By Zach Arnold | March 28, 2012
- Testosterone MMA HOF grows as backers ramp up the rhetoric
- Keith Kizer: Rampage’s testosterone cheerleading has led to more TUE requests
- Mike Kogan has had enough of Rampage’s complaining w/ UFC
- Did Rampage name-drop his UFC-friendly doctor?
- Rampage suddenly says the magic of T isn’t helping his knees
- How UFC can play the testosterone card against Rampage
- Testosterone capitulation: The UFC, Rampage, & Fighters Only
- 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
“If you do steroids and fight in Nevada, don’t expect us to roll out the red carpet for you.” — Keith Kizer, Nevada State Athletic Commission
Except, of course, when the athletic commissions don’t mind letting guys use testosterone under the name of ‘replacement therapy.’
“His 6:1 T/E ratio IS a red carpet.” — Victor Conte (responding to Keith Kizer)
I find it hard to believe that the recent actions of AC’s like Kizer’s is just simply normal protocol. ‘Random’ drug testing a bunch of guys at a UFC presser in Las Vegas looks great on paper but it’s not something that you could consider ‘out of competition’ drug testing on its face, especially when compared to the current Olympic/WADA drug testing programs.
No, the media heat about the testosterone issue is undoubtedly getting to the politicians & the promoters. The fighters who are the face of TRT usage have been rather stupid in handling the topic publicly. Keith Kizer even made the admission recently that Rampage’s campaigning for testosterone usage has only increased interest in said usage as far as trying to get exemptions from various state athletic commissions.
The bottom line is that testosterone usage in combat sports is dangerous and it’s much more prevalent, publicly-speaking, in MMA than it is in boxing right now. Why are all these fighters magically suffering from hypogonadism?
Ask yourself the following question — if low testosterone levels in sports amongst high-level athletes was such an epidemic, wouldn’t you think that we would have had plenty of sob stories in the media about football & baseball players already? Wouldn’t the pro-T spin already be out in full force? There’s a reason it’s not. There’s a reason you don’t see high-profile doctors backing the push for testosterone usage amongst MMA fighters. Don’t believe me? Look at the various media interviews so far on this issue where doctors have been put on the spot. They start out by saying hypogonadism is a very debilitating issue but then all but admit that muscular macho MMA fighters shouldn’t be suffering from these kinds of issues unless there was previous damage caused from anabolic steroid use or other kinds of abuse to the body.
There’s a reason why we’ve seen General Practitioners and chiropractors outed as doctors who have supposedly led MMA fighters to get testosterone prescriptions, not endocrinologists.
The T issue is simmering in big sports media circles. There is close attention being paid to the topic. When fighter X, who is using T, ends up seriously injuring or killing fighter B, that is when all hell breaks loose. Which is why the recent comments made by Dana White (read them here and here) should be cause for concern if you’re a UFC supporter.
Do not misunderstand me here — the testosterone dilemma is a huge industry-wide problem… but UFC is the king in the sport right now and if they want to influence how everyone else behaves, they have the hammer to lay down the message of ‘no T’ if they want to.
Dana White’s previous response to Dan Herbertson was rather enlightening insofar as to show what the new PR strategy would be by Zuffa on the topic of testosterone usage. Here’s Dana backing up this new front-man stance:
“We’ve got 375 guys under contract,” White said. “We’re doing a zillion fights a year, traveling all over the world, all these other things that we’re doing. Now, you really think that we can crack down and [expletive] chase these guys around everywhere they live all over the world and just randomly test these guys all the time?”
In addition, he claims that UFC has increased drug testing protocols by having fighters who sign up for The Ultimate Fighter have to take a pre-contract drug test screening. Newsflash: most companies use this standard. A standard urine test is not exactly a ball-buster when it comes to busting guys for steroids unless you’re really, really dumb — and there are plenty of dumb people in the business, no doubt.
“It’s impossible,” he said. “I want to see [expletive] baseball and football and all these other guys get tested the way we get tested. There would be no baseball or football if they got tested the way we get tested. I don’t want to throw this thing at everyone else, but the point is, we’re the most regulated sport on the planet, and that’s a fact.”
