Ronda Rousey: Stricter penalties needed for performance-enhancing drug offenders

Ronda Rousey would not be opposed to fighters being banned from competition for up to eight years, which is similar to the Olympic system.

Ronda Rousey talked about her stance on performance-enhancing drugs with reporters Thursday.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

LAS VEGAS -- Ronda Rousey thinks fighters use performance-enhancing drugs because the penalties don't deter them enough.

Typically, an MMA athlete will get hit with a nine-month suspension for failing a drug test for the first time. Rousey doesn't believe that regulation has any teeth. She said some Olympians have been banned from competing in their sports for up to eight years. That's the kind of disciplinary action she thinks commissions need to start implementing.

"Eight years is a pretty good punishment," Rousey said Thursday at UFC 175 media day.

PED use has been a hot topic in UFC circles recently. Chael Sonnen has become the poster boy for drug use in MMA over the last month. He was forced to pull out of a fight with Vitor Belfort this weekend in June when results came back that he had tested positive anastrozole and clomiphene. A day after, Sonnen retired from the sort. And then two weeks later, we found out that he had failed a second drug test, that time for HGH and EPO, which are much more serious performance-enhancers than the aforementioned substances. Sonnen was subsequently fired by the UFC and FOX Sports as a broadcaster and analyst.

Rousey is one of the MMA's most vocal opponents of PED use, but because she's been preparing for Saturday's women's bantamweight title defense against Alexis Davis, she's been out of the loop. She was not even aware that tests could reveal HGH in the system. And she also didn't know that Sonnen was terminated as an on-air personality.

"On the TV side, I don’t know," Rousey said. "I can't really say. Chael is a friend and I can't pretend why he would do any of that stuff."

What Rousey did say about Sonnen is that she felt it was the right decision for him to retire when he did. Sonnen has been looking for alternatives to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which is why he said he used anastrozole and clomiphene. He did not address the HGH and EPO presence in his system directly.

"I think it was extremely unfortunate and I think it was the right decision for him to retire," Rousey said.

The champion said she has been tested as a judo athlete since she was 14 years ago and she is a major proponent of the UFC being as clean as possible. However, Rousey thinks as long as the penalties stay the way they are, fighters will continue to use banned substances.

She does not buy into the excuse that using PEDs levels the playing field, because everyone is doing them.

"You should want to be good enough to beat them in spite of it," Rousey said. "You should think, 'I'm so much better than you, even with all the drugs you do, I will beat you anyway.'"

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