The new USADA drug testing will have a big impact on MMA Betting

We are only a week and a half into a new year of betting on MMA and we already have a high profile fighter who has been busted for using Performance Enhancing Drugs. According to a statement from the UFC, Yoel Romero has violated the Anti-Doping Policy for a failed sample taken in out of competition testing.

As USADA start to ramp up their effort to clean up the Sport of MMA, we will see more and more fighters like Romero get caught. Based on what we have seen so far, I expect fighters to react in a couple of different ways. They will either be spooked and come off the juice completely, or they will keep using Performance Enhancing Drugs because the payday is too good and they’ve now become too dependent on them to consider fighting without them. It’s also possible that fighters with a good income will turn to Gray Market doctors who could help them source more complex Performance Enhancing Drugs that are harder to detect.

Since the new USADA drug testing came into effect, we have seen countless upsets in the UFC and a rapid decline in many top athletes. We saw Erick Silva go from looking like a Super Hero to looking like a guy who worked at McDonald’s and we saw significant changes to the appearance of some of the best fighters in the world. We also saw guys like Renan Barao, Junior Dos Santos, and Lyoto Machida rapidly decline in a very short space of time.

The new USADA testing also appeared to cause a few fighters to age rapidly such as Bigfoot Silva, Jose Aldo, and Johny Hendricks. Rapid aging is often a sign that a fighter’s Testosterone levels have reduced, which can be a sign that a fighter has stopped using PEDs because many PEDs aim to boost a fighter’s Testosterone levels.

As more and more fighters feel the pressure to stop using PEDs, we will see a greater number of fighters underperform, which obviously makes betting on MMA a lot more unpredictable. We can use 5 simple methods to help us avoid betting on fighters who could have potentially stopped using Performance Enhancing Drugs, which ultimately means that we will be placing bets that come with a lot less risk. The new USADA Drug testing will have a big impact on MMA Betting whether we like it or not.

5 ways to spot if a fighter is using Performance Enhancing Drugs…

    1. Be realistic… If a fighter is over the age of 35 they should not be able to look like a Body Builder. It goes against Mother Nature…
    2. Watch the Weigh-ins to see if there has been a significant change in a fighter’s physique.
    3. Keep a close eye on fight teams and nationalities. Some fight teams and nationalities have a long history of using Performance Enhancing Drugs.
    4. Study a fighter’s Social Media accounts in the lead up to a fight. Fighters will often post training pictures on their Social Media accounts, that you can compare to older training pictures to see if their body has declined.
    5. Watch out for rapid improvements. PEDs can often be used by a fighter to train harder in the gym, which means you can see a sudden improvement in cardio, strength or technique. Rapid improvements can often be a sign of using PEDs and what goes up has to come down…

The table below shows a number of times fighters were tested by USADA in 2015. As you can see, USADA clearly appear to be cherry picking fighters who they test. For example…

Jose Aldo – Jose Aldo only fought once in 2015 and yet he was tested more than almost anyone else in the UFC. He also put in the worst performance of his career against Conor McGregor in his first fight under the new USADA drug testing program. It’s also worth noting that Jose Aldo allegedly refused to complete a USADA drugs test just 4 weeks out from his scheduled title fight at UFC 189. Is this all coincidence? Or has USADA suspected that Aldo is juicing and therefore subjected him to more stringent drug testing…

Antonio Bigfoot Silva, Dan Henderson, and Vitor Belfort – None of these guys were that active in 2015 and yet they were tested a lot more than many other fighters. Could this be a coincidence? Or could USADA have subjected them to more stringent drug testing based on their well-known history of taking PEDs?

Rafael Dos Anjos, Gleison Tibau, and Yoel Romero – It’s funny that two out of these three fighters have already been caught using PEDs, but it also goes to show that USADA could be targeting guys with a physique that suggests that they could be using something to enhance their performance.

It seems pretty clear that USADA is cherry picking who they test, which means we can use the 5 tips listed above to identify the fighters who are at the biggest risk of getting caught. This means that we can avoid betting on fighters who could potentially underperform and ultimately this will help us make more money betting on MMA.