Do you notice what media writers who question Dana don’t ask him on this topic?
- Why does your staff allow fighters to use testosterone on shows you ‘regulate’ when there’s no AC in place at the show’s location?
- Several boxers have approached promoters about getting independently tested with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association and are currently undergoing such testing. Why hasn’t this been the case for MMA fighters who are interested in doing so in terms of getting permission?
- You’re basically admitting that testosterone usage amongst fighters in MMA is due to past steroid abuse. As Lance Storm noted last year, why should fighters with low testosterone levels be given special treatment because they can’t make it without drug usage in MMA?
- If testosterone isn’t a performance enhancer, then why are so many fighters & athletes interested in using it?
Keith Kizer likes to go around saying that the testosterone issue is blown way out of proportion and that he’s only given three guys TUEs. Well, that spin is totally missing the point. There are plenty of MMA shows in foreign countries with no regulatory oversight. There are 49 other states outside of Nevada and only a handful actually know what the hell they’re doing when it comes to standardized, not upgraded, drug testing protocols. Commission shopping is ridiculously easy for guys who are testosterone users who also just happen to be big drawing cards in MMA.
Chael Sonnen is a perfect example. His first fight against Brian Stann was in Texas, a state that just had another controversy this past weekend involving boxer James Kirkland and urine test issues. Sonnen’s next fight, against Michael Bisping, happened in Illinois. His rematch against Anderson Silva this Summer is happening in Brazil, a show that is regulated by… the UFC.
“Which is good, but we want to stop guys from taking steroids when they shouldn’t do it. No matter what short-term effects you have, the long-term effects are much worse. It’s stupid, and that’s what we’re trying to stop right now. But testosterone replacement therapy is legal.
“There isn’t a sport out there that goes above and beyond, whether it’s the safety of the athletes, testing for all this crazy [expletive], and the list goes on and on,” he said.
This new corporate spin of ‘we shouldn’t punish guys for past steroid use’ doesn’t wear very well amongst the public. They see testosterone usage for what it is and for UFC to not be prepared to take a hardline stance against this matter is like lighting a firecracker in your hand and just waiting for your hand to get blown off.
A lot of the testosterone users outed so far publicly happen to be household names. As the list continues to grow with new fighters getting outed, the situation could very blossom into a list as high-profile as the infamous list of 103 MLB players who failed sample drug tests in 2003. It’s been a drip, drip, drip treatment in the press over the years as far as who was on that list and it’s been used as a sledgehammer against the players. As MMA”s testosterone list continues to grow, I would expect a high level of scrutiny towards the T-using fighters.
The athletic commissions and promoters know this is a losing issue for them. You can’t play Barney Fife by whacking someone over marijuana usage (Nick Diaz), drostanolone (King Mo), and then turning around and acting as if giving passes out to fighters to use testosterone is going to make your drug testing protocols look good. AC’s don’t even use Carbon Isotope Ratio testing for urine testing. There’s no blood testing, either.
The quickest way to influence the drug culture in MMA is by having the promoters come out against it and put some teeth into the anti-drug stand. We’ve already seen proof of this in other sports and other entertainment fields, especially pro-wrestling. When those in charge actually are serious about laying the hammer down on drug usage, guys magically shrink on television over the course of several weeks. The same thing would happen in MMA if the power players wanted to put a stop to testosterone usage. They should consider doing so before somebody gets really hurt and a drug scandal engulfs the sport. That’s not an outcome that anyone wants to see except those who want to bring down the sport in the first place.
WWE already had one guy who was using testosterone as part of a Therapeutic Use Exemption that damn near brought the company to its knees. The combination of brain damage (CTE) & drug usage. Handing out Therapeutic Use Exemptions for testosterone was stopped by WWE because of the abuse by the boys. UFC & various state AC’s have now painted themselves into a corner publicly where their position on testosterone is more lenient than WWE’s stance on the matter.
The media frenzy towards the UFC if a fighter, on a UFC-regulated show, cripples or kills another fighter while using testosterone will be voluminous. Let’s not go down this path in combat sports. Clean up the mess now before someone pays a permanent price. Once a major incident happens, the stain will be hard to erase and the damage will be done.