Jesse Taylor: Ready to Go
Following the contrasting suspensions of Jon Jones and Fabricio Werdum, USADA have been in the news for all the wrong reasons as of late. It is worth noting though that for every case like the one with Jon Jones, there are many other fighters that have been unable to go through the process in the way that he has and have been left to accept what they believe to be an injustice.
TUF 25 winner Jesse Taylor was expected to face Belal Muhammad on November 19th 2017 but was notified by USADA that he had been flagged for an out of competition drug test conducted on August 22nd. On October 13th 2017, USADA officially suspended Taylor one year for testing positive for anti-estrogen agent clomiphene and now that his suspension is over, he’s raring to return.
Jesse has bounced back previously from several well publicised bumps in the road and right when he finally thought it was his moment, it was taken again. He took the time to speak with SpitballingPod recently and explained how the last year has been – ‘What frustrates me is they never released the full details, I did nothing wrong but they found dirty trace residuals, like a low, low amount of this stuff called clomiphene. It isn’t a steroid, to me it was all foreign but I guess it’s a female fertiliser drug. I passed the same test a month prior and I was also 2 months out from another fight, so why would I be taking something that doesn’t benefit me? I understand it’s a post cycle thing but I was clean in all the tests prior. With the amount found, it looks like it would stand up to be a contaminated substance’ he said.
A common question when a fighter fails a test is why they would accept a ban if they feel they’re innocent. Taylor explained how the process works and why it wasn’t as simple as him just fighting the case – ‘When I found out I was just so frustrated, they say you can fight it but you need about 10-20 grand for lawyers and then you also have to pay to test all of the supplements’ before later adding ‘The only wise-words that I’d now give to other fighters is that you’ve definitely got to be wise as to what you take, any type of new stuff, anything that helps with aggression, even if they say it’s natural, you’ve just gotta be careful and I’m a lot more diligent now with that. One of the more frustrating things is that you get fighters who fail full-on steroid tests and somehow get lawyers, pull the tainted-supplement thing and they’re able to get right back in there’.
At 35 years old and in what would traditionally be the latter stages of his career, it would have been easy for Taylor to turn his back on the sport and say it’s just not worth it anymore. When asked if he had even considered retirement, he said ‘I’ve just come such a long way, I finally got back to the UFC, I was right there and it was another setback. It just feels like the story of my life, I’m ready to put it all behind me. I’m stuck where I want to make it clear that I’m innocent, but still, move past it. I just want the UFC to give me a date’.
Going back a year, Jesse maintains that he was in great shape, was raring to go and that he was ready to put on a show for the Australian fans; I worked my ass off, I was so excited, so happy to be back but I just said fuck it, I’m innocent here and I had to use it to my advantage. I’ve been training this entire year – but now I just wanna get back to it. Let’s go UFC, I’m their dark horse, their pony-boy, their night-hawk and I’m ready to be back in there.
In terms of his next opponent, Taylor isn’t too fussy, but maintains that he wants to jump as far in the deep end as possible - ‘There’s no easy match-up (at 170lbs), every guy from the lower rankings to the top are all good. I’d like a named guy, but if they can just give me a top 20 guy with a name then that would be great. A lot of guys are afraid of losing their rankings to someone that is below them, I don’t think anyone is really gonna want to fight me’
Moving forward though, Jesse sees a clear path to the title and insists there is only one man that can cause him any trouble. ‘I honestly think the only guy who gives me trouble match-up wise is the Champ – you look at guys like Covington, who I’ve wrestled before and I smoked. I think as long as I have good camps and smart match-ups then I really can move up the pile fairly quickly’ he said.
Jesse insists he’s in great shape already and is desperate for a date to get back in there. Whenever that date comes – JT Money is ready to give his story the Hollywood ending that it’s currently missing. ‘I’m ready to go’ he insists.