Athlete NameTest Count
Jose Aldo8
Conor McGregor8
Ronda J Rousey8
Antonio Da Silva7
Dan Henderson7
Holly Holm7
Vitor Belfort6
Rafael Dos Anjos6
Luke Rockhold6
Yoel Romero6
Thiago Alves5
Donald Cerrone5
Junior Dos Santos5
Jessica Eye5
Ronaldo Jacare Souza5
Gleison Tibau5
Ryan Bader4
Daniel R Cormier4
Bethe Correia4
Todd Duffee4
Anthony Johnson4
Michael Johnson4
Robbie Lawler4
Alistair Overeem4
Dustin Poirier4
Josh Samman4
Glover Teixeira4
Abel Trujillo4
Chris Weidman4
Fabricio Werdum4
Andrei Arlovski3
Ali Bagautinov3
Edson Barboza3
Patrick D Cummins3
Joseph Duffy3
Frank Edgar3
Kelvin Gastelum3
Uriah Hall3
Hayder Hassan3
Mark Hunt3
Joanna Jedrzejczyk3
Cristiane Justino3
Neil Magny3
Demian Maia3
Jimi Manuwa3
Chad Mendes3
Sage Northcutt3
Thiago Tavares3
Paige VanZant3
Eddie Alvarez2
Chico Camus2
Henry Cejudo2
Carlos Condit2
Nate Diaz2
Rashad Evans2
Urijah Faber2
Tony Ferguson2
Cezar Ferreira2
Mirko Filipovic2
Claudia Gadelha2
Lyman Good2
Clay Guida2
Alexander Gustafsson2
Piotr Hallmann2
Ben Henderson2
Johny Hendricks2
Kyoji Horiguchi2
Jon Jones2
Stipe Miocic2
Francisco Mir2
Pedro Munhoz2
Rose Namajunas2
Gunnar Nelson2
Santiago Ponzinibbio2
George Roop2
Jared Rosholt2
Stefan Struve2
Elias Theodorou2
Darren Till2
Tecia Torres2
Kamarudeen Usman2
Cain Velasquez2
Robert Whittaker2
Omari Akhmedov1
Corey Anderson1
Josh Barnett1
Joseph Benavidez1
Jan Blachowicz1
Diego Brandao1
Tom Breese1
Travis Browne1
Gilbert Burns1
Joanne Calderwood1
Antonio J Carlos Jr.1
Roan Carneiro1
Kevin Casey1
Dan Castillo1
Alex Chambers1
Colby Covington1
Dominick Cruz1
Nicholas Dalby1
Beneil Dariush1
Warlley De Andrade1
Thiago De Lima Santos1
Alex De Oliveira1
TJ Dillashaw1
John Dodson1
Johnny Eduardo1
Paul Felder1
Jussier Formiga1
Max Holloway1
Patrick Holohan1
Demetrious Johnson1
Shawn Jordan1
Alan Jouban1
Dong Hyun Kim1
Ricardo Lamas1
Chad Laprise1
Lorenz Larkin1
Valmir Lazaro1
Nik Lentz1
Valerie Letourneau1
Reza Madadi1
Ruslan Magomedov1
Fabio Maldonado1
Nate Marquardt1
Jorge Masvidal1
Tamdan McCrory1
Takeya Mizugaki1
Gegard Mousasi1
Roy Nelson1
Francis Ngannou1
Kyle Noke1
Amanda Nunes1
Charles Oliveira1
Brian Ortega1
Norman Parke1
Ross Pearson1
Julianna Pena1
Cathal Pendred1
Anthony Pettis1
Michel Prazeres1
Ben Rothwell1
Frankie Saenz1
Diego Sanchez1
Erick Silva1
Tony Sims1
Louis Smolka1
Andreas Stahl1
Dominique Steele1
Aljamain Sterling1
Francisco Trevino1
Francisco Trinaldo1
Albert Tumenov1
Michelle Waterson1
Tyron Woodley1