Almost three years ago, The Tribe Sports wrote THIS piece about why Cris Cyborg should not be rewarded for having long used performance-enhancing drugs. She was caught just once, but there is plainly visible evidence of drug usage in the form of permanent changes to her voice and physique. Read and decide.
By Michael James
The Tribe Sports
During the years when Ronda Rousey reigned supreme among women in the Ultimate Fighting Championships, a deep baritone voice seethed and whispered threats from the sidelines, desperately wanting a piece of the action.
Now, Rousey is gone and the owner of that voice, Cris Cyborg Justino, is where she always wanted to be, fighting for the right to be considered the greatest women’s fighter of all time.
Damn the illicit means that she chose to get there.
See, for Cris Cyborg Justino, all that ever mattered is winning, no matter what it took – or what she had to take – to do it.
Rousey, no matter what you think of her in the time since her aura of invincibility was destroyed with a Holly Holm head kick in Australia, followed by an utter decimation at the hands of Amanda Nunes, was brave enough to call Cyborg out for what she has long been and will always be: a steroid cheat.
Those who don’t care about such things, who only record wins and losses, will ignore what their eyes and instincts tell them about Cyborg when she takes on Holly Holm in the headline bout at UFC 219, and declare that her likely victory in this fight will secure her place as the greatest of all time.
No one can control what those fans think about Cyborg, but regardless of the outcome, a victory over Holm will never wash away the stench and the stain of unfairness that will follow the Brazilian to her grave.
Cyborg is, and will always be, first and foremost, an anabolic creation who skirted the rules to add strength and muscle to her already formidable arsenal in order to get the adoration she craves most.
But, make no mistake, no matter how many victories she piles up, she will never be a clean champion. She will never be a moral and ethical competitor. And she will never deserve the accolades bestowed upon her.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have unfettered disdain toward Cyborg. It takes courage and dedication to become a championship level mixed martial artist – something she might have become without years of chemical enhancement.
What I have disdain for is athletes who cheat, piss on my head and tell me it’s raining.
I’ve been around pro athletes – and women – long enough to know what I’m seeing. As I wrote long ago about Cyborg and a high school classmate Lenda Murray, who went on to become an eight-time Ms. Olympia champion, one thing that women never gain, no matter how much they work out, is male musculature.
Not without steroids and male hormones.
It just does not happen.
Lifting weights does not give women Clark Kent jawlines and baritone voices like soul singer Barry White.
Only one thing does that: steroids.
And despite the fact that Cris Cyborg Justino was only busted for steroids use once, in 2011 for anabolic steroid use when she was a member of Strikeforce, it doesn’t mean that she only used ‘roids once.
It only means she was caught just once.
It has been said in some quarters that musculature gained from steroids use can remain for as long as 10 years. In other quarters, it has been stated that longtime steroid use and abuse can result in permanent physical changes to the human body.
I won’t rehash all that I have written about Cris Cyborg Justino in the past. It’s documented. She’s a cheater, has been for a long time, and winning a big fight, even against Holly Holm, won’t make her more than the best cheating fighter in the history of women’s MMA.
It’s nauseating to hear men and women who talk about Cyborg mention her “incredible” or “outrageous” strength and aggression without making mention of where it came from. One simply can’t speak of this fighter without referencing her origin story. But many indeed do try.
Here in the United States, for the most part, we don’t reward cheaters with the ultimate accolades. You don’t make our Halls of Fame here if you’ve undertaken behaviors in the dark of night which can’t be discussed in the light of day.
The UFC is still a relatively new sports organization in the United States. At this moment, UFC president Dana White – who has previously criticized Cyborg’s obvious steroid use – has been unclear if his organization truly has a standard set of moral and ethical behavior for athletes who fight beneath their banner or if the almighty dollar is truly all that matters.
So far, with the likes of Jon Jones, a champion who’s been twice popped for drug use, there is no such thing as a lifetime ban – which is what should be applied to all fighters who have been caught at least twice, especially those who represent the organization as the best.
After all, what good is a champion who is known to be a steroid user?
Several days ago, news broke about another female Brazilian fighter, one who showed up for a fight 12 kilograms – or nearly 30 pounds – overweight. She’s 6-foot-4 inches tall, but a single look at one picture told me that she was also 200 plus pounds of pure steroids.
Her name is Gabi Garcia.
My next thought was this: I wonder if she knows Cris Cyborg Justino?
A quick Google search later, I found a bizarre dance video and other evidence showing that Garcia and Cyborg are the best of friends. And trust me, THIS VIDEO is a freakshow.
Like Cyborg, who is in line to become the No. 1 women’s mixed martial artist of all time, Garcia is considered the top in her division as the No. 1 women’s heavyweight. In reality, though, there is only one clear trait they share: the obvious long-time use of performance-enhancing drugs.
I don’t know Cyborg and Garcia’s individual histories. I can’t tell you if they were children of deprivation who simply learned to do whatever it took to make it for them and their families. To be honest, because of the unscrupulous means they used to claw their way to the top, I don’t care to research their pasts.
One thing that seems clear is that both of these athletes seemed to be hedging their bets, straddling the line between becoming professional bodybuilders should the whole fighting thing not work out. Maybe that’s where the drugs came in.
Now, as both fight for legitimacy, they take umbrage that their past tactics have been questioned. Cyborg protested that Rousey would long and loudly call her out for being a drug cheat, citing that she’d only been caught one time. Garcia, in all her testosterone-fueled glory, also has a video where she took to the Internet to blast those “haters” who would want to stop her from making a living and supporting her family.
I have news for both Cyborg and Garcia. Nobody hates you. We hate what you have done to get there. Some of us won’t let you or the world forget it. Some of those other women you compete against have never gone to the extremes that you have to get ahead. They’ve done it clean. They should be rewarded for that.
In the end, no matter what becomes of Garcia or Cyborg, they will never be No. 1 at anything other than examples of how not to become champions.
Now that I think of it, I shouldn’t be surprised that they know each other or the fact that they consider each other BFFs. After all, as they say, we are judged by the company we keep.
Cyborg and Garcia spar together. They lift and train together..
Obviously, they also share the same pharmacist.
So, when history shows that this pair were once at the top of their profession as two of the best female fighters in history, let it also show that they were cheaters. And because of the fact that they were cheaters, they can never be considered the best at anything, because they weren’t even good enough to cheat without the world taking notice.
Michael James has spent more than 20 years in sports journalism as a general assignment reporter with the Detroit News, an NBA beat writer for the New York Daily News and as head writer for ESPN’s Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith.