Photo courtsey of Danny Chapman (flickr)
To borrow a phrase from Bruce Buffer seems only appropriate this afternoon. Moments ago a story broke about Ray Lewis taking PEDs to heal his tricep injury, one of the elements in the banned substance list is something called deer antler spray that has been around for nearly 3000 years. What is deer antler spray? Well, it is made of the velvet of the antler of the male red deer found in New Zeeland. What does it do? When an athlete takes human growth hormone (HGH) when it reaches the liver it turns into IGF-1, but deer antler spray is already IGF-1 so it cuts down on the liver’s job to make the body bigger and when given via the spray it gets into the bloodstream faster than pills or a power form.
What does it all mean? I think it might be time to start letting all of these performance enhancing drugs legal and able to be used in competition. Ray Lewis ripped the tricep off of the bone, think about that for a second. The tricep is no longer connected to your body; an 18-year old would have a hard time getting back to normal use after that. How does a 37 year old NFL player get back to game shape? He uses a little help. Right now that is illegal but how much longer will that be the case? Last week we all suffered through the 7 minutes we were interested in the Lance Armstrong story but the most interesting nugget was that in some cases they had to go past 10th place in the Tour De France to find someone who was not “doping.” That means the human body is not meant to do that sort of activity without help.
In MMA you are looking at upwards of 40 fights a year and in that sport, unlike football you don’t have a season and you don’t get paid if you don’t fight due to injury. This weekend Overeem is back in action after his brush with the PED law and has since cleared his name and his urine but looking at his PRIDE days and his Strikeforce/UFC days he is taking more than horse meat to get that big. But does it even matter? Look at Brock Lesnar, easily one of the biggest guys to ever fight in the UFC and was dispatched by a MUCH smaller Cain Velasquez and a more talented harder hitting Alistar Overeem. Size isn’t everything, especially in fighting. When you bring in the ground game Brazilian Jiu Jitsu made its name on Royce who beat far bigger opponents at a time when you could have taken anything and despite all of those “advantages” he beat just about everyone he fought and went on to be a legend in the sport – who also was caught later on for using PEDs.
I think it is time to stop pretending that the human body is anything more than a meat sack and when someone can do amazing things with that meat sack there is a shelf life to that person and their career with our without PEDs. The science of sport is so far ahead of the testing the argument is beyond silly. So open the floodgates and embrace the sports for why we watch them, human beings doing things we can’t even begin to fathom at a level that we may never reach. I could be wrong, but at the point the antler of a deer only found in New Zeeland can turn into an enhancement in the human body the genie is out of the bottle for good.