By Zach Arnold | June 29, 2011
MIKE STRAKA: “You obviously know what happened with Nate Marquardt today and it’s sort of reminiscent to what happened with Chael Sonnen last year, you know, everybody says they’ve disclosed it, they’re trying to do the right thing when it comes to Testosterone Replacement Therapy but, you know, from your perspective what is going on with these athletes and who are these doctors that are recommending this TRT and how can we educate both the fighters and the viewers as to what’s going on?”
KEITH KIZER: “Well, first off, there may be legitimate reasons why athletes need TRT or other forms of therapeutic use of, otherwise, prohibited substances and because of that that’s why there’s procedures in place, be it at the Olympic level, be it at the state commission level, be it in private leagues that they have this. It’s very important. You don’t want an athlete to have to choose between getting better, getting well, and competing. If in fact you do both without putting either himself at unfair risk or putting his opponent at unfair advantage.”
- Sherdog: What happened in New Jersey with Nate Marquardt & TRT?
- MMA Junkie: Nick Lembo’s explanation of process for Nate Marquardt’s medical testing in New Jersey
MIKE STRAKA: “Got it. Now, with Nate Marquardt’s issue and I don’t know if you know the full story…”
KEITH KIZER: “I don’t. I don’t know much about that case, I can only talk generally.”
MIKE STRAKA: “Essentially, he disclosed to Pennsylvania that he was on TRT. He actually disclosed to New Jersey, New Jersey let him fight but with the condition that he gets re-tested, he goes off the TRT, gets re-tested, and then gets re-evaluated by a doctor, a specialist who then would determine whether he needed to be on TRT or not. And what transpired was he never went to a specialist and Pennsylvania never recognized his doctor as being somebody who could prescribe TRT in his case. So, with that and I may be getting a little bit of that wrong but that’s pretty much the gist of it and with that he was not medically cleared to fight on (Sunday) fight. Now, have you been… disclosed to by fighters, I don’t care about their names, but I mean is it a regularity where people say, ‘OK, Mr. Kizer, I am on TRT, here’s my paperwork, here’s my doctors, here’s my diagnosis?’”
- Dave Meltzer: A focus on long-term steroid usage creating lower testosterone levels (Marquardt failed previous 2005 steroid test)
- Jamie Penick (MMA Torch): Until widespread acceptance of PEDs, commissions should not allow fighters to use TRT
KEITH KIZER: “Well, it’s actually not just TRT, there could be several different drugs where you’d want a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) and in those situations, though testosterone may be the most common of those, the process is always the same. It’s very rare, maybe a couple times a year when we have this situation and what we require is we need proof of the medical illness and deficiencies, we need from their doctor the test that proved it, we need the treatment plan from their doctor and a certification from their doctor that use of this treatment plan will not put my patient at undue harm or no it will give him an unfair advantage over his opponent. Just because you get an exemption to use a certain drug doesn’t mean you could super doses of it, for example, of testosterone. So, therefore, if you did get a TUE but then you violated the exemption by super dosing, the exemption goes away and you could be subject to discipline. So, it’s very important.
“What we do in Nevada, I’m sure they do in other states as well, is once we get all that information, you know, test results, let’s use testosterone for the example here. Test results showing the athlete is truly low in testosterone, they just can’t be the low end of normal, it has to be low. Then also something from the doctor saying here’s the treatment plan for this athlete, if he follows that treatment plan he will neither be at undue risk nor at an unfair advantage in his competition if he follows that plan and doesn’t super dose. We go a little bit further, we also require the athlete to give us something under oath, penalty of perjury, that he’s never failed a drug test before and that he’s never ever taken PEDs before because, for example, under WADA as well as Nevada Athletic Commission, if you’re deficient in testosterone because you previously used performance-enhancing drugs, you cannot get a TUE because you did it to yourself, self-inflicted injury. So, but if the athlete did be able to complete all those things, we have all the information from his doctor showing that it’s a legitimate medical need, it’s a legitimate medical treatment, it won’t put him in harm’s way nor will it give him an unfair advantage over his opponent and our doctor calls that doctor and clarifies all that stuff and we get the affidavit and there’s no other evidence that perhaps there was some prior PED usage, the person would be able to get a TUE along the guidelines set forth by our doctor and his doctor. Again, you cannot super dose.
