By Zach Arnold | March 13, 2012
- Rampage’s exquisite timing in making his ‘final stand’ against UFC
- One enemy too many: UFC testosterone narrative backfiring
- Mood swings: Rampage rages against UFC
- Rampage Jackson admits TRT usage, claims his doctor works for UFC
- Five questions the media should ask about UFC testosterone story
- Victor Conte: Ongoing testosterone fiasco will haunt UFC; Dave Meltzer says Bristol Marunde fought on Strikeforce show w/ TUE for testosterone
“I think slavery is done.”
When it comes to illustrating absurdity amongst two UFC fighters who currently finds themselves in a pickle (for legal or PR reasons), you could not currently find a more contrasting example than that of one Nick Diaz & Rampage Jackson. Diaz, who got suspended after failing a Nevada drug test for marijuana, has kept his mouth shut on the matter and has let big boy hired guns do the talking. His attorney, Ross Goodman, is about as good as you can get in Las Vegas when it comes to going after a pol like Keith Kizer. Team Diaz channeling the spirit of Jonathan Tweedale is also a fascinating development.
In other words, Team Diaz is actually using their head & their brains to try to get out of their bad situation. The same cannot be said for Rampage Jackson, a man who continues to dig himself into a deeper hole over his interview a few weeks ago with Fighters Only magazine.
Last week, Dana White claimed at a New York City presser that Rampage talked to Lorenzo Fertitta and allegedly told Lorenzo that the interviewer in question (Gary Alexander) made things up regarding allegations about Rampage using testosterone and his doctor’s supposed relationship with the UFC.
Up until Monday, Rampage had not issued any sort of denial about the claims made in the Fighters Only magazine. On Monday night, Rampage made his first indication of a muddled non-denial denial about what was claimed in the Fighters Only magazine interview.
In order to give you a clear illustration of what was initially claimed in the Fighters Only interview, we’ve decided to break down the supposed claims here. Once we establish what those supposed claims were, then we will compare what Rampage allegedly said during the interview with his public statements made to Inside MMA last night.
These are the seven major claims that Gary Alexander wrote that Rampage Jackson had allegedly told him during their interview for Fighters Only Magazine (published February 29th).
1. In the magazine interview, Rampage supposedly said that he was told by his doctor that his knee was in such bad shape that he should not fight on the UFC Japan card.
So when I hurt my knee this time it was fucked but it was really a blessing in disguise. I really wanted to fight for the Japanese fans and so I went to see the doctor and he told me not to fight. I was like ‘whoa.’ I bust out crying, because I had missed Japan and… you know, I don’t like to tell people that I cry but I am a human being, I cried. I woke up at like three o’clock in the morning and I cried. I couldn’t train and I didn’t know if it would be a career-ending injury.
What Rampage said to Inside MMA: “One, I did use TRT, because my doctor prescribed it to me. He tested my levels. My levels were low and he said it would let me heal up my knee.
“Two, I never backed off those statements, not once. I didn’t even have to give that information. I chose to give it because a lot of people out here are cheating with steroids and all different stuff.”
So, Rampage continues to back his assertion of testosterone usage. He also said he got a prescription for it but does not go out of his way to say that an endocrinologist gave him the prescription (which would requires months worth of testing) as opposed to the Fighters Only interview claim that he got the prescription from an ‘age management doctor.’ Furthermore, Rampage backs his claim that his knee was hurt and that he got the testosterone in order to ‘heal up’ in time to fight. He does not back off of the interview claim about his doctor initially not wanting him to fight on the UFC Japan card.
“In my opinion, (UFC president) Dana (White) has a way of controlling the media (to have them) seeing the way he sees things. That’s why they got rid of all the other media at the UFC when they first started taking over, so they could only have their type of media.
“I never backed down from saying that. I don’t even know why he would say I backed down from saying that.”
