Gordon Ryan: ‘I would love to compete against all of my opponents natural’

Gordon Ryan recently spoke about steroids and PEDs in grappling and how USADA testing would change the sport.

Steroids and PEDs remain a hot topic in professional grappling. Recently, Gordon Ryan – the sport’s most widely known active competitor – spoke frankly about PEDs and drug testing in grappling.

Ryan appeared on “It’s Time!” with Bruce Buffer and gave his thoughts on the possibility of USADA implementing drug testing across grappling. 

Check out the full interview below.

When asked how things would change if USADA began testing grappling athletes that compete on, for example, the UFC Fight Pass Invitationals, Ryan bluntly stated that such a testing regime would “ruin” those events because, unless there is universal testing across all organizations, grapplers that subject themselves to testing would be at a disadvantage compared to grapplers that freely use PEDs.

Ryan said:

“I think if USADA steps into, like, Fight Pass events, for example, it’s gonna ruin Fight Pass events. And the reason is, is that because if you’re competing in a Fight Pass event or if you’re competing on a Fight Pass Invitational and you’re getting randomly tested, that means now that you’re the only person in the sport who’s getting tested and a person who’s competing on Flograppling for example, or ONE Championship, isn’t getting tested… And so that means you have to be competing natural for those specific events where everyone else in the sport can be on PEDs. That puts you at an extreme disadvantage for no reason unless you’re getting paid exorbitant amounts of money… If USADA comes into just one organization, it’s gonna pretty much crush that organization and athletes will just not compete in that organization…”

Indeed, the vast majority of grappling events, including ADCC, do not test athletes for PEDs. However, black belt competitors in the IBJJF are subject to testing, and a slew of athletes recently received sanctions as a result of USADA testing. 

Additionally, according to current ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion Mikey Musumeci, he and his most recent opponent Osamah Almarwai were tested after their match in ONE Championship. 

Ryan asserted that the only way to implement fair drug testing would be some sort of universal system that applies to grapplers across multiple organizations – something that he admits is not a realistic option at this point in time.

He also said that he would embrace the opportunity to compete against his opponents without any PEDs involved because, according to him, he would perform even better:

“I definitely think USADA coming in would have to be across the board rather than just one organization or another. And if USADA did come in and start testing across the board, I would love to actually compete against all of my opponents natural, because the only way that they survive for any amount of time is they just juice their way out of things for 10 minutes until they get tired. If they didn’t have the physicality, the match would be twice as easy. The only reason they can survive against me, they’re so physically strong I have to tire them out first and then I can submit them.”

Recently, Ryan was offered the opportunity to compete under USADA-tested conditions. Ryan’s former teammate and opponent, Nick Rodriguez, asked to face Ryan in PED-free match. Ryan declined.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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