Criminalize & Ban Steroid Use in Contact Sports - Now!
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Help Protect The Pug enact a law to criminally convict fighters that are caught using ILLEGAL PEDS - which arm them with unnatural strength and thus increase the liklihood of progressive neurological disorders that already plague contact sports.
On June 16, 1983 boxer Luis Resto unexpectedly beat undefeated prospect Billy Collins, Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York City in a 10-round unanimous decision.
However, when Collins' father and trainer, Billy, Sr., came to shake Resto's hand, he discovered that Resto's gloves felt thinner than normal. Screaming that he thought the gloves had no padding, Collins, Sr. demanded that the New York State Athletic Commission impound the gloves. An investigation revealed that someone had removed an ounce of padding from each of his gloves.
Collins suffered a torn iris and permanently blurred vision, ending his career. He died only months later when he drove his car into a culvert while intoxicated. Some commentators have speculated that the loss of his livelihood drove him into a downward spiral. Collins' father has since speculated that his son committed suicide.
In 1986, Lewis and Resto were both put on trial and found guilty of assault, criminal possession of a weapon (Resto's hands) and conspiracy. Prosecutors charged that Resto had to have known the gloves were illegal, and therefore the bout amounted to an illegal 10-round assault. Prosecutors also argued that the plot was centered on a large amount of money bet on Resto by a third party, who had met with Lewis prior to the fight. Resto served 2 and a half years in prison.
For almost a quarter-century, Resto publicly denied knowing that Lewis had tampered with the gloves. However, in 2007, Resto apologized to Collins' widow, Andrea Collins-Nile, who attempted to sue the state of New York for not protecting her late husband. Resto also told Collins-Nile that in addition to removing padding from the gloves, Lewis soaked his hand wraps in plaster of Paris. This caused the wraps to harden into plaster casts similar to those used to set broken bones, which greatly—and illegally—increased Resto's punching power. The hand wraps have never been confiscated. Resto also disclosed that Lewis would break apart pills used to treat asthma and pour the medicine into his water bottles, giving Resto greater lung capacity in the later rounds of a fight. At a 2008 press conference, Resto said that he knew Lewis had taken the padding out of his gloves and had done so at least twice before. Resto said he didn't protest at the time even though he knew it was wrong. "At the time, I was young," he said. "I went along." 
The 1983 incident and subsequent aftermath is covered in the HBO documentary Assault in the Ring. During this documentary, Resto appeared to confirm law enforcement's theory that the incident was rooted in large bets on him.
The Billy Collins Jr Incident
Nearly 40 years later, both boxing and the UFC have major problems with cheating. No it is not the removal of padding from gloves to gain a competitive advantage by hitting harder - but something just as dangerous - Illegal Performance Enhancing Drugs used to gain superhuman strength.
CTE which has been blamed as the cause behind some contact sports athletes committing suicide was unknown 40 years ago. After the beating Collins took and his subsequent apparent suicide, is it not plausible that he too may have been a victim of CTE?
Injuries in boxing and the UFC seem to fly under the radar, so let us reiterate some of the headlines of what head blows did to some athletes in high profile sports such as football:
Progressive Neurological Disorders can cause: Depression, Suicidal thoughts, and even psychotic or homicidal behavior.
For example, professional wrestler Chris Benoit who received numerous blows throughout his career, was diagnosed with depression shortly before he went on to murder his wife and and son a few years later. Upon autopsy, Chris’ brain was diagnosed with CTE.
Four years after competing in the Superbowl, NFL star Junior Seau committed suicide in 2012.
1987 NFL Man of the Year Award winner, Dave Duerson, committed suicide in early 2011.
Mike Webster who was profiled in the movie Concussion, Justin Strzelczyk, and Terry Long, all of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Andre Waters of the Philadelphia Eagles, Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals, John Grimsley of the Houston Oilers, and Tom McHale of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all died after years of strange, erratic, and sometimes overly aggressive behavior.
Owen Thomas, a 21-year-old football player at the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania who committed suicide by hanging himself and was subsequently diagnosed with CTE.
And now Former Patriots’ football player Aaron Hernandez, who was convicted of murder and then subsequently hung himself while serving time in prison, has been diagnosed upon autopsy with having severe CTE.
Unlike American football, the medical community has long called for the ban of boxing given its intent is for the combatants to knock each other unconscious with head blows. Blows that have been proven to cause progressive neurological diseases such as CTE and Parkinsons. Illegal Steroids which give an athlete unnatural, superhuman strength only increases the likelihood of athletes of contracting irreversible damage.