So, here’s Rampage basically, in a muddled sense, saying that he didn’t back down from what he said during the interview and that what Dana said at the NYC presser wasn’t true? As you read the quotes from the Inside MMA interview, Rampage says that the interviewer (Gary Alexander) misheard him on some statements due to a problem understanding accents… and yet he’s saying that Dana’s manipulating the media here over what he did or didn’t say during that interview.
This makes both Rampage and the UFC look terrible. Let’s continue.
2. Rampage allegedly said that his doctor ‘works for the UFC’ and that his doctor keeps the UFC in the loop in regards to his medical status.
a lot of fights when I am injured I don’t tell anybody but the UFC knew this time because my doctor works for the UFC. Its good that the UFC knew because they look after you, they take care of you even if its just in training. Pride didn’t do that.
I told my doctor not to tell the UFC but he told them anyway. I don’t like the UFC to know sometimes because I think sometimes got big mouths and then sometimes my opponent knows.
What Rampage told Inside MMA: “I think what happened was, I did an interview with this one guy and he recorded it. I thought he was going to put it up just like you’re doing.
But no, he took some of it and typed it, and the guy who typed it was a British guy. He didn’t understand my English. He didn’t understand my accent. He just typed some stuff that he thought I said, which is wrong.
“I think they tried to say that I had like a UFC doctor give it to me or something like that, which is wrong. I had my personal doctor. He gets paid by the UFC. He’s my personal doctor but I don’t have to pay him; he just sends the bill to UFC, basically is what I said.
“So that’s why I said the UFC knew I was hurt. I don’t know if the UFC knew what I was doing. But the UFC paid (for) me to see him.
He sent me to another doctor. The doctor that he sent me to, I pay him. The UFC don’t pay the doctor who did the TRT; I pay that TRT. But the doctor who takes care of me, the UFC pays him.”
This is both a terrible and a clever answer at the same time. What Rampage is saying is that, no, UFC didn’t directly pay for me to go see an ‘age management doctor’ to get the testosterone… but, yes, they pay for my personal doctor and know what’s going on with me medically.
While it’s one of those parsing-of-the-word type answers, it also puts UFC in a box. He’s basically not backing off the claim that UFC knew he was supposedly hurt bad with a knee injury for his fight and that his personal doctor allegedly told him he shouldn’t be fighting.
Take note of the ambiguity about whether or not the UFC knew he was using testosterone for his fight in Japan. This is a bad answer and I’ll tell you why. In order to use Testosterone Replacement Therapy, you need to get a Therapeutic Use Exemption with an Athletic Commission. If you don’t get a TUE for testosterone usage, chances are something is going to pop up on a failed drug test due to the T/E ratio being too out of balance.
So, who was overseeing regulation of UFC Japan? The UFC was. They were the acting Athletic Commission. So, who from the UFC would monitor the use of a TUE or monitor the testosterone levels? Or were they monitored at all? If there was drug testing at the show and Rampage didn’t alert UFC medical staff ahead of time about his testosterone usage, I would suspect that something should show up on the drug test.
This raises yet another thorny issue for the UFC, which is allowing guys to use TRT while fighting in foreign countries on shows regulated by the UFC. Remember the debacle involving Nate Marquardt? He fought in Germany against Yushin Okami. Josh Gross tried to ask Dr. Jeff Davidson about the topic and supposedly Dr. Davidson would not publicly comment on the matter.
For Rampage to be publicly putting UFC in a box like he has on this medical issue and to do so in such a public manner, I can’t imagine what the organization is thinking right now.
3. Rampage allegedly said that his doctor had a change of heart and pointed him towards an ‘age management’ doctor, which led to getting a prescription for Testosterone.
I almost pulled out but then I went to see the doctor and he told me to talk to an age-management doctor. So I went and talked to them and they tested me and said my testosterone was low; they prescribed me testosterone, to bring my testosterone levels back up to levels where I can be like… so that I am the same as young people, like when I was 25, and it would help build my knee up. I hurt my knee like a month ago and I only did three shots of testosterone but it put a lot of weight on me, a lot of muscle on me but it healed me knee up good enough to where I could fight.
