Michelle Nicolini is a legendary BJJ competitor, and she’s recently spoken publicly about the lack of punishment that athletes face when they test positive for PEDs. This is hardly a new topic either, as it’s widely known that the IBJJF is the only BJJ organization that actually tests its athletes. Nicolini is uniquely positioned to draw attention to the topic though, as she is arguably the most successful female BJJ competitor of all time. She has won an incredible 8 IBJJF world championship gold medals, 2 IBJJF no gi world championship gold medals, and an ADCC world championship during her career; and is still at the very top of the game today.
It’s not confirmed what sparked Nicolini to talk about PED use in Jiu-Jitsu, but many people in the BJJ community have questioned the fact that only one organization actually punishes people caught doping. Other competition organizers turn a blind-eye to the practice and even when athletes are caught by the IBJJF, they are often still booked to compete at other events while serving their suspension. One of the most notable examples is actually happening right now, as Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu was one of five men who were handed three-year suspension by the IBJJF after testing conducted around the 2022 no gi world championships. However, not long after that news was made public Cyborg was actually booked to take part in the BJJ Stars 10 absolute grand prix with over $40,000 in prize money on the line.
Michelle Nicolini made the open statement criticizing the apparent lack of punishment for athletes who test positive for PEDs in a recent story posted to her official Instagram account:
The original statement is in Portuguese, but the translation for it can be found below:
“If the athlete is caught in doping… should he or shouldn’t he be suspended in all organizations? If only one organization punishes and others turn a blind eye to what happened and still treat him as a “star” in another event, I think this athlete will not be polite. In my time being caught in doping meant losing contracts, titles, getting suspended and embarrassing others.”