This news may come as a shock to many, similar to walking by the magazine section at your local book store. Braulio Estima is a legend in the sport of BJJ, at 34 years of age he has an ridiculous list of wins and accomplishments. He is currently 1-0 in MMA, and he has won ADCC, The World Championships, World Cup, Europeans, and both the Gi and NoGi Pan Ams several times each. Despite being one of the elite grapplers in the World, he is prone to mistakes like any other person, athlete or not. In this particular case, it may just end his career.
This past June Braulio closed out his bracket in the IBJJF 2014 World Championships to win gold along side fellow teammate Romulo Barral. IBJJF competitors are subject to drug testing by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and Braulio tested positive for DMAA or methylhexanamine. This banned substance is most well known as a stimulant and it is often found within drinks and dietary supplements as an energy booster or pre-workout supplement. Braulio's punishment consists of having his title stripped as well as a two year ban from the sport. Now, was this punishment excessive? Probably. Does he deserve to be punished - absolutely! It's no secret that when money is at stake athletes and competitors will follow their natural inclination to gain any advantage necessary. As sport grappling increases in popularity, sponsorships and monetary opportunities follow close behind. For several years now, competitors such as Felipe Costa have challenged the IBJJF to start drug testing and it was put in place in Black Belt divisions in 2013. Now some of you may think drug testing is silly or maybe even too strict, but it is what it is. As an athlete you are responsible for everything that you put into your body as well as the actions or lack of actions you take leading up to a fight or event. In most cases (including most courts of law) ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the rules or the law. Do we feel bad for Braulio, sure - two years very well could end his IBJJF career, but the fact is he took a banned substance and the fact that he unknowingly drank from a bunch of different bottles doesn't matter. USADA makes their testing and list of banned substances very clear, and again it's up to the competitors and coaches to know the rules. Could the ban have been less severe, probably, and in most cases I would imagine someone with a more severe and clear case of cheating (say with steroids) would probably wind up getting the same or less of a ban. Yes, they are both illegal, but a tiered punishment system could be implemented - at least in this case. Now we are sure this isn't the last of Braulio, it may just give him a chance to compete in different venues (ADCC, Metamoris, MMA) but all we can only sit back and wait.
In the meantime, take a look at JJM's exclusive interview with Braulio discussing his ban and the events that lead up to it .