, the UFC heavyweight, thinks that fighters end up wanting things like steroids and HGH just for quicker recovery times after hard workouts. More reps presumably mean a better performance in the cage. He believes that would be remedied if fighters were just smarter about their training and not attempting to go 100 percent every single second in the gym.

"I think that strength and conditioning is a major trouble with MMA," Mitrione said. "I think everybody works so hard on the mats. You don't go on the mat and half ass it. You don't do that, because if you do you're gonna get hurt because that guy you're going against is gonna try to bust his ass no matter what's happening because he's getting ready for something.

"Then you go and do strength and conditioning and you're lifting, you're doing the ropes and all this other madness and this and this and this and your body is getting worn down and you're never getting a chance to recover."

Mitrione (9-3) believes he trains better and smarter than most, because he listens to his body and takes rest days or goes to the pool and swims rather than banging around in sparring at his Blackzilians gym.

"I've been approached by all these derelicts and fools that say, 'I'll make you puke in one round,'" Mitrione said. "Go to hell, guy. I don't need anybody running me into the ground so much that I puke. That's not the answer. All that does is just ruin your neurological system and everything else."

The 36-year-old, who is on a three-fight winning streak made up of first-round knockouts, has a unique perspective when it comes to this. He was a football star at Purdue University and played in the NFL. MMA training, Mitrione said, has not quite reached the level of how good the athletes are yet, which is also why you might see so many injuries.

"I don't think that training has caught up to the mentality of bigger, stronger, faster," Mitrione said. "I think that everybody tries to run themselves through walls just because they think they're supposed to instead of listening to their body more."

As for performance-enhancing drugs, Mitrione said he isn't sure if it's a bigger issue in football or MMA. He said that MMA is certainly getting an "ugly black eye" from all the positive tests lately, including legend Anderson Silva, but he isn't sure if it's just mixed martial arts that has a problem.

"I think that there's an issue with performance-enhancing drugs on any level, whether that is professional chess or professional sports," Mitrione said. "Doesn't matter. So I think that there's always going to be a line that's gonna be drawn and there's always going to be somebody to figure out some way to step over that line and not get caught or to take as much of a chance as possible."

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