Peralta’s Statement On Drug Suspension Sets Gold Standard For Fighters

Robbie Peralta I’m extremely impressed with Robbie Peralta today, which is a huge turnaround from the way I (and many others) felt about him about one month ago. Just about four weeks ago at UFC on FUEL TV 9, Peralta took on Akira Corassani in what most observers pegged as a squash match. Peralta had quickly risen through the UFC featherweight ranks with knockout wins over Jason Young and Mackens Semerzier (later overturned), and many had quickly zeroed in on him as a darkhorse at 145. Corassani, on the other hand, had defeated Andy Ogle via robbery split decision at UFC on FUEL TV 5, and most believed that the UFC had set up Corassani to get knocked out by Peralta. When the betting odds came out, Peralta was around 4-to-1 and he stayed in that area up until the fight, with most sharp minds throwing him into their parlays and playing the Peralta via knockout prop. Corassani, meanwhile, got no love, and even though his line peaked at over +400 absolutely no one would touch him. But this is MMA and anything can happen and that’s what happend at UFC on FUEL TV 9, as Corassani outstruck Peralta over the course of three rounds to win a clear-cut unanimous decision. There was no controversy with this one — those who picked Peralta admitted they were wrong and gave kudos to Corassani’s few backers, while those few smart people who did bet on Corassani made some serious cash that night. How could this have happened, though? How could Peralta, who had looked so good in his UFC run up until that point, lose a standup fight against Corassani, the same man who was knocked down twice by Ogle in England? Well we found out our answer earlier this week when the UFC suspended Peralta six months for having marijuana metabolites in his system. Now we know why he looked half asleep in the cage against Corassani. A few days after his suspension was announced, Peralta released a statement of his positive drug test to Sherdog.com.┬áHere is Peralta’s statement in full:

“I just want to apologize to all my friends, family, fans and to the UFC for what I did. I’m going to have to suffer the consequences, but the main thing is that I apologize to all the people I let down – my coaches, my team.”

“I’ve been going through some emotional things these past six months. When my grandma passed away in March, that’s when I made the dumb choice of smoking. We had the funeral and had a few drinks and started making bad choices. I regretted it the next day, but I’m not here to make excuses for myself. I did what I did.”

“It’s good in a way so that I never make that mistake again. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth [jeopardizing] my career. I have a lot of things going for me right now, and I just have to realize that. All of this is new for me, being in the public eye, this whole thing. I’m trying to get adjusted to it little by little and just keep moving on. I just have to make sure this doesn’t happen again and that I’m stronger mentally.”

To me, this statement sets the new gold standard for other fighters who get caught for marijuana (and other illegal drugs) to aspire to. In the statement, Peralta admitted to his wrongdoing and even went as far as to pinpoint exactly when the infraction took place. Although he set the context for the reasons behind using marijuana by explaining he was going through personal issues and finding it difficult living in the public eye, he never used those reasons as excuses for people to feel bad for him and he fully. He fully accepted the blame and acted in the mature manner that a professional athlete should when they screw up — although they very rarely ever do, which is why I’m so impressed with Peralta. You contrast what Peralta said and what fighters like Nick Diaz and Matt Riddle said when they were suspended for marijuana use and it’s night and day. With Diaz and Riddle it was all about excuses and throwing the blame at somebody else when they screwed up. With Peralta, though, you have someone who has accepted the consequences for his mistakes and who only blamed himself. In the future I would hope that more fighters are like Peralta and that they actually admit to their drug usage when they are caught. It’s very, very rare for a fighter to actually admit to taking what they were caught with, so to see Peralta come out and not only admit to it but to say he will learn from it is commendable. Now, hopefully other fighters in the future learn from him.

Written by Adam Martin.

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