18 February 2008|
Dear UFC President Dana White,
Congratulations to all of your success in building this more than impressive league. It took many years to build up the fan-base you currently enjoy now. The best fighters in the world dream about playing for the UFC, and its popularity will only be growing exponentially over the next several years at least. Vegas took more bets on MMA events than on boxing last year- enough said.
And speaking of your closest competitor... well... let's just say you've got them in a full-nelson and are about to break their neck if they don't tap out soon. The UFC and its mixed martial artists are allowed to be more expressive in their art than the pugilists. They can move and strike freely about the octagon and are not restricted and gloved as in boxing. It's just flat-out better to watch.
Boxing suffers from a poor scoring system, and especially controversial decisions in recent years have further tarnished its reputation as America's favorite combative sport. (MMA solves the perennial problem of 'who really did win the fight?' since the majority of matches are won after a player gets knocked out, genius move guys.)
Enter the UFC, ready to take the baton from boxing's sweaty fingers. But are you sure your organization is ready for the limelight yet?
A recent report by the California State Athletic Commission has revealed that in the past four months, eleven players have been busted for steroids and twenty-two players have tested positive for other drugs.
Mr. White, you have recently stated that you do not know how to effectively deal with the issue of steroids (join the club). You are going to be tempted to go down the same path as Major League Baseball and attempt to ban steroids. But you know it won't work. Some players will always be willing to take dangerously untested and cloak-able drugs to pass screening tests. But DON'T DO IT. Banning or punishing players for using steroids is like the War on Drugs- and you know how well that's turned out so far.
Listen, the only way to stop steroid abuse is to educate your employees to its dangers and trust they will make prudent decisions in the future. It's in your best interest to get steroids out of the UFC, not just for the fans but for the oddsmakers in your own backyard.
Thank you for your time,
The above work is the opinion of the author, and not necessarily that of the Prometheus Institute