By Zach Arnold | February 7, 2013
Zuffa, LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship®, released the following statement today regarding drug test results from UFC on FX 7 that took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on January 19, 2013.
All 22 fighters on the UFC on FX 7 card were drug tested at the event and all fighters passed their drug tests with the exception of Thiago Tavares. The results for Tavares showed the presence of Drostanolone, an anabolic steroid and banned substance. Tavares has been informed that he will receive a 9-month suspension retroactive to the date of the event and that he must pass a drug test upon completion of the suspension before receiving clearance to compete again.
To dispel rumors that have been circulated, Zuffa wishes to clarify that Vitor Belfort’s drug test results were negative and did not indicate the presence of any performance enhancing drugs.
Belfort has been on a medically approved testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) regimen under the supervision of a medical doctor from the State of Nevada, after being diagnosed with hypogonadism, or low testosterone. The purpose of a medically administered TRT regimen is to allow patients with hypogonadism to maintain testosterone levels within a range that is normal for an adult male.
UFC will suspend fighters for getting caught smoking marijuana but they won’t bust fighters who get hall passes for testosterone.
If you have been following the Anthony Bosch drug scandal in Major League Baseball, the media has largely focused on Bosch and his background while also naming supposed clients. In the case of the Belfort testosterone news, all of the heat has been on Belfort and little of it elsewhere.
The focus should be on the enablers moreso than the fighters at this point. It takes many parties to tango on this front.
Question 1. Who is the doctor?
UFC won’t give names. Is it Tim Trainor, Keith Kizer’s friendly doctor for the Nevada State Athletic Commission (who isn’t an endocrinologist)? Is it Dr. Jeff Davidson, the emergency room doctor that UFC leans on heavily for overseas events? If not either one of those doctors, then who is it? And why hasn’t the name been released?
Question 2. Did Belfort pay for the doctor to give the hall pass or has the doctor being paid/reimbursed for services by the UFC?
Remember when Rampage Jackson claimed that his doctor billed the UFC last year? He would later claim that a “Russian doctor” who hooked him up with testosterone was paid with money out of his own pocket…
Question 3. Will UFC get away with this behavior because fans are giving up on drug usage in all sports?
I ask this question because of two items I’ve seen within the last 24 hours. First, this item by Greg Savage about not all hall passes being equal is a great read. He’s exactly on target, too.
The scary part is that there are elements of the national American sports media that are starting to consider backing the UFC’s position of having mark doctors handle athletes who are using testosterone. Case in point: Mike Greenberg of ESPN says that the battle to combat doping in sports is a futile effort and that we should consider letting doctors do a legalized form of doping. Mike Golic disagreed with this position, saying the point of athletes using drugs is to always get an advantage over other athletes — which means that even if there was legalized doping, the cheaters would simply use a higher volume of drugs and experiment with new drugs not currently being administered by doctors.
Question 4. How should UFC view Michael Bisping’s losses to fighters when he keeps fighting guys who are getting hall passes for testosterone?
When it’s time to negotiate a new deal, I’m sure they’ll be benevolent and discount the doping by his opponents… right? Right?
Question 5. Will media writers emphasize the importance of attacking doping in combat sports because the risks of physical damage being inflicted by cheaters are much more serious than hitting home runs or having more endurance to ride a bicycle?
This always seems to get lost in the shuffle. It just happens to be the most important point to focus on when it comes to doping in combat sports.