Rampage tried to get around his ‘doctor works for UFC’ comment by saying that the UFC pays for his doctor but that the doctor doesn’t work for them… despite the claim that this doctor (who has yet to be named publicly) tells UFC about what’s going on with Rampage’s medical condition?
How’s that any different than the way UFC treats independently contracted doctors like Dr. Jeff Davidson, the ER doctor who oversees a lot of the fighters at weigh-ins and for things like staph infections (e.g. Matt Hamill)? Just because you claim that all you do is ’send the bill’ to the UFC to pay for the doctor doesn’t absolve the earlier claim by Rampage that his doctor keeps UFC in the loop about his medical condition. It’s not a hands-off deal here based on the interview claims and what Rampage has publicly said here.
“The thing is, the UFC knew I was injured and they knew I still fought for them. I feel like, honestly, I think if I didn’t fight on that card in Japan, I don’t think the appeal would have been as big. I’m sorry; I’m not trying to toot my own horn or nothing like that. But they only had me and Mark Hunt.”
So, here in this Inside MMA quote, Rampage backs up what was claimed in the Fighters Only interview by saying the UFC knew he was in bad shape all along and probably shouldn’t have fought on the card.
4. Rampage supposedly told Gary Alexander that his new-found testosterone usage was the contributing factor in him missing weight for his fight against Ryan Bader.
I gained a lot of weight but I gained a lot of water as well, I never knew about testosterone putting weight on you like that. I had to cut weight [for the fight] and I cut 22 pounds out of the 30 I needed to cut, I just couldn’t make the rest. I couldn’t make the rest.
He doesn’t deny using testosterone at all publicly. A well-known side effect is weight gain. As he supposedly stated during his Fighters Only interview, he gained muscle at a fast rate and also suffered from water retention.
During the Inside MMA interview, Rampage claimed that his doctor told him that his testosterone levels were ‘very, very low.’ He threw out the figure of 420 ng. The doctor said that he should be in the 600 to 800 ng range. Rampage said that he asked his doctor why he didn’t go up to 800 ng and he claims the doctor told him, “I don’t want to get you into trouble.”
5. Rampage allegedly stated that he was told that using testosterone is different than using a steroid.
Well to be honest with you I first learned about testosterone… I don’t know about health and drugs and stuff because I don’t really deal with it. I was never really big into it. So I was like ‘testosterone? No I’m not going to do that, that’s like steroids’ but then the doctor is like ‘no, steroids is stuff mixed with testosterone or other stuff, you can get steroids that do all types of things. Steroids for your cardio, for your muscles. Testosterone is all natural, its what your body produces.’
What Rampage told Inside MMA: “Some people are even abusing TRT and I choose not to. I don’t want to be a cheater. … I don’t consider it cheating. If I have hair remission, I’m going to use hair transplants if I want to. If I lose some of my teeth, I’m going to put new teeth back in my mouth. If I’m an athlete, and my doctor says, ‘Well, your testosterone is low and you’re going to be at a disadvantage with the other fights,’ then I’m going to bring my levels of my testosterone back up. Plus, it can re-heal you, so I thought it was a no-brainer.
“I saw a big difference right away. It was very beneficial to me in my training. I felt like a 25-year-old again. … I think it’s a great thing if fighters don’t abuse it. I think it’s easy to abuse. That’s where they get the (phrase) ‘drug abuse’ from — you can abuse any drug.”
As Dr. David Black famously said years ago on 60 Minutes, ‘testosterone is the base chemical of steroids.’
The point of TRT is to get your levels to where you are feeling like you normally should be… for your AGE number. Meaning, if you’re 33 years old and your body feels like you are 80, the point is to use TRT to feel like you are 33. The point isn’t to feel like you’re 25, as Rampage claims. Besides, he’s 33 years old and he’s proclaiming that he feels like he’s 25. That’s only a difference of about 8 years.
