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« | Home | »

Until further notice, no more testosterone usage allowed in California

By Zach Arnold | June 11, 2013

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An excruciatingly long 8-hour meeting in Los Angeles on Monday for the California State Athletic Commission didn’t produce many headlines. However, one critical development did arise from the session that will not make the UFC happy.

On the meeting’s agenda, there was this item: “Subcommittee on Therapeutic Use Exemption — Discussion and possible action regarding draft policy.”

Rule 303 (modified text here), which was pushed to try to open up the Therapeutic Use Exemption process for testosterone use, was challenged at Monday’s hearing by none other than Department of Consumer Affairs lawyer Michael Santiago. Santiago happens to be the only lawyer worth anything in DCA’s legal office, for what it’s worth. Karen Chappelle, the ethically-challenged attorney from the Attorney General’s office in Los Angeles who loves to interfere in combat sports regulation, backed the current behavior regarding allowing fighters to use testosterone despite not having any text passed by the state legislature. Santiago, who rightfully has a professional dislike & disregard for Chappelle’s opinion, said that until there is a statute/regulation on the books regarding testosterone that the commission should not be using an ‘underground’ policy of approving T usage. He argued that testosterone is considered a banned substance.

The end result is that fighters like Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and Frank Mir will not be allowed to use testosterone while fighting in California until a law is on the books that explicitly spells out approval for T usage. Chappelle was not a happy camper about this and the UFC will be furious about this development given how many guys they have fighting in California who love testosterone. Vitor Belfort’s sympathy plea for continued testosterone usage means he won’t be fighting in California any time soon.

I applaud Michael Santiago for putting a stop to this. The underground T policy basically put doctors like Paul Wallace in an unenviable position of having to administer & oversee testosterone usage. Santiago’s stance also will piss off UFC doctor Jeff Davidson. To that I say the following: good. Santiago’s position will now put UFC in an interesting dilemma — will they huff and bluff by backing away from running shows in California or will they accept the new reality on the ground? If UFC backs away from California, it will cost the commission’s budget big time. UFC wants to talk tough about testosterone usage now, so let’s see if they will back up their public talk by walking the walk with future California events.

In other news, an update about a story we wrote last week regarding California’s position on kids pankration contests. The commission on Monday formed a subcommittee for further discussion on the matter and Sacramento has sent a cease & desist order to the USFL. My guess is that they will now run shows on tribal land or will focus entirely on Arizona.

For anyone wondering whether or not a half-point scoring system will gain traction in MMA, the answer is no. Momentum is dead. You will not see the half-point system in California survive, you won’t see the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) pushing it any more, and any sanctioning bodies currently using it are allegedly ready to dump it for good. Nelson Hamilton will not be happy about this news. One regulator on background, paraphrased, framed their opposition in this manner:

“We have enough bad MMA judges. If bad judges can’t handle a 10-9 system, how the hell are they going to handle a half-point criteria? The half-point system makes bad MMA judges even worse.”

Last week, we noted on Twitter that Bellator was going to moving to Friday nights. A month ago, we noted that the two options left for Bellator were Tuesday or Friday nights after Spike inexplicably decided to give TNA preference over MMA. Beyond comprehension. It’s also beyond comprehension that Spike chose Friday nights, a dead zone, over Tuesdays. California needs Bellator to be successful because the Bellator events in the state have been great. What will the impact of the move to Fridays mean?

Topics: Bellator, CSAC, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 32 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

32 Responses to “Until further notice, no more testosterone usage allowed in California”

  1. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    “If bad judges can’t handle a 10-9 system, how the hell are they going to handle a half-point criteria?”

    Truly its the scoring system itself which is too vague lending itself to stingily scored 10/9 rounds. What needs to be scored are catches and flash ko’s or near finishing Gnp 1 point @. Stop scoring leg kicks and take downs and score only attacking grappling or striking in combos.

    • Steve4192 says:

      LOL

      Why am I not surprised a Diaz fan wants judges to ignore leg kicks, takedowns, and the majority of ground-and-pound? Perhaps they should start scoring taunting, giving out a point for every time a fighter calls his opponent a bitch? That should ensure your boy never loses another decision.