“There’s also something that’s checked on, it’s the LH (Luteinizing hormone/lutropin) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) levels that are checked at the same time as the testosterone levels and those two levels have to be normal or better and again the testosterone level has to be low in order to really qualify automatically or that’s not the right word but to qualify normally for such an exemption. Those are the levels that they check. If your LH & FSH levels are low that does indicate that it could be from prior steroids. If those levels are normal or high, odds are really, really, really good that it wasn’t due to prior PED usage because I guess those are the levels that go down due to steroid usage in the past. So, you know, if I get an athlete that the doctors know has explained all that sufficiently, our doctor checks it out and he’s happy with it, the blood tests a low T/E but a normal-to-high LH & FSH and I get the affidavit from the athlete and there’s no other evidence that the athlete used PEDs in the past, they have a very good chance of getting a TUE, they should get a TUE in a case like that and, again, they don’t have to choose between leading a healthy life and leading a life as a professional athlete nor should they. On the other hand, if they’re not entitled a TUE, they don’t meet the burden, then they have two choices — take the drugs and don’t compete or compete but don’t take the drugs. But again, hopefully there’s a situation in legitimate case where the athlete can do because there’s no harm, no foul.”
MIKE STRAKA: “Now, I know that you’re not a doctor, but I mean does testosterone really give somebody an advantage over an opponent?”
KEITH KIZER: “Yes, it could, it could, depending on the usage of it, it definitely could.”
MIKE STRAKA: “I see. Obviously, there are cases where people, as you just described, they do get exempted. In the case of Chael Sonnen, for instance, in California that was, I mean, he did mention that you had cleared him, you adamantly denied that and he came back and apologized and now he’s said that, you know, you didn’t quite say that. We all know that story. What is your feeling on Chael? Is it possible that he’s going to be able to come back in time?”
KEITH KIZER: “Uh, Chael, as far as I know, is still under suspension by the California commission I think until (Wednesday). What he does after that, I don’t know.”
MIKE STRAKA: “Right. Well, interesting, very interesting. I mean, is there anything, I mean, UFC holds their fighter summits, Mr. Kizer, and they do a good job at teaching these guys what they can say to the media and how they should carry themselves outside of the Octagon and Twittering and all that stuff and I’m quite certain they do these kinds of seminars where they talk about PEDs but is there… you know with such a high-profile firing of one of the greatest fighters in that division, in the Welterweight division, Nate Marquardt, do you think there’s going to come a time where they’re going to have to really educate these guys on PEDs and what they can & cannot do and do they need to bring in somebody like you to help them out?”
KEITH KIZER: “I think the seminars they give, their fighter summit they give every year to all their athletes, I think they do a very good job of that already and not to mention that any pro-athlete can easily get their information or his trainer can or his manager can with about 10 minutes on the Internet, if that much time, so it really leads to the cliché that ‘ignorance is no excuse.’ There’s a reason it’s a cliché because it’s true. So, I don’t know if there’s any additional burden you need to put on the promoter but when you do see something like this where the Pennsylvania commission, the New Jersey commission, and the UFC stood up in favor of a clean sport, it’s a good day for everybody except for those athletes who are trying to sneak one over us on all. So, I have great praise to Nick Lembo in New Jersey, Greg Sirb in Pennsylvania, and Dana White & the UFC in how they handled this case. So, that’s good, and maybe it’s a new day for uh the UFC on that. I know when they do The Ultimate Fighter TV show the fighters who pass the tryouts on the skill level and experience level, they do drug test them and if they fail that they don’t get on the show so they’ve done a lot in the past, you know some people might say they’ve been inconsistent in that matter but nonetheless any little bit helps and, again, I give them great praise for how they handled the situation this weekend as I do the New Jersey Athletic Control Board and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission.”