According to Floyd Mayweather Jr.: “They’re so ignorant that they don’t think they’re going to get caught. You have trainers that are willing to risk it all. These yahoos that are in the circles of fighters aren’t giving their guys the best advice. There are fighters out there that are taking it. I’m all for the testing. I’m happy Berto and Peterson got caught. Steroids are just as bad as loading up gloves, in my opinion. In boxing, it’s not cool, because we’re talking about people’s lives here.”
Boxing has an infamous list of high profile boxers who were busted for anabolic steroids or banned substances which include Frans Botha, Vitali Klitschko, James Toney, Ricardo Mayorga, Fernando Vargas, Shane Mosley James Tarver, Lamont Peterson, and Andre Berto.
In MMA, there are also no shortage of fighters who were busted for PEDs which include: Anderson Silva, Brock Lesnar, Mark Hunt, Matt Riddle, Nate Marquart, Royce Gracie, Kimo Leopoldo, Tim Sylvia, Cyborg Santos, King Mo, Alistair Overeem, Hector Lombard, Josh Barnett, Stephan Bonnar and most famously Jon Jones.
Recently in MMA, Jon Jones knocked out UFC Champion Daniel Cormier which a vicious head kick that was followed by a barrage of unanswered punches as he laid unconscious on the floor. Later it was determined that Jones failed a drug test for the anabolic steroid Turinabol. Turinabol carries a two-year suspension from USADA for first-time offenders and longer for repeat offenders - which would include Jones.
Jones, 30, also tested positive prior to a bout with Cormier at UFC 200 in July 2016. Consequently, the bout was cancelled. Jones served a one-year ban by USADA for testing positive for two banned substances, estrogen blockers clomiphene and letrozol.
The use of anabolic steroids is rampant in baseball with such noted names as Baseball’s Barry Bonds, Cyclist Lance Armstrong, Sprinters Marion Jones and Ben Johnson and also carries suspensions. But the difference is that in non-contact sports no one is getting physically concussed.
In contact sports such as football we cross over into a grey area because the enhanced strength affects other athletes who are hit during an effort to score a touchdown.
That line is completely crossed in both MMA and Boxing where the sole intent is to knock someone unconscious.
If we were to make an analogy, steroid use in football is akin to manslaughter, while use in contacts sports and MMA is to premeditated homocide.
That kick could have killed Daniel Cormier. Not to mention we still do not know the long term effects that the knockout he sustained by an athlete who was on anabolic steroids will have later on in life.
The act of Jones taking anabolic steroids to gain an advantage, is no different than the padding that was removed from Luis Resto’s gloves. Jones showed no conscience that he could have taken Cormier’s life nor the effects it could have in the future.
Yet all authorities have done is issue suspensions which obviously has not discouraged steroid users like Jon Jones who have been repeatedly busted. Yet ironically, if some is caught selling steroids they are criminally prosecuted the same as they would if they were selling a banned substance such as Heroin or Cocaine.
The Current Laws Make No Sense
Oddly, with the preponderance of evidence of the dangers of head trauma - on a sport like MMA that many States such as New York had reservations about legalizing, authorities have yet to create laws to punish what amounts to criminal behavior of athletes who use PED’s.
The current suspension method in combat sports isn’t discouraging the use of steroids, as fighters show no signs they are willing give up illegal substances for their obvious advantages.
Bottom Line: Current Rules Do Not Adequately Protect Fighters. If we are to protect our fighters, then we need to start by cleaning up the sport by both eliminating and prosecuting those who show no regard in irreparably harming both their sport and their opponents with illegal PEDs. If a fighter is caught once using anabolic steroids not only should they be jailed, but a lifetime ban should be instituted given that an athlete like Jones cannot be trusted. Don’t like the laws? Pick another sport.
Obviously, authorities are not taking the link between blows to the head and progressive neurological diseases like CTE seriously. If they did they would create and enforce legislation that anyone caught with anabolic steroids is akin to carrying a weapon into the ring with them.
Therefore, we at Protect the Pug must step in, petition and push politicians to enact laws that will criminally prosecute anyone testing positive for anabolic steroids. To reduce the incidence of CTE we must not only look for cures, but in the interim take precautionary measures designed to clean up our sport. Please sign this petition to change the current laws of anabolic steroid usage in full contact sports such as MMA and Boxing as Protect The Pug cannot do anything without your voice.
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