‘F—k It!’ PFL Steroid Gate Result Of ‘Chance To Gain Financial Stability’

2023 PFL 1
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

It was a rough start to the 2023 season for Professional Fighters League (PFL).

The promotion’s opening round of Light Heavyweight match ups was hosted in Las Vegas, the first seasonal event of the year. Unfortunately, the time spent in the city wasn’t the smoothest as nine fighters tested positive for banned substances and were served suspensions. PFL hired United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to regulate drug testing protocols shortly after the failures.

The suspensions removed the fighters from the tournaments, shuffling the deck at 205 pounds, which saw five of the nine failures. Amongst the bunch was Ireland’s Will Fleury, a former Middleweight until he joined PFL. Fleury failed for drostanolone use and originally won a split decision against Krzysztof Jotko, who also tested positive for drostanolone. The result was overturned to a no contest, and both were suspended for nine months with a $3,071 fine.

“I knowingly took steroids to gain weight, gain advantage, and felt like I’d be fighting guys who were juiced up. That proved to be the case,” Fleury told Severe MMA. “The guy I fought was juiced, the guy I was about to fight was juiced. You can justify it all you want, but I did the crime. I served the punishment. Here we are.

“I got offered a chance to move to Light Heavyweight by the PFL, and originally I said no,” he continued. “I train with a lot of Light Heavyweights, and I wasn’t that size. When I was at my biggest, I was about 95-96 kilos (209-211 pounds) and I’d be strong at that weight, but I wasn’t like particularly lean or jacked. Whereas around 92-93 I could be in good shape.”

Fleury, 35, parted ways with PFL after the incident and his suspension, whereas notable names like Thiago Santos and former Light Heavyweight champion, Rob Wilkinson, are still on the roster.

Initially, Fleury declined the opportunity to change weight classes, as mentioned. The lack of a Middleweight season in PFL helped him decide in the end, and he’s owned up to it. Fleury returns to action against Daniel Škvor in a Light Heavyweight contest at Oktagon 56 this weekend (Sat., April 20, 2024).

“A week later, it was the chance to move to Light Heavyweight, you were gonna fight against a Middleweight in your first fight then you had eight months to move up to Light Heavyweight and the million-dollar tournament,” Fleury said. “So, then I had to go away and that was the period where I was like, ‘Okay. You gotta f—king look into doing something here.’

“I thought ‘F—k it. I’m not gonna get a bigger chance to gain financial stability outta this thing and probably won’t get an opportunity like this again,’” he continued. “Going to Light Heavyweight wasn’t something that I was mad to do, but I made that decision and went and did it.

“I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t have to move up, but again, there’s a lot of lads at Middleweight who are juiced the f—k up as well,” Fleury concluded. “If you have eyes and you watch the f—king sport, you see a lot, you know? It is what it is.”

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