Furthermore, comparing the usage of testosterone by an MMA fighter to someone getting hair plugs or teeth implants is logically insane. MMA is the hurt game. The amount of aggression and strength you have can determine how much more physical trauma you can inflect upon an opponent.
As Victor Conte recently noted, your T levels generally go down 1% each year after the age of 30. Furthermore, Victor stated that only 2% of the general male populace has a legitimate problem with low testosterone.
We know what the three main causes of low testosterone levels are amongst MMA fighters – 1) previous PED usage, 2) bad weight cutting, 3) concussions & brain damage leading to decreased testosterone levels.
6. Rampage supposedly stated to Gary Alexander that UFC told him that ‘a lot of fighters’ are ‘probably’ using testosterone.
So I spoke to the UFC and they were like ‘yeah, a lot of fighters are probably doing it but not telling anyone.’ Me, I keep it real, I am not doing anything wrong. Its legal and I am not abusing it and I am not going over certain levels. From what I learned about it, when I got tested my levels my levels were really low and the doctor was telling me that athletes can burn testosterone.
Rampage has not publicly backed off of this interview claim.
7. Rampage allegedly told Gary Alexander that with his new-found discovery of testosterone, he didn’t plan on retiring any time sooner because the testosterone usage supposedly helps him recover from injuries during training.
In Japan I saw the change and so I decided I am not retiring no time soon, whether I fight for the UFC or not, I am gonna heal my knee up and get back on top. I feel young again. I’m happy I did the testosterone, I wish I had known about it sooner.
I guarantee nine out of ten people would have pulled out with the injuries that I had. People were thinking that I wasn’t taking this fight seriously, that’s why I was getting so mad.
He has not denied any aspect of this interview claim publicly and did not do so on Monday night’s interview with Inside MMA.
All of this is damning for the parties involved (Rampage, UFC, and Fighters Only) for one reason or another. I’m not suggesting legal impropriety but what I am suggesting is that this is a public relations fiasco to the nth degree.
Think about what’s been happening for the organization lately. They’re coming off two great events (UFC Japan & UFC Australia) with major crowds and super atmospheres. Their top vocal nemesis in New York, Bob Reilly, is heading out the exit from politics. Only Sheldon Silver stands in their way politically in terms of getting MMA legislation passed.
And what are they are now faced to deal with for a third week in a row? Rampage’s testosterone claims. Can you imagine the New York DA’s office & the office of the state Attorney General grilling Dr. Davidson, Dana, Lorenzo, and Marc Ratner for hours upon hours about testosterone usage and other medical issues in MMA? It would be an utter disaster and a black eye on the sport. UFC opened themselves up to this potential situation by filing a lawsuit against New York to try to get legislation for MMA through judicial fiat.
Rampage’s comments are all over the world now. The New York Daily News ran a piece by Victor Conte on this subject a day after UFC had a presser in New York City.
This is a serious public relations issue for the UFC and they know it, too. The way they’ve handled it so far, however, has been haphazard & confusing. The company never issued a statement directly rebutting any of the interview claims when the interview was released on the 29th. When Dan Herbertson presented Dana White with Rampage’s quotes about testosterone usage, Dana got pissed at Dan for what he thought was a game of ‘gotcha’ and then basically said that there are fighters who use PEDs, damage their endocrine systems, and should be given a chance to have a career in the UFC while using TRT instead of being punished for making a mistake.
“If you take a guy who’s talented enough to be in the UFC, right? he’s talented enough to be in the UFC yet for some stupid reason this guy’s using or abusing [Performance Enhancing Drugs]. What it does is the long terms effect of this… when guys get off it, they stop producing testosterone. It [expletive] with guys mentally, physically, emotionally, it does so much damage to a professional athlete… there’s no way in hell we want guys coming in doing this stuff. The problem is, it happens. It’s happening now and what we want to try to do is stop this before it gets, you know, to a point where, you know… young guys get damaged and could have, you know, gone on and had great careers in the UFC.”
