Over the past several years, few voices have been louder in regards to drug testing in MMA than former "Ultimate Fighter" champion Roy Nelson.
Nelson pounded the drum about fighters using illegal substances and getting away with it while trying to institute a new level of testing to help clean up the sport.
So when the UFC contracted the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to handle a brand new testing program that they believe is the best in professional sports, Nelson doesn’t seem all that impressed as he approaches his first fight this weekend under the new policy.
"On the testing thing with PED’s, I think we are still in the same spot as we were before," Nelson told FOX Sports. "We’re talking about it more but I think we’re in the same boat as we were before. I think it’s like the war on drugs, but they’re still being flown in."
Nelson was one of the biggest advocates for more stringent testing, but lately in spite of the new program, he seems more downtrodden than ever before in regards to performance-enhancing drug use in MMA.
It almost feels like Nelson has been fighting a losing battle and he’s conceding that the cheaters are always going to win no matter what system is in place.
"For me it doesn’t matter. I’m not in the drug-testing business and I’m not an employee so I’m not worried about what guys are doing anyways," Nelson said. "You can do cocaine and still be OK. Jon Jones did that before.
"You could be like ‘I have an exemption and a doctor’s note that says it’s OK’ and as long as you put that out there it’s OK. As long as you put it out there like ‘Hey, I’m taking this because the doc says it’s cool,’ you can still take it and pass the USADA test, so it’s still cool."
Just a few months ago after Nelson’s fight with Josh Barnett was announced, he took a pot shot at the former UFC heavyweight champion via Twitter. Nelson has gone after Barnett in the past for testing positive for banned substances, but from the sound of things he’s no longer using that rhetoric ahead of their fight.
Instead, Nelson is just sticking to a line like he read it in a pamphlet and no longer acting as the advocate for a clean sport as he’s done since joining the UFC in 2009.
"You just kind of go with the flow. Drugs are bad," Nelson said. "That’s what I’m going with now. That’s what they say to say now, so that’s what I’m going with. Before it was ‘drugs, just don’t talk about them’ so I’m just going with the flow.
"I’ve gone in fights where I know the guy is on stuff so it doesn’t really matter anyways. It’s just one of those things. As long as the fans know what kind of a person this is, that’s all that matters."
As far as the fight with Barnett goes, Nelson isn’t poking at him with drug accusations any longer and instead appears to be killing him with kindness.
The two heavyweights might not be best friends, but Nelson says there’s something every fan can appreciate about Barnett’s old-school approach to fighting, which in his mind means going out and looking for the finish from the first bell until the final seconds tick away.
"Josh has accomplished quite a bit and with pro wrestling stuff," Nelson said. You cannot hate him for that. I don’t really know him, but the interactions I had with him it wasn’t like I wanted to hang out with him at all, so it is what it is.
"Fans just like exciting fights. Win, lose or draw, you’ve just got to go out there and fight and put on a show. That’s the thing I know I always do. It always takes two people to tango and Josh is somebody who goes out and tries to finish, too, so when you pair two people like that up it makes for an exciting fight. Old-school guys just try to go out and finish fights and that’s what makes it exciting. That’s the biggest thing as long as you try to go out and finish."
I think we are still in the same spot as we were before. We’re talking about it more but I think we’re in the same boat as we were before.