Stefan Struve unleashes on cheating athletes in the UFC

The UFC’s comprehensive anti-doping policy has been a game changer for mixed martial arts with numerous athletes praising the strict drug testing that has wiped out a great number of cheaters from the sport.

Count heavyweight contender Stefan Struve among the program’s biggest fans because he’s seen or heard about fighters abusing performance enhancing drugs throughout his career and he’s never had any tolerance for it.

While he’s not ready to name anybody in particular, Struve has witnessed the transformation of some fighters in the UFC whose performances suddenly started to dwindle after USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) began random, year round testing of all the athletes on the roster.

Struve has embraced the drug testing policy and he’d be on board for a more stringent policy if that’s what it took for the cheaters to finally get wiped out from mixed martial arts completely.

“There’s no secret to that for me. I don’t know a lot about [performance enhancing drugs] because I’ve never used anything like that. It’s interesting because I see a lot of guys struggling right now,” Struve said ahead of his fight this weekend against Alexander Volkov in the Netherlands.

“I’m a clean athlete and I’d rather never become a champion and have a good career than becoming a champion using all sorts of s–t. Cause you’re a lie and your whole career is one big f–king lie.”

One of the biggest problems Struve has with fighters who are using banned substances is not only the danger they bring into the contest by walking into the Octagon while chemically enhanced, but it also robs their opponents for the chance at a fair fight.

Even after an athlete gets caught it doesn’t take away the pain and suffering of a defeat from a fighter who competed clean but still ended up losing to a cheater.

“There’s so many athletes in other sports who at some point will break. They’ll come out and confess everything how they cheated and you take away so much from other people who were supposed to win a championship,” Struve explained. “I don’t really care about the fame but if you fight, you want the recognition for all the hard work you put in. You don’t want some guy to get his hand raised and then find out later he cheated.

“It’s one of the worst things in the world that can happen as an athlete.”

Of course, Struve also points out the obvious difference for athletes in MMA using performance enhancing drugs versus other sports because of the inherent danger that goes along with fighting.

The fighters in MMA are already trying to knock each other out, but Struve thinks it’s the lowest of the low for a competitor to walk into the cage while on some sort of banned substance that could lead you to severely injuring your opponent.

“I’m absolutely against it, especially in our sport. In other sports you go past the finish line faster, you hit a ball harder, you throw a ball harder. In this sport, you can physically harm someone way, way worse and you give yourself an unfair advantage,” Struve said. “It’s absolutely disgusting if you use and you’re in this sport and you go into that cage having used anything like that.”


The good news for Struve and the other athletes who are clean in the UFC is that the USADA testing program is starting to weed out the cheaters, which means everybody is finally competing on a level playing field.

It’s just another reason why Struve is starting to gain even more confidence that he’ll soon climb to the top of the heavyweight rankings where he could hopefully challenge for the title in the future.

As he prepares for his main event fight this weekend in the Netherlands, Struve has never lost sight of the championship or that he holds a win over the current heavyweight king, Stipe Miocic.

“For future matchups people will look at that and people remember that. I’m sure Stipe remembers that,” Struve said. “He would like to clear that off his record if he was given a chance. A lot of things going on in the division right now.

“I see a lot of guys who don’t perform anymore after USADA came up. Some young talent that is performing but I don’t think there is a really clear challenger right now.”

Struve hopes to put himself into an even better position by dispatching Volkov on Saturday in the main event.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.