      • Diaz's cashed bowl says:

        Heh, typical idiot mma fan response. You offer absolutely no helpful input regarding the “issue” just some stupid self serving insults.

  2. Megatherium says:

    OC Register content is no longer available to non-subscribers, eh Zach.

    Ed. — OK, time to yank them off the page.

  3. Steve4192 says:

    “that will not make the UFC happy”

    I doubt that.

    Dana has said he wants to end the use of TRT. I think they will be pleased when the day comes that it is banned. They know TRT is a potential hornet’s nest and would probably be happy to see someone else handle it without getting their own hands dirty. They don’t want to have to admit there is a problem. That is why they have consistently passed the buck to the commissions.

    “will they huff and bluff by backing away from running shows in California or will they accept the new reality on the ground?”

    I think they’ll do more than accept the new reality on the ground in California. I think now that there is a regulatory precedent, they will adopt the TRT ban for their self-regulated shows. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they quietly, behind-the-scenes urged NSAC to fall in line.

    “It’s also beyond comprehension that Spike chose Friday nights, a dead zone, over Tuesdays”

    The reasoning behind Friday nights was that Tuesdays belonged to Spike’s original programming. I guess that means that Bellator ranks fourth on Spike’s priority list, behind TNA, Bar Rescue and 1000 Ways to Die.

    • Jason says:

      Exactly. Maybe Zach will be happier if all the fighters are pot heads.

      • Diaz's cashed bowl says:

        Exactly. what?
        and how does “exactly” seg into the idiotic all or nothing statement regarding all fighters being potheads leading to happiness someone else’s happiness?
        I mean I know the fighters would be a lot happier if they were all on pot, but why would that make Zach happy? Is he a dealer to the fighters?
        Or are you just one of those rampantly ignorant anti pot people?

        • Chuck says:

          I don’t think you get what Jason means. I disagree with Jason’s little quip, but what he meant was that Zach has mentioned about Nevada’s hardline stance against weed use, but it’s soft stance on TRT. And Zach obviously disagrees with Nevada’s stance on both. So he equates Zach with being pro-pot (which, I believe, he is not).

          And isn’t it a little ignorant of you to call someone who is anti-pot “ignorant”??

        • Jason says:

          Ignorant…actually I know exactly what pot can and can’t do and I am actually highly educated. So that fact you equate my stance on pot to being ignorant just proves you are the uneducated one; however, given your screen name that’s obviously. I just don’t like stupid people, and I have yet to meet a person who smokes pot who was intelligent. Isn’t kind of funny that every TV show you see that revolves around the subject of marijuana, all of the people on the show or at the conference are about as intelligent as a third grader. Don’t give me the crap stance that pot is a victimless drug either, because it’s not. BTW Chuck is correct in his interpretation of my answer.

        • Muscle Hamster says:

          Don’t paint everyone with such a broad brush Jason.

          Just because you haven’t met someone intelligent who smokes weed, it doesn’t mean those you’ve met aren’t intelligent. Nor does it mean that there aren’t intelligent people that you haven’t yet met. Perhaps some of the intelligent people you’ve met do, but don’t publicize their use for different reasons.

          As for not being a victimless drug, alcohol is far from it, and I’m sure if it went back to being prohibited, there’d be just as many problems as there are with something like mj.

        • Megatherium says:

          Jason is a turkey and a square.

        • klown says:

          Jason, you have yet to meet a person who smokes pot who was intelligent? And your evidence is TV shows? You don’t have a lot of friends, do you?

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Dana has said he wants to end the use of TRT. I think they will be pleased when the day comes that it is banned.

      Don’t agree at all. It was the weak-kneed, compliant athletic commissions who bent to the UFC by allowing the testosterone garbage in order to get shows. Davidson’s role in the T fiasco should not be underplayed here. And I would reckon to guess that he was not always acting on his own accord, but that is my opinion.

      They know TRT is a potential hornet’s nest and would probably be happy to see someone else handle it without getting their own hands dirty.

