Mikey Musumeci is undoubtedly one of the happiest and friendliest characters in the professional BJJ world but when it comes to steroids, he takes the subject very seriously. As a multiple-time IBJJF world champion, there aren’t many people better positioned to talk about the subject than Musumeci, and it’s clearly something that he’s passionate about. He doesn’t compete in IBJJF tournaments much anymore and has instead been focusing on his career as the ONE Championship flyweight submission grappling world champion.
He won the title back at ONE on Prime Video 2 when he defeated fellow top BJJ competitor Cleber Sousa, and he’s also defended his belt once already too. His first title-defence attracted significantly more attention though, as he defeated Sambo world champion Gantamur Bayanduuren by decision at ONE Fight Night 6 after some relentless and brutal leg attacks that would have submitted anyone else. He already has his next match for the promotion booked too, as he will be defending his title against Osamah Almarwai at ONE Fight Night 10 on May 5th, 2023:
In a recent interview with ONE Championship, Mikey Musumeci was asked about trends in no gi grappling and he immediately opened up about the prevalence of steroids in BJJ and the effect he thinks it has on the sport:
“Honestly, a lot of steroids. No, like, seriously, it’s ridiculous. All these guys just injecting into their butts. You know how I feel about steroids. That’s why I love ONE Championship; they test athletes. At least I don’t have to deal with these guys injecting steroids all year; they have to at least cycle off a month to fight me. So that’s nice. And, again, the impact on generations if you take steroids. What are you telling the next generation? Oh, you have to take steroids to be a champion. So now you’re telling the next generation to take drugs? Is that a great impact you’re having on others? No, it’s a s*** impact. Like, what are you doing? I’m just really against it.”
Mikey Musumeci also explained what he thought the difference would be if we did manage to get rid of steroids in BJJ:
“It would be such a healthier, less toxic environment. It’s just these meatheads that are on so much steroids and so masculine and macho, and it’s just so stupid. I feel like it would just be a safer place for everyone.”
It’s not just the environment that would change according to Musumeci, he thinks the way that BJJ looks would change for the better as well:
“It would be a more technical jiu-jitsu. So a lot of the best people, their jiu-jitsu works because theoretically, they have the strength to do their positions, but if they didn’t have that steroid strength, what would they be doing? They would need more positions; they would need more variations. So I think jiu-jitsu would be ten times more technical than it is today if there were no steroids.”
It’s understandable to see how Mikey Musumeci comes to these conclusions, but it’s worth remembering that some impressively technical BJJ competitors have failed PEDs tests or admitted to using steroids in the past. Most recently, 5 top competitors failed PEDs tests at the 2022 IBJJF no gi world championships and some of them are among the most popular names in the sport. Even if Musumeci isn’t right about the technical level of BJJ increasing, he also makes some valid points about the issues that steroids cause to their users:
“Besides all the bad things it does to your body and the bipolar. I’ve been around all these steroid people my whole life, and they’re all bipolar as hell. The mood swings just destroy your brain and body. It’s horrible… And it makes these people age so much. I’m 26, and I look like I’m 19. But then some people are my age or like a year older than me, and they look 45. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know, I just feel like it’s so bad. But what Chatri’s (Sityodtong) doing at ONE Championship, he’s pushing drug tests. He’s changing jiu-jitsu with this, and I feel over time, we can make a difference and change it.”
Mikey Musumeci isn’t alone in wanting a cleaner version of the sport, and other notable BJJ competitors like Michelle Nicolini have questioned the perceived lack of punishment for the use of steroids. This is a topic that tends to surface at regular intervals, usually when one or more competitors fails PEDs tests and is suspended from IBJJF competition. There’s always some section of the community who are unhappy with the state of the sport but the community as a whole needs to decide what should actually be done in order for anything to change moving forward.