“That was so crazy, man!” Olivier Aubin-Mercier said, breaking out in laughter.
It wasn’t a particularly side-splitting joke that had Aubin-Mercier chuckling, however. Rather, the PFL lightweight champion was reacting to the mention of a large number of the league’s fighters being flagged for positive drug tests during their stint in Las Vegas earlier this year.
“When I saw there was eight people getting caught, I was like ‘bro, that’s insane!’ And it was like the first two events that people were getting caught,” said “The Canadian Gangster,” in an exclusive interview with Cageside Press.
The final tally for positive drug tests from the league’s three-event run in Vegas this past April sits at nine. All are suspended, either provisionally, awaiting the adjudication process to play out, or as part of the sanction handed down in their respective cases.
“I was wondering like, what’s the difference between Las Vegas and other commissions? Is there a difference, are they pushing more, for the tests?”
OAM, one of the most easy-going fighters you’ll meet, is not alone in wondering just what happened in April. The fallout of nine positive drug tests was not only the impact on the upcoming second half of the PFL season, with opponents pulled out and match-ups hastily put together — but the possibility that the league brings in USADA to provide a more extensive testing program for performance enhancing drugs.
“What I do feel bad for is all the people, the people that lost against some juicehead,” said Aubin-Mercier. “That’s pretty sad. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that.”
What should happen with the “losers” is the next question we posed him. “I don’t know, it’s a good question. Even though they don’t have points, if they bring new people, they all start at the same point. What I would do though is give one extra point to everyone that beat a juicehead.”
That’s an interesting thought, though perhaps impractical. An extra reward for beating a cheater. The upside of the situation, if there is one, is that no one tested positive in Aubin-Mercier’s 155lb weight class. “Not in lightweight — not yet!”
As for the potential arrival of the U.S. Anti-Doping Organization to the PFL (USADA previously confirmed to Cageside Press that they are in discussions with the promotion), Aubin-Mercier believes there’s no other option.
“I think that’s — with all the big signings, if they want to compete with the UFC, they have no choice,” said OAM, in reference to names like Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul joining the PFL. “They have no choice but to do it. Nobody’s going to take them seriously if they don’t do it. I think it’s a no brainer for them to get USADA in there.”
While the sporting world awaits the league’s next move, Olivier Aubin-Mercier, one of the few Canadians in the PFL, has a fight to prepare for. One that happens to be against one of the only other fighters from north of the border to be fighting in the league this year: Anthony “The Genius” Romero, who calls the Niagara region home.
“To be honest, I didn’t know who he was. Because they gave me another name before, and then maybe five hours after, they said ‘oh there’s somebody new.’ And then they gave me the name, but I didn’t really look it up.” It was Aubin-Mercier’s coach who told the fighter that Romero was a fellow Canadian.
Luckily, the change of opponents in this case doesn’t really matter. OAM doesn’t even remember who the initial name was. “It took five hours for the guy to pull out. It was quick. I think the guy, maybe he was hurt or something. He said it as soon as he knew, so that’s really good on him.”
As for Romero, while Aubin-Mercier had yet to see any tape of him when we spoke, he summed up the danger posed perfectly. “He has nothing to lose, to fight me.”
Watch our full interview with Olivier Aubin-Mercier above. OAM returns at PFL 6 on June 23, 2023 where he faces Anthony Romero in the main event.