Gordon “The King” Ryan has been dominating the NoGi grappling world many years now, but his status as a natural athlete is doubted by many as steroid and PED usage accusations arise.
Gordon Ryan has shown impressive performances in the last three ADCC World Championships taking home gold medals from every event. After lately beating Andre Galvao in the ADCC Superfight, the GOAT title (Greatest Of All Time) went over to Gordon Ryan.
Is Gordon Ryan natural? Is Gordon Ryan on Steroids? Does it even matter?
Disclaimer: We are not accusing anybody of possibly illegal performance enhancing drug use.
Nicky Rod on Gordon Ryan’s Steroid Use
Former teammate and Gordon’s 2022 ADCC World Championship finals opponent Nicky Rodriguez accuses Gordon Ryan of steroid use.
After being asked the following on Mark Bell’s Podcast:
“What do you think makes [Gordon Ryan] good?”
Nicky Rod replies:
“His biggest thing is Steroids. You can’t gain 50 pounds of muscle and say it’s irrelevant. No, it is super f****** relevant. You wouldn’t be half the person if you didn’t do that.”
“No disrespect, but you have somebody that preaches ‘technique is king’ but then why are you trying to be so strong?”
Nicky Rod is a big guy himself and fights in the same weight division as Gordon. With all the accusations thrown around, here’s a comparison image so you can judge yourself:
The rivalry between the former teammates under John Danaher has been going on for a while now. After a close fight on UFC Fight Pass Invitational 3 in December 2022, Gordon accused Nicky Rod of greasing which he describes as using lotion that makes the body slippery as soon as a person starts to sweat:
Gordon Ryan Steroids Accusations: His own Words
A few years ago, Gordon Ryan himself commented on Steroid usage in BJJ and the competitive Jiu Jitsu world. He stated:
“Everyone on the highest levels for the most part is on something. Our team are pretty much the only people who don’t use steroids to a certain degree.”
This quote says a lot!
Obviously, he couldn’t just outright admit PED use and explain his stack even if he is on something. Nevertheless, his statement reveals his views on the competitive BJJ scene and lets us imagine what Gordon himself is doing.
The following video opens with Gordon talking about steroid use in BJJ followed by Derek from More Plates More Dates explaining his view on the affair:
To make a fair judgement one not only has to look at the body transformation that took place but also the time it took to achieve the transformation. Check out the video above for some images of Gordon Ryan before and after steroids allegedly.
Joe Rogan on Gordon Ryan Steroids Use
On The Joe Rogan Experience #1920 Joe states:
“Gordon Ryan who is the greatest grappler of all time openly admits taking performance enhancing drugs. He openly talks about it because everybody is doing it.”
Joe goes on that performance enhancing drugs are not illegal in BJJ and states:
“Gordon Ryan looks like a guy who takes performance enhancing drugs. He looks like a f****** Greek god.”
Nevertheless, Joe insists that there are a number of factors that make Gordon Ryan the greatest NoGi grappler of all time, like his coach John Danaher, Gordon’s discipline, and much more:
“To attribute all [his achievements] just to performance enhancing drugs is crazy but to say that it doesn’t play a part in it is also not true.”
Are all high level BJJ athletes on Steroids?
Obviously, we cannot prove steroid usage through images online, but we can assess the probability of a certain body type to be naturally achievable.
The following image shows Andre Galvao, Gordon Ryan’s opponent in the 2022 ADCC World Championship Superfight. Andre looks extremely muscular even compared to Gordon Ryan and has been accused of steroid use many times in the past.
Andre is just another example that shows how likely top level athletes are to use steroids and other PED’s.
As Gordon himself said before:
“Everyone on the highest levels for the most part is on something.”
Is Gordon Ryan on Steroids?
As with most high-level athletes and world champions in any sport around the world, steroid use is very common. As a result, the probability of Gordon Ryan and most other top BJJ athletes using performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) is high.
Does it matter?
There are different opinions on this matter.
If anyone is doing it, it is like nobody is doing it. Therefore, the competition is fair at the highest levels even with steroid and PED use.
The downside is, only people that are willing to risk their health beyond the inherent risk of the sport have a chance of becoming successful competitors. Therefore, testing for performance enhancing substances would level the playing field and allow more potential talent to rise to the top.
On the one hand the high-level competition scene becomes more interesting with bigger, better and a faster athletes, but on the other hand natural and casual athletes can’t relate or compare to professional athletes anymore.