Brendan Schaub faced a difficult moment before his bout with Lavar Johnson at UFC 157 in February.
The former University of Colorado fullback turned UFC fighter hadn’t won in the Octagon since March of 2011 when he stopped Mirko CroCop in third round of their bout at UFC 128. He’d lost two since then and facing Johnson on the prelims. Doing the math in his head, Schaub figured that probably meant another loss, which would’ve been the third in a row, would also be his marching orders from the UFC. Come hell or highwater, Schaub was determined to not let that happen.
Schaub ended up earning a unanimous decision victory over Johnson, largely due to takedowns and top control, something that displeased a lot of fans in attendance and observers online.
“I was happy [with the performance]. I always aim to please,” Schaub told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s The MMA Hour. “I don’t want fans upset. I don’t want the UFC upset. I could’ve done more. I probably should’ve opened up a little more.
“He was just rushing in,” Schaub explaned. “It was too easy. And on the ground it takes two to tango. When a guy is just holding on and hoping he gets stood up, I don’t even know what you call that.
“Lavar’s a great fighter, a tough guy. I did what I had to do to win. Yeah, I could’ve been more exciting. It is what it is. Match-ups make fights and it just so happens he has no grappling abilities and I did.”
Schaub’s win earned him little fanfare, but it did achieve his chief objective. Namely, getting back in the win column.
The bout also uncovered something else. According to Andy Foster, the Executive Officer for the California State Athletic Commission, it was “confirmed the testosterone [found in Johnson's body] was consistent with the administration of a steroid.” Johnson was subsequently cut from the promotion.
“He got busted for the performance-enhancing stuff. I don’t want to see him get cut, because I think he can beat a lot of guys in the heavyweight division with his stand-up. If he gets the right match-up, so I was sad to see that,” Schaub said.
“It’s part of the game, any professional sport. NFL, NBA, MLB. When you’re participating in professional sports, guys are going to try to find a way to get around it. It didn’t matter to me. I really don’t care. I didn’t want to see him get cut because of it,” Schaub contended.
While Schaub may have preferred to not see Johnson removed from the organization despite his infraction, there’s no doubt in his mind Johnson was up to something.
“When I saw him arrive at the hotel on Tuesday, he was jacked,” Schaub recalled. “And I said something to my coaches like ‘Well, hopefully they test this dude.’ Everyone was like, ‘Yeah, he’s pretty big.’ So, I assumed it. I assumed he was doing something when you look like that.
“He had an advantage, for sure,” Schaub insisted. “He was stronger. 100 percent.
“Why do you think I kept taking him down? When we got in the clinch I was like, ‘Good lord. This guy is eating different steak and potatoes than I am. I better take it to the ground.’
“I assumed he was on that,” he confessed. “Usually when guys are taking stuff like that their cardio’s not as good. Hence, why I kept taking him down. I figured he’d get worn out and I’d knock him out. it just didn’t turn out that way.”
Schaub later clarified that no matter what, testing is important and necessary for the sport’s fairness. Cheaters may be ‘part of the game’, but so is testing. Yet, in the case of Johnson, Schaub sees his opponent’s use of steroids as an admission of weakness. Despite Johnson trying to unfairly benefit himself with use of performance-enhancing drugs, Schaub sees the benefit being paid the other way around.
“If he needed that to beat me, you’re already screwed,” Schaub argued. “You’re already weak minded. I’m going to do what I need to do and I’m definitely going to win. Because when the going gets rough and you’re depending on these steroids – whatever he did to look like that – man, I’m definitely going to beat you. I have more skills. Those steroids aren’t going to give you skills.”
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