Polaris releases official policy on PEDs in professional grappling

The UK-based grappling promotion Polaris will ban athletes who are currently serving suspensions for PED usage.

The UK-based promotion Polaris has released an official policy on the use of PEDs, making it the first major professional grappling organization to take a public stance on the topic.

Polaris posted the statement on Instagram.

“We at Polaris believe in striving towards the ideal of a clean sport.

“Polaris began as a group of friends warning to create a new form of grappling entertainment, and now almost ten years later has become one of the biggest professional grappling organisations in the world. To that end, we feel a responsibility to promote a clean sport to the next generation of athletes.

“Currently, our policy is that we will not invite athletes to the show who are serving a ban from an official organisation such as USADA or WADA. This policy has been unofficially in place for a number of years but is now official.

“As we explore the costs, opportunities/partnerships, and logistics of implementing our own testing procedures in the future, we encourage other organisations to do the same in order to create a level playing field.”

In short, Polaris is not yet able to implement its own drug testing procedures, but will not host any athletes currently serving a suspension for PEDs. 

At the moment, the IBJJF and ONE Championship are the only two promotions that test competitors. The IBJJF typically only tests athletes who make it to the podium in the black belt divisions at major tournaments. ONE, on the other hand, tests all of its competitors but has a relatively small roster of grapplers.

Given the general lack of drug testing across grappling, this policy will almost exclusively impact athletes who are serving USADA suspensions as a result of IBJJF testing. 

And because Polaris is not yet able to test athletes itself, the policy does not prevent competitors from using PEDs while competing for the organization. For example, Craig Jones – an athlete who has been open about his use of PEDs – was featured in the main event of the most recent Polaris event.

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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