What’s All the (Roid) Rage?
While one of the most exciting Jiu-Jitsu competitions of the year has come and gone, there is still very much a large buzz about wins, losses, and of course, accusations of performance enhancing drug use (PEDs). Last year, we wrote about the big deal of BOMBA in BJJ, but much of the “roid” rage (no pun intended… well, maybe just a little) this year came on finals day of Worlds 2019 with an altercation between a well-known black belt and a bystander. Subsequently, the rage continues on social media with BJJ steroid accounts, accompanying hashtags, and memes galore.
PED use is nothing new to BJJ or professional athletes in general. Caio Terra has been talking about this for years. However, with more notable, high-level black belts testing positive following major events, the community is no longer turning a blind eye to it, nor is steroid use the “elephant in the room.” There is more speculation than anything else these days about certain athletes (from certain teams nonetheless) who are doping, yet there has been no confirmation of it.
Shockingly enough, adult black belt competitors aren’t the only ones being targeted for alleged steroid use. There have been rumors in the past that members of AOJ’s elite juvenile champions were using. But the most recent and surprising victim of these accusations is AOJ’s female purple belt standout, 17-year-old, Jessa Khan, who has been dominating her belt and weight categories since she entered the competition circuit.
Even at the Masters level, there is also a lot of speculation of doping from other athletes and spectators. For instance, last year at Masters Worlds, I saw men well into their 40s-60s walking around with their gi tops open rocking an 8-pack. Props to them that they don’t have a dad bod, but at the same time, it just makes you wonder if it’s a product of great genetics, constant hard work or supplemented… but we’d never know because the IBJJF does not test master competitors.
So, who’s next? Will they start testing master black belt competitors? Does it only matter when it is the world championships or when money is at stake?