Shamrock and Slice told MMAFighting.com on Wednesday that they believe MMA athletes should be able to take a regulated amount of PEDs because of the hefty toll training can take on a fighters' body.
"The best way that I could describe this is like putting gas into a race car that's regular gas," Shamrock said. "It's not gonna perform to its maximum level, because of all the pressure you're putting on the engine and pistons, the carburetor and the gas lines and everything that goes into making that thing go fast and perform at a high level. Those things would blow up and blow out if they don't have what they need to push that big strong engine. And the body is the same way where you're constantly pushing it beyond the normal level of a human being."
Slice said hypothetically that if a regular man's testosterone level is around a 6, then a fighter should be allowed to be "8 or 9."
"It's not average to take your body through two or three hours of training, beating, banging, punching, weights," Slice said. "Eating different, sleeping shorter, waking up to compete. Your body goes through some sh*t. The ligaments, the bones, the tendinitis. That's some brutal sh*t the body has to go through. The commissions, we should allow everything to be under control at a certain level to keep the sport good, to keep the fans wanting to see their favorites and paying millions of dollars. Yeah, f*ck yeah. I'm all for that."
Shamrock and Slice will fight each other in the main event of Bellator 138 on June 19 in St. Louis. It's a fight that has been seven years in the making. The two were initially supposed to meet at EliteXC: Heat back in 2008 before Shamrock sustained a cut on the day of the potential bout and had to withdraw.
Shamrock, 51, is a UFC Hall of Famer and one of the pioneers of the sport. He competed at UFC 1 and is a former Pancrase champion. The 41-year-old Slice, meanwhile, is still one of the highest ratings draws in MMA history. The former viral video streetfighter remains wildly popular among the casual fanbase.
While the two men have unique opinions on PED use in mixed martial arts, both passed steroid tests leading into this fight, according to Bellator MMA president Scott Coker. Missouri Office of Athletics executive director Tim Lueckenhoff confirmed that to MMAFighting.com on Tuesday.
Lueckenhoff, who is the president of the Association of Boxing Commissions executive committee, also said Shamrock and Slice had to pass additional testing because of their advanced ages to determine they didn't have any heart issues. Echo stress tests were required and passed, as were urine testing for PEDs and standard tests for blood and a physical exam, per Lueckenhoff.
Performance-enhancing drugs are the hottest topic in MMA right now. The UFC announced last week that it would be amping up random testing and penalties for drug offenders starting in July. Last month, the Nevada Athletic Commission announced sweeping changes to its anti-doping protocols highlighted by massive penalties for users. And just Tuesday, Bellator bantamweight fighter Mike Richman was suspended two years for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs after his fight with Eduardo Dantas at Bellator 137 last month.
The buzz around potential PED use with Slice and Shamrock increased earlier this week when Shamrock posted a photo on Twitter of himself shirtless and looking chiseled. Shamrock, though, reiterated that he was clean and is "frustrated" that people would think otherwise.
Tonight's training was great. Ready for this fight. pic.twitter.com/as0qoHuQ7S— KEN SHAMROCK (@ShamrockKen) June 9, 2015
"It bothers me when you put that much work into it," Shamrock said. "The ignorance that goes into that is like saying that Albert Einstein put a needle in his brain and shot stuff in there to make him smart. It's just to me beyond the comprehension of people understanding that you don't just put a needle in your vein and it happens. It's hard work. It's hard work to get in there and spar with people have a fresh guy come in on you and getting banged around and submitted and going for an hour or 45 minutes straight, no rest. Day in and day out for six months."
Slice, though, said he would not mind if Shamrock was using banned drugs.
"I don't care what he has to do," Slice said. "I want him to do what he needs to do to be at his best. I want to beat Ken Shamrock at his best. I want to knock him the f*ck out at his best. If he beats me, I want him to beat me and say he was in the best shape of his life.
"I wouldn't care. I don't want the fans to care. I don't want the commissioners to care. I don't want no one to care. When you're an entertainer, you're a sports entertainer -- from football, to basketball, to track runners -- we're not sitting at a desk. We're doing something with our bodies and some athletes may require a little bit more sports medicine and that's different from the average. No, I won't knock it. I wouldn't knock it, I wouldn't cry about it. I'm a fighter by heart, I'm a fighter in my blood."
Slice said he has never himself used performance-enhancing drugs, even going back to his days as a YouTube streetfighter in Miami.
"No, I was always afraid," Slice said. "I have high blood pressure, my mom is a diabetic, my dad is a diabetic. I just had natural energy for days. I felt like if I would have took anything it would have f*cked with me. I would have been crazier. Could you imagine if I got on cocaine? Sh*t, if I got on cocaine I'd be a maniac, man. The only thing I could do is fucking smoke weed. I could smoke weed, I could drink a little liquor. At times, drinking what I used to, I thought I was invincible. So any other drug, they would have to put me in a f*cking straitjacket and lock me up. I don't even drink no more, I don't smoke no more. I try to be as clean as I can be now. I'm a natural maniac with a switch and I can control myself. I like it that way."
Shamrock thinks that if performance-enhancing drugs are going to be illegal, everyone needs to be tested. Not just the top fighters. Otherwise, he believes that legalizing certain forms of PEDs can be done safely.
"I believe it should be left up to the responsibility of the fighters to get a doctor," Shamrock said. "That puts you under a doctor's care. The doctor is responsible for having you at a regulated level like they test now for levels. Have you at a regulated level, at a safe level that whoever does the testing can deem safe for everybody. Doctors are responsible for athletes being at a certain level, it takes the pressure off the commission, takes the pressure off the organization. The responsibility lies upon the fighter and the doctor to be on the levels they need to be. And all the commission has to do is test them and make sure they're at the levels they need to be."
Shamrock tested positive for steroids after a fight with late super heavyweight Ross Clifton back in 2009. "The World's Most Dangerous Man" didn't want to get into specifics, but said he had to gain an inordinate amount of weight on short notice to fight the nearly 7-foot, 300-plus pound man.
"They told me two weeks out that the only way I could fight the guy was if I weighed 225," Shamrock said. "So I had to put on some weight within two weeks or the fight wasn't going to happen. That's the only time in my whole career where it's ever been questioned."
Slice sees MMA as a form of entertainment, so he's far more liberal than most fighters when it comes to drug use.
"Fans want to see us compete," he said. "We as athletes may have to see the doctor a little bit more than normal. We may take in particular a little more protein and vitamins than normal. If some guys have to get a fuckin' Superman haircut, then let him do it. If some guys need to tattoo Superman on their nuts, then let them do it. Fans want us to show up and be at our best. They don't want us drooping and lollygagging and looking tired and looking like sh*t."