It’s commonly known that there’s quite a bit of steroid (ab)use in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as the use of PEDs isn’t sanctioned by any official body.
However, should someone who’s competing in local tournaments be on steroids in the first place?
Firas Zahabi doesn’t believe so. Here’s his opinion:
When you get to the higher levels, almost all of the competitors are on it… However, I find it very objectionable when I see local tournaments – and somebody is on it.
The guy is in a blue belt division, he’s on steroids, and he’s wrestling some young kid and he’s crunching his head on the mat… Do you really need steroids to compete at this level?
When it comes to athletes competing at the higher levels, though, Zahabi understands why they succumb to the pressure:
I understand when there’s big money on the line… Even though I condone it, I don’t think it’s good. But I understand the pressure, I understand why guys cave and do it.
Because they’re dirt-broke, they put their whole life on this one sport; and if they don’t make it, guess what? Nobody cares. And what else do they have to fall back on? Nothing.
So, they bend under the pressure… And now, all of the sudden, their career takes a boost and it encourages their competitors. And now it becomes a race to who can augment themselves chemically the most.
But does it come without risk? Far from it:
Some are shorting their lives with that. They’re shorting their lives, no doubt about this. They look healthy, but they’re not.