      Their hands are already dirty in the T mess. They were the ones who opened Pandora’s box on it. No other fight promoter was pushing fighters in main events who were begging for T hall passes on the scale UFC has. No one in boxing or MMA.

      You’re right — they knew testosterone was a hornet’s nest and they didn’t care about the negative ramifications. They still don’t. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be booking guys in such high profile positions. Sonnen worked against Jones in Jersey and Henderson is fighting in Winnipeg on top, notwithstanding the injury bug that has hit that show. Belfort just fought a main event on a Brazil show.

      But I am glad people are coming around to what I’ve said all along, which is that the testosterone plague in MMA is a bad thing and that it will eventually backfire on UFC.

      I think they’ll do more than accept the new reality on the ground in California. I think now that there is a regulatory precedent, they will adopt the TRT ban for their self-regulated shows. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they quietly, behind-the-scenes urged NSAC to fall in line.

      What Santiago did is basically, in legal terms, said what I’ve said all along which is that there was no law on the books to allow the testosterone flowing to fighters in the first place. So, him smacking down the AG’s office and basically saying going to hell on it is good. But I’m not sure it will be viewed as a ‘precedent’ by Nevada or anyone. Nevada has four UFC shows a year and Kizer (with doctor Tim Trainor) will not turn down the testosterone requests. They want the cash and the shows.

      There was no legal basis, according to Santiago (and me), for California to have been allowing UFC fighters to use testosterone while there was no law on the books. He basically told the commission to stop doing an illegal activity.

      • Henry says:

        Zach – Dana White is not a fan of TRT. Listen to any recent presser and you’ll hear his disdain for it. He’s aware fighters are abusing it.

        The blame for the TRT fiasco lies with the ACs. They set the rules.

        The UFC doesn’t think Marijuana is a performance enhancing drug. but they enforce it because it is on the banned list. They follow the rules set be the ACs whether they agree or disagree.

        Hence why the UFC began to test fighters on TRT leading up to fights; to make sure they stayed within the acceptable level.

        If the UFC was to not book fighters on TRT, then they’d likely invite up to lawsuits since the ACs made TRT ‘legal’ for fighters.

        • Jeff Montelongo says:

          The UFC has as much to blame for the TRT fiasco as much as the state commissions. I feel Dana is now realizing long-term it’s best if it was banned indefinitely, but he chooses to please & cater the top fighters who’re on TRT to keep them happy and “healthy” to keep them booked. The AC’s do set the rules in own jurisdiction, but the UFC allow TRT also for self-commissioned international shows, so they both contribute to this madness. The biggest fish the UFC is choosing to fry right now is trying to get into New York so they’re proactive approach on TRT & marijuana usage are off the hot plates for the time being. Their temporary mandate right now is to please the state commissions by adhering to their rules & requests and please the fighters by allowing TRT on self-commissioned shows but not allowing pot usage b/c that’s just too much a can of worms & headache right now.

        • edub says:

          Henry- You sure do take the UFC at their word a lot. You actually believe that fighters on TRT are getting tested routinely leading up to a fight?

  4. [...] reported by FightOpinion.com, Santiago “said that until there is a statute/regulation on the books regarding testosterone that [...]

  5. Churro D says:

    This is a simple point in all of this that is missed.

    TRT is done as a medical treatment, and is between an MD and the patient. It is NOT the CSAC’s place NOR any other organization to allow or disallow medical treatment that is permitted under California and Federal Law.

    This is a HIPAA violation and someone needs to sue the CSAC.

    Would they disallow women using birth control? A hormone based treatment. Why isn’t this even discussed? Because the political cost would be too great.

    • Chuck says:

      Please! It is common knowledge the reason some fighters use TRT is because of past steroid abuse destroying their endocrine system. Or, like what Chael Sonnen did, fail a drug test and claim it was TRT. It is a steroid scape-goat. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it should be allowed for combat sports. Pain killers are legal via prescription, but they are usually disallowed before a fight. Hell, Ibuprofen is usually disallowed on-site at fight events. Hell, some state athletic commissions disallow Gatorade and energy drinks on site! If all that stuff is illegal for combat sports, then why should TRT (which is quite a bit worse than all of that, besides maybe pain killers) be allowed? And the IOC disallows many other legal substances (like beta-blockers. I think most state athletic commissions allow those. If anyone has better info on this, feel free to chime in). So where is the HIPAA violation?

