Not even a day after UFC fighters Nate Diaz and Connor McGregor appeared at a promo for UFC’s main event set for March 5th, things got heated. Minutes after the pair met in Los Angeles for a press conference, boasts, insults, and accusations flew back and forth, culminating in Diaz accusing the entire UFC, including opponent McGregor of steroid usage. Both atheltes had been verbally sparring months prior to the event, and the tension between the pair appears to have reached critical mass. No fighters, including Diaz, had been asked questions regarding steroid usage within the UFC prior to his accusations.
Events leading up to accusations of steroid use
The argument began after McGregor was questioned about his potential opponents after the original candidate, lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, withdrew due to a foot injury. McGregor said Diaz was his first choice, and other fighters were hesitant to take Dos Anjo’s place. McGregor then mentioned that even Diaz was intent on avoiding the fight as well. Diaz fired back that he was 100 percent set on taking on McGregor from the beginning, and had even been asking to be matched with him for months prior. The civil discussion then degraded into a shouting match.
Bad blood had been flowing between the two atheletes since December 2015, when Diaz accused McGregor of steroid abuse following a win against Michael Johnson. The preexisting tension between the fighters made the upcoming event even more sensational, garnering support from fans who were eagerly awaiting the moment when the fighters would release their tension on one another. Nearly 220 thousand viewers watched the athletes verbally duking it out on a Youtube livestream.
McGregor immediately denied any allegations of steroid use. He was quick to remind Diaz of his two teammates Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez, both of which have previously tested positive for steroids. UFC president Dana White weighed in minutes after Diaz’s bold statement, pointing out the UFC has been involved in an anti-doping partnership with USADA (US anti-doping association) since last July.
Use of Anabolic Steroids in Professional Sports
Anabolic steroids are abused throughout many professional sports, particularly wrestling and bodybuilding. They are often synthetic forms of testosterone, the male hormone responsible for muscle tissue synthesis. With the aid of anabolics, users can gain large amounts muscle of muscle mass at increased rates, quantities that would take years to achieve naturally.
Diaz’s accusations are particularly worrying for the UFC, as McGregor will have to gain 25 pounds of muscle in a very short time in order to fight Diaz, going from 145 to 170 pounds. With that being said, the quantity of muscle that McGregor will have to gain for the fight makes one question the possibility of steroid usage. It takes the average male about a year to gain roughly the same quantity.
While McGregor dished out his fair share of insults, he later had kind words for his opponent. McGregor stated that he had great respect for Diaz. However, he followed that statement up by saying “but it’s business in there, and business is business”, and concluded his statement with “He will be KO’d in the first round.”