Fedor Emelianenko says fighters using PEDs are “disrespectful” to their opponents. | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
When it comes to discussion of mixed martial arts’ pound-for-pound greats, Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre are often at the top of the list – and the order varies depending upon whom you ask.
Silva’s legacy recently took a hit when it was revealed the former middleweight champion failed a pair of drug tests in relation to his UFC 183 headlining bout against Nick Diaz. “The Spider” tested positive for two different anabolic steroids -- drostanolone metabolites and androsterone -- during a pre-fight test administered on Jan. 9. He again tested positive for drostanolone metabolites in a post-fight urine test on Jan. 31, as well as anxiety and anti-insomnia medications.
The 39-year-old Brazilian recently received a temporary suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission. He faces a long-term suspension, fine and could have his victory over Diaz overturned at a future disciplinary hearing.
Emelianenko, who is in the U.S. to help promote Bellator’s "British Invasion" card, was initially caught off guard by the news of Silva’s positive test. He also felt more than a little let down.
“If it’s true, I’m truly disappointed and was of course surprised,” Emelianenko told Sherdog.com through a translator. “The reason why I’m disappointed is because it’s sad to see that it’s gotten to this point in this sport [where] people depend on drugs [and] the effects of steroids versus their training [and] the hard time they put in to be the best.
“It’s disrespectful toward their opponents, the fighters, the entire sport itself, really. It’s extremely disappointing for the sport, especially for the fans. Because as a fan you watch and you imagine that this is due to hard work when in fact it could be just because they’re taking drugs.”
Emelianenko was at the top of his game in Pride Fighting Championships, where he was the Japanese promotion’s heavyweight king and defeated a laundry list of big names during a memorable run from 2003 to 2006. All told, Emelianenko went 28 fights without a defeat from April 2001 until June 2010, when that streak memorably came to an end courtesy of a Fabricio Werdum triangle armbar in Strikeforce.
Despite all that success, Emelianenko doesn’t necessarily believe the playing field was always level. “The Last Emperor” doesn’t call anyone out in particular, but he does admit to thinking that some of his opponents over the years might have benefitted from an extra boost. That speculation only served to provide added motivation for the Russian during his fights.
“There were instances when I felt that my opponent actually was using steroids of one form or another,” Emelianenko said. “There was an assumption made on my end that person had to depend on something else to make them better ... which gave me that confidence that I was better and I didn’t have anything to worry about just because I knew my opponent might have been under the influence [of PEDs].”