      You know what else would be considered a HIPAA violation? Giving out public knowledge of those with HIV/AIDS and any other STDs and venereal diseases (like syphilis, Hep C, etc.) Should anyone with any of that be allowed to fight? You better not say “Well, obviously they shouldn’t, that is different! Don’t be a moron!!”. I can almost hear it about to leave your lips! It is so the same thing here. I know you didn’t say that (yet, if you were) so I just wanted to beat you to it. Yeah, yeah, I know what assuming does.

    • Jeff Montelongo says:

      @Churro D: Being a professional MMA fighter or boxer isn’t a common “right” under state or Federal law, so it wouldn’t be protected under common Right to Work laws. If you worked at Home Depot, yes, it’s would be illegal for them to ask anything private health or medical information that would violate HIPAA laws such as asking whether you’re under going TRT. This is just a layman’s explanation providing as I do not know what’s the legal type of occupation or exact name (independent contractor maybe?) of being an athlete would fall under in California. Again, not too familiar what the legal language would be.

    • Diaz's cashed bowl says:

      By that rational, marijuana which is also a medical treatment permitted under Ca and other state laws, should be exempt from regulation by the csac.

      • Jeff Montelongo says:

        But pot is still illegal under Federal law, prescription or not, so you can make a strong case for not exempting it from CSAC regulation, it’s still considered an illicit drug even though I personally myself feel even recreation use should be legal and/or decriminalized on both state & Federal level. Deca durabolin can be used for legitimate medical treatment, but it’s still banned regardless, and should be.

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/118-daily-updates/31742-wed-update-flair-to-nxt-bbc-feature-on-ufc-fighter-eric-young-on-today-show-aaa-star-in-auto-accident-bellator-on-friday-wwes-best-performer-dragon-gate-usa-lawler-talks-superman-and-how-it-made-his-career

    –The California State Athletic Commission at its meeting on Monday has put approval of fighters asking for therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone on hold. Basically, if you’ve gotten an exemption previously, you can still be approved but nobody new is being approved until new bylaws that completely detail the process are written and agreed to.

    The legal interpretation by Santiago is that testosterone is a banned substance and until there’s a law on the books officially about this, then fighters shouldn’t be granted T use until there’s a law in place.

    So, the idea of trying to weasel around this by ‘grandfathering’ in fighters using testosterone while banning new ones doesn’t fly with Santiago’s legal argument. He’s saying no one should be using testosterone for fights until there’s a law on the books. He’s exactly right.

    Now, Santiago is a lonely legal voice on this — but his position is 100% right and he happens to be an ‘ethics officer’ in Sacramento. There are many hack lawyers in Sacramento and Los Angeles who are pissed about Santiago’s opinion and I am 100% sure they will apply pressure to either make him wilt or to force him out, but his legal opinion is very clear and would hold up in court if he was challenged.

    Andy Foster is not a lawyer. Michael Santiago is (and so far has proven to be a relatively reliable one as opposed to his political counterparts in DCA legal).

  7. [...] CSAC reportedly bans TUEs. The California State Athletic Commission reportedly banned its ability to offer Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) to prize fighters competing within the state, according to a report from Zach Arnold of FightOpinion. [...]

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    For anybody wondering why Zuffa let go of Jon Fitch while he was making 6 figures per win…

    Look at how there is basically no hype for the fight tonight.

  9. [...] CSAC reportedly bans TUEs. The California State Athletic Commission reportedly banned its ability to offer Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) to prize fighters competing within the state, according to a report from Zach Arnold of FightOpinion. [...]

  10. [...] and which fighters they choose to book in California. As always, for everything on the CSAC, Zach Arnold’s Fight Opinion is a [...]

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