Studies surrounding the long term effects of high impact contact sports have been happening for years but for some athletes, they are turning to an alternative form of medicine in order to help themselves.
On Tuesday night, HBO’s Real Sports devoted a segment to the growing list of athletes experimenting with psychedelic drugs after suffering from issues such as depression, anxiety and possible brain damage as the result of so much damage done.
Two former UFC fighters — Ian McCall and Dean Lister — were among those athletes profiled with both revealing the serious issues they’ve been dealing with following retirement from active competition.
According to McCall, he was snorting painkillers like oxycontin and fentanyl just to get through his day-to-day life while often contemplating suicide as the only way to escape the pain.
“I was medicated and so numbed out from such a young age,” McCall said when appearing on the Emmy award winning series. “I turned into a monster.
“I wanted to kill myself. I was so depressed. I had no idea who I was. I laugh it off because it was just crazy.”
McCall last fought in 2018 when he suffered a knockout in RIZIN while clashing with former bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi. Over the course of his 18 year career, McCall only suffered that lone knockout in his final appearance but that doesn’t speak to the cumulative damage done through 21 professional fights.
The same could be said for Lister, who competed in PRIDE and the UFC between 2004 and 2009.