Should there be any allowance for the use (not abuse) of steroids in professional sports? Most people will emphatically yell "NO!" However, lets look at one scenario that might give this stance a second thought. UFC fighter Hermes Franca was caught with steroids in his system after his loss to lightweight champion Sean Sherk (who ironically was also busted). Franca, unlike Sherk, fully admitted to taking the steroids and apologized to the UFC and his fans for doing so. He is going to be suspended for 1 year. Seems pretty cut and dry, right? Well lets look at a few things: A. When an Athlete is Injured Franca suffered an ankle injury weeks before the fight. He claimed the steroids he took were an effort to try and heal the injury quicker. Given that he admitted to taking them, and that he has never been busted before, I have no reason to doubt him. B. Doctor's Prescription At this point it is unclear if Franca was actually prescribed the steroids he was caught with. There are a lot of people on the internet claiming to be experts that say what he was caught with isn't prescribed by doctors. I don't know if they are or not, but I know the internet is filled with so called "experts." If they were indeed prescribed, does that change things? C. Payday UFC fighters do not have guaranteed contracts like NBA players. They don't collect a fat pay check when they are injured. These fighters average 3 to 5 fights a year, and many low to mid tier guys make under $20,000 a fight. So lets say a fighter makes $60,000 a year. Seems like a pretty good wage for the average joe, but take out the cost of training, including equipment, and dietary/supplements, and that can quickly go down. If you are unable to fight even 1 fight that year, you may struggle to put food on the table for your family. D. Window of Opportunity Fellow UFC fighter Karo Parysian had a title fight against then UFC champion Matt Hughes. This was his shot at establishing himself as a top tier fighter, and increasing his worth dramatically. Again, weeks before the fight he got injured, and had to bow out of the fight. This is close to two years ago I think, and he has yet to get that title fight. In the world of MMA, you don't get many chances, as there are always other fighters looking to take that top spot. Franca didn't want that opportunity to slip away. E. Leveling the playing field A lot of people are against the use of steroids in order to "level the playing field." UFC fighter, and vocal anarchist Jeff Monson had this to say in this regard. "If it were up to me everything would be legal," said the Washington native. "I don't think they should make anything illegal because you have fighters coming up or body builders or college players, whatever, using $400-500 a month worth of supplements a month that you get at GNC, then you got another guy coming up that can't afford that stuff, so you got an unlevel playing field with that." "You have the pre-testosterone this and anabolic-booster that -- it's all legal," The Snowman continued. "To me, what's really the difference? That stuff is just as expensive as steroids anyway and not everyone can afford it, not everyone has access to that stuff. Just because it's legal or not legal, who determines that stuff? The government. Some guy in a suit that's never taken it, doesn't know anything about it." The playing field will never be level, with or without steroids. Genetics play a huge role in determining who is a superior athlete, almost as much as skill. F. What do we really know about steroids? Sure, we've all heard the horror stories, and have been told how dangerous they are, but has this been entirely true? Or, is this part of media hype and sensationalism? This two part video from Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel suggests that we don't know everything about steroids. Part 1. Part 2. Thoughts? Opinions? I'll share one potential solution to this later.