For over a week, it’s been rumored that the UFC office would issue a statement on the matter. Dave Meltzer claimed that Lorenzo would address the issue. As we saw with the Chael Sonnen saga in California, a key component of that fiasco was that Sonnen’s doctor, Dr. Mark Czarnecki, is a GP and not an endocrinologist.
As Victor Conte claimed during his interview with Steve Cofield & Kevin Iole last week, in order to get your levels properly checked by an endocrinologist it takes months, not weeks or days. Rampage supposedly stated in the Fighters Only interview that he was hurt, wasn’t going to be able to fight, and then got led from his doctor to an ‘age management doctor’ for testosterone. Rampage has not raised the claim that the doctor who prescribed him the TRT was an endocrinologist. So, this is going to be a hard avenue for UFC to attack given what Rampage allegedly said in the Fighters Only interview and now said last night on Inside MMA.
Zuffa eats people for lunch in court if someone defames them or does something they interpret as damaging their brand. Why haven’t they sued Fighters Only or Rampage for the claims that have been published & publicly attributed (to Rampage)? This company humbled Ken Shamrock into legal submission. They went after Randy Couture with a vengeance. If Fighters Only fabricated what they said Rampage claimed during the interview, don’t you think that Zuffa would have filed a lawsuit against them by now? The same deal with Rampage. Given all of his statements, some incredibly troublesome & damaging, you would think that Zuffa would be going after him guns a blazing if he was lying to make them look really bad, yes?
For a company that is known for their overly-aggressive PR tactics when it comes to combating critics, they have been remarkably muted (by their standards) and damage is being done here.
If UFC held a casting call to go find someone in Hollywood to play the role of an aging, veteran fighter who was once a household name but now is using testosterone in order to keep his career going and blaming his employer for all the injustices he has suffered… I don’t think UFC could ever find someone who comes across the way Rampage does.
It is constantly a ‘victim’ card with him no matter what. Interesting that he admitted to Inside MMA that there’s an on-going battle over a new contract and how much he’s worth to UFC. As I said a few days ago, it’s time for UFC to call his bluff. Release him. Let him find out that his chances of making substantial money in MMA outside of Zuffa are gone. Let him go back to Hollywood and see if he can make a run at being a movie star again.
I just know that what we’re witnessing here with Rampage is one sad ending.
Of all the players who has taken a beating over this story, Fighters Only has actually responded the worst out of the three parties.
They continue to remain silent when it comes to releasing the audio or video recording of Gary Alexander’s interview with Rampage. They refuse to stand up for themselves here. Dana last week claimed that Rampage threw them under the bus to Lorenzo by stating that the interviewer ‘made up’ things. Rampage, while not explicitly back-tracking from the interview claims (and even going so far as to say Dana manipulates the media & that he wasn’t back-tracking), proceeded to say to Inside MMA that the interviewer must have misheard or misinterpreted some of his comments because of the different accents they have.
From a legal perspective, Fighters Only better have the audio & video recording of the interview. We’ve been demanding that they release the goods… and for one reason or another, they have refused to do so. They’ve stayed silent. When you are a magazine, especially a print publication, and you publish something as explosive as the claims Rampage supposedly made to you during an interview, you better damn well be ready to have the unedited audio & video ready to release to public or else you are asking for a lawsuit.
Could you imagine during, say, the PRIDE scandal if I had made claims that weren’t true? PRIDE could have sued my ass into bankruptcy. They could have threatened me through various financial channels. It didn’t happen. When you cover a story that contains explosive allegations and controversial claims, you better be 100% on guard and ready to defend your name & your reputation when the heat is on.
Dana threw Fighters Only under the bus last week. Rampage tried throwing Gary Alexander under the bus last night while still not rejecting the major claims that were made in that Fighters Only interview.
Stand up for yourself and your reputation.
Why remain silent and forever have your credibility publicly damaged? Your image is on the line here. You were willing to publish the explosive story on the 29th but you’re not willing to stand up for yourselves weeks later when it’s time to defend the credibility of the remarks made during said interview that you attached your name to on the byline?