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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos has been outspoken against performance enhancing drugs in MMA. With his originally scheduled opponent for UFC 146, Alistair Overeem, having been found out to have injected synthetic testosterone earlier this year - leading to a nine month license denial by the NSAC - it's given him cause to be even more vocal.
With the issue back in the news this week as the NSAC granted a therapeutic use exemption for TRT to UFC Middleweight Title challenger Chael Sonnen, dos Santos has again spoken out in favor of increased and better testing in the sport.
"As far as testing goes, it should be enforced,” dos Santos said in an interview with the Vancouver Sun. "It should be expanded. I think there should be more tests - blood tests, not just urine. The urine doesn't test everything."
UFC President Dana White said this week that the UFC is looking to expand their own testing, and looking into a way to implement a widespread testing policy. That's a solid move forward, and dos Santos will be happy about that considering his views on PEDs.
"I don't think it's fair to the hard-working, dedicated professional fighters to be put against fighters who use these substances," dos Santos said. "I think a lot of PEDs don't just make a guy stronger, but they practically make him immune to receiving blows and punches. The guy can take a lot more of a beating without it really affecting him. It's grossly unfair."
With Overeem out until the end of the year, dos Santos is likely to have another fight this year should he defeat Frank Mir on Saturday night. After that, the originally scheduled bout with Overeem could be a go. Dos Santos isn't thrilled with that prospect, but would still be open to the fight if that's what the UFC opts to do.
"I don't judge Overeem,” dos Santos said. “That's between him and the Nevada Athletic Commission. If they decided he should be suspended for nine months, that's the right decision. I hope after he fulfills his suspension, he comes back strong and comes back clean."
"If the UFC decides he deserves to have a title shot right after a nine-month suspension for elevated testosterone levels, then that's what I'll do. It's not a fight I want, but it's not a fight I'd shy away from."
Penick's Analysis: Dos Santos is in a spot where he knows that fight is likely to happen, as undesirable as it may be to fight someone he believes isn't on the level. Still, he understands that there is a business portion of it, and as the current Champion he'll be prepared to defend his title in big money fights for the organization. Despite the failed test for Overeem, he may still be the big money fight when he returns. Of course, dos Santos needs to hold onto the belt until then; if he does, that showdown is more than likely happening in 2013.
[Junior dos Santos art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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