It's not only fighters being caught for taking performance enhancing drugs that threatens to undo the UFC's hard work, but also the words on its own fighters.
Ever since Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks went to verbal war on what drug testing agency they would use ahead of their clash, the UFC has seen a rise in talk about drugs in the sport.
This all came to a head with the random drug test failures of Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva ahead of UFC 174 and it has the left the UFC stumbling to defend itself.
Stricter drug testing
Many called into question the standards and practises that the UFC currently have and nobody was happier than St-Pierre who left the UFC because he wanted stricter drugs testing done.
But now that it's in the open that high profile fighters are failing drugs tests, there's a rhetoric gaining momentum in the UFC that threatens to derail the progress made over the past decade - "He's on PEDs and I'm not going to fight him".
Now it's perfectly fair for a fighter not wanting to fight at a deficit, especially if it's one that was gained by an unfair advantage but fighters are using drugs as a way to slander each other that only demeans the sport.
Recently, Tim Kennedy said that he thinks that 60-70% of UFC fighters are on some kind of PEDs and that he was concerned that the UFC 'wasn't doing enough'.
Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, has been involved in a war of words with number one contender, Chad Mendes with both sides claiming the other is juicing.
Need a proper system
Then there's GSP, one of the UFC's greatest ever fighters and one of their most high-profile agreeing with Kennedy and he's not wanting to fight without a proper system in check.
It's making their fight not a spectacle of two elite fighters instead, it's a spectacle of which one does the audience think is on drugs and which one is clean. It's the type of question that has plagued the Olympics and athletics for years, as well as other sports like cycling.
The UFC can't move forward when people are viewing it like WWE in the 80's and early 90's and they need to act fast and establish a more thorough drugs testing policy that eliminates the drugs issues, otherwise they're not going to move forward.
With PPV buys dwindling in recent years, the UFC has had it's golden age for now and it needs to build towards it's next one, but that is not going to happen with fans questioning the legitimacy of fighters.
Whether it costs $1, 2 or 3 million shouldn't be a factor. The UFC need a system to at least be announced and put the fear into fighters.
The current procedures aren't enough and fighters are willing to take the risk in order to get to the top because the money at the top makes it worth it. Just ask Ali Bagautinov, who tested positive for EPO after his Flyweight championship fight with Demetrious Johnson.
The foundations that the UFC stand on are threatened by PEDs and if they don't go out of there to minimise or eliminate the issue, then it's to their own detriment.
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