By Zach Arnold | May 24, 2012
By now, everyone knows that Chael Sonnen got his hall pass to use testosterone while fighting in the state of Nevada. So, his fight with Anderson Silva on July 7th was a fait accompli.
Predictably, Nick Diaz got the book thrown at him with a year-long suspension for a second positive drug test (marijuana).
Ben Fowlkes at MMA Fighting adroitly pointed out that allowing testosterone while punishing marijuana use does MMA no favors. I’m reminded of this item at Pro Football Talk last week about how many football players use marijuana.
Marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug. If you want to argue that it should be a banned substance, make your case. If you are concerned about a fighter being high during the actual fight, I’m with you. However, to continue making public claims (like Keith Kizer has) that ‘theoretically’ marijuana usage is a performance-enhancing drug in combat sports is beyond bizarre.
Sadly, what’s more bizarre is that the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s assisting physician, Dr. Timothy Trainor, claimed that Chael Sonnen’s physician, Dr. Mark Czarnecki of The Dalles, Oregon, Czarecki, a General Practitioner and not an endocrinologist, wrote Sonnen’s prescription for testosterone and did so to a person suffering from ’secondary hypogonadism.’ Trainor, who claims a belief that Sonnen has secondary hypogonadism, is not an endocrinologist himself — he’s an orthopedic surgeon.
Raphael Garcia (MMA Ratings): Sonnen’s TRT decision pushes MMA down a slippery slope
And, yet, Keith Kizer told Mike Chiappetta of MMA Fighting in the past that Nevada’s protocol for going through paperwork and processing a Therapeutic Use Exemption hall pass for testosterone takes 20 days. Yes, three weeks is all to process a hall pass. By comparison, a state like California wants to do a 4-to-6 month process (similar to international regulatory bodies that oversee granting TUEs).
California’s athletic commission, as we’ve pointed out in our on-going investigation, is a mess as well.
All of this led to a Wednesday commentary by Eddie Goldman on how much PR damage the NSAC will suffer from their Monday rulings:
“This is something that is absolutely disgraceful and with all the health problems that taking this testosterone causes that have been discussed many, many, many times, you have a situation where essentially the Nevada State Athletic Commission is enabling Chael Sonnen and other athletes to say, ‘Oh, I need a Therapeutic Use Exemption,’ giving it to them without using the world experts like the International Olympic Committee does but to just bring in some sports medicine doctor or some surgeon or somebody that’s based in Nevada and basically say, ‘OK, you applied for your Therapeutic Use Exemption,’ and then they sucked up to him in the end and they want him to be an adviser to the Commission on the issue of testosterone.
“This is such a farce. This is so disgraceful that there are only a couple of remedies that can be done at this point. The Governor of Nevada (Brian Sandoval) should immediately fire all members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (Skip Avansino, Francisco Aguilar, Bill Brady, T.J. Day, Pat Lundvall) and also the Executive Director (Keith Kizer). But I think there has to be a broader investigation. I really don’t know what could be done under what I consider to be a ridiculous system in the United States where we have these local yokel state athletic commissions (with) small-time political appointees handling doping measures for international combat sports. To me, it is absolutely an absurd situation. It is terrible governance for sport but it also looks like this is what is done purposely in order to allow these billionaire promoters to get guys to do exciting fights, to throw a lot of bombs, and all this kind of stuff that goes on. This is so absurd. The world sees this and I think because organizations like the UFC claim that, well, they really can’t do anything more, they have to follow what these commissions say…
“I think it should be very clear that with this type of ridiculous regulation, if you can even call it that, that this international federation that UFC [apparently is] the only promoter that I’m aware of is supporting (in Sweden) should not be recognized by any of the international bodies because while they may claim they’re going to follow the World Anti-Doping code they don’t, they haven’t, and even if they do their own testing it’s very likely they won’t, they claim they might do their own testing but the interview that was given of (Dana) White of the UFC by Lance Pugmire (Los Angeles Times) doesn’t say well where, in the United States, outside the United States. White says we’re going to do our own testing. Well, the fact is they really should not be doing their own testing. They should be working with the affiliates of the World Anti-Doping Agency to do the testing. When international federations in international sport have done their own testing in the past such as the 1990s when some of their star athletes tested positive, they tried to hush it up which is why the independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was set up and that has proven to be, though it’s not perfect, much more successful.
“This is also why the arrogant fools who are involved with the Nevada State Athletic Commission should really be called the Sin City Clown Commission. (They) do not want anything to do with the US Anti-Doping Agency, with following the World Anti-Doping code. They may sometimes pretend that they do but they don’t have anything to do with what is being doing around the world.
“This also takes place in the context, where as I pointed out on shows before, the rest of the world wants to actually tighten up the WADA code. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is now attempting to loosen their so-called anti-doping measures by giving such easy Therapeutic Use Exemptions. The recent IOC Athletes Forum wanted to tighten up the penalties and increase the penalties for dope use, for substance abuse, for all this kind of stuff. This has not been done but it might be done when the World Anti-Doping Agency reviews the code in 2013. Interestingly enough, there is a proposal to take marijuana off the banned substance list for the World Anti-Doping Agency and that cannot be done before 2013 but some people seem to think that it should be done.”
“I think we have to some compassion for the athletes. But I have no compassion for the drug enablers. I have no compassion for the Nevada State Athletic Commission that wants to use these athletes, bring in a lot of money for the casinos and the fight promoters, and after they start to decline they will be thrown to the curb and you won’t hear about them any more. This is the way it’s done in both, general anyways, in Mixed Martial Arts and boxing and this is why these commissions exist — to exploit the athletes, to just go through the motions of doing the most minimal testing which a lot of people may not understand the nuances and all these kinds of issues there, and to make money off of it for all those involved… and then when the fighters have to suffer the consequences of all this drug abuse, throw them to the curb, put in some young meat again, and make some more money.
“That is why the Nevada State Athletic Commission members (Skip Avansino, Francisco Aguilar, Bill Brady, T.J. Day, Pat Lundvall) should be fired, including the Executive Director (Keith Kizer) and all five members of that commission. And that is why there has to be international scrutiny of the lack of proper anti-doping measures in professional combat sports in North America, such as boxing and Mixed Martial Arts, and other professional sports as well.”