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Doctors have had enough of testosterone (anabolic steroids) in combat sports

By Zach Arnold | January 26, 2014

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When Sig Rogich & Lorenzo Fertitta are the political mover-and-shakers in Nevada politics, you do what they tell you to do if you want to maintain your status as a player. Unless, of course, your name is Tim Poster and not even Lorenzo can save your hide with the gaming regulators.

When we posted the job application for the Executive Director slot at the Nevada State Athletic Commission, one thing was very clear: the litmus test for who gets the job will be heavily dependent on their stance on the issue of giving out permission slips to fighters for the usage of testosterone (anabolic steroids). And that litmus test begins with Vitor Belfort.

Whatever the UFC wants, the UFC is going to get.

Erik Magraken: Illegal PED’s And Science Based Suspensions In MMA

Whether it’s Andy Foster (California State Athletic Commission), Mike Mazzulli (Mohegan Sun), Jeff Mullen (Tennessee), George Dodd (former CSAC boss), or whomever the Nevada fixers deem fit to take over the Executive Director slot… one thing is very clear. Whoever gets the job will have to be compliant on the testosterone issue. The genie is out of the bottle and the UFC has been the most influential force regarding their support of fighters who have used testosterone.

On Monday, the Association of Ringside Physicians in boxing & MMA will announce their official position against the proliferation of testosterone permission slips in combat sports.

The incidence of hypogonadism requiring the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in professional athletes is extraordinarily rare. Accordingly, the use of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified. Steroid use of any type, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risk to combat sports athletes and their opponents. TRT in a combat sports athlete may also create an unfair advantage contradictory to the integrity of sport. Consequently, the Association of Ringside Physicians supports the general elimination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy.

What makes this announcement so interesting is who is on this committee. Dr. Eddie Ayoub & Dr. Paul Wallace, CSAC’s top two doctors, are associated with this anti-testosterone statement. California’s stance on testosterone has been soft since Chael Sonnen started his shenanigans years ago on the matter. Dr. VanBuren Ross Lemons attempted to push through a testosterone policy in April of 2012 but was stopped by Consumer Affairs after they rejected the overture. Part of that process included a statement from yours truly on the matter. Lemons has been pissed since that rejection and now has been trying to ram through a new testosterone policy which means the doors will once again be open in the future for fighters to use testosterone in California.

Fox Sports doesn’t like talking about their steroid marriage with UFC but sooner or later they’re going to have to address the matter at hand. They didn’t want to when Mark McGwire & Sammy Sosa were hitting homeruns because they had a financial interest at stake. They didn’t exactly come out with a pro-GSP spin on his drug testing comments about the UFC. However, Vitor Belfort is one win away from a UFC title and the testosterone elephant will no longer be avoidable for Fox Sports. They own this issue now along with the UFC. This is their mess & their legacy.

Update (1/27 at 8:30 PM EST): The shell game continues for Zuffa, as Dana White backtracks a bit on the testosterone issue. Take note that there’s no mention about the shows UFC self-regulates and allows testosterone usage on.

Topics: CSAC, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 14 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

14 Responses to “Doctors have had enough of testosterone (anabolic steroids) in combat sports”

  1. Chris says:

    Did Dana White forget that Vitor is Steroid cheat, that skipped out on serving his suspension? Of course he didn’t.

    • Steve4192 says:

      That was seven years ago. At some point, you have to let that shit go. I don’t like Vitor using TRT anymore than the next guy, but bringing up stuff that happened back in 2006 doesn’t seem particularly relevant.

      Also, Vitor did serve his suspension. He was suspended in Nevada and didn’t fight in the United States for nearly two years after being suspended. It’s not his fault the athletic commission suspensions don’t apply overseas.

      Lastly, it’s not Dana who is going to be making the decision regarding Vitor’s TRT use. It’s up to the commission. Hopefully, they’ll do the right thing and deny him the exemption. I have my doubts that they will, but I haven’t given up hope.

      • edub says:

        A steroid test failure, no matter when it happened, should always be looked at as relevant to a person trying to get a TUE for TRT.

        • Steve4192 says:

          I agree he has no business getting a TUE, but Dana isn’t the one who makes that decision. All he did was sign off on Vitor being booked to fight Weidman. I don’t see the problem with that.

          I’m all aboard the ‘ban TRT’ wagon, but until that happens, what Vitor is doing is within the rules.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          A UFC employee made the decision for when he fought in Brazil. It was either White or Ratner probaby.

        • Steve4192 says:

          I’m all for banning TRT, but as long as the athletic commissions allow it, so will Zuffa when they are outside of the United States. When/if the SACs ban it, Zuffa will stop allowing it for their international shows too.

          Zuffa’s primary concern is passing the buck so that the issue doesn’t land in their laps. They won’t take a stand during their self-regulated shows because that would mean taking a position on the issue. They don’t want to take a position. They want to parrot whatever position the athletic commissions take.

  2. Steve4192 says:

    It seems to me that Zuffa’s stance on TRT is to pass the buck, not to actively support it. They don’t want to get involved in the PR nightmare that is steroids, so they gladly throw out the “we’re tested by the government” misdirection anytime it is brought up. If the commission changes the rules, I’m sure they’ll deal with it, but until then they won’t touch the issue with a ten foot pole.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    The ringside physicians calling for TRT to go away is getting some traction. MMA Junkie and The Underground are both reporting the news.

    This is a very good thing.

    2014 needs to be the year that TRT goes away in the sport.

    • Steve4192 says:

      Agreed.

      While PED use in sports is a reality that isn’t going to go away, it is ludicrous that athletic commissions sanction it and give guys the green light to juice without repercussions.

  4. Gwesd says:

    The only way to ensure that steroids are not be used is by random testing when not competing. Most commission within their rules/regulations have the ability to test any athlete while licensed by that state, no matter where the athlete lives. The problems becomes the cost to conduct random testing. Most athletes know that they may be tested, so they use steroids in cycles to ensure they will not get caught. The other way is conduct blood test of the athletes, but going back to the question of cost.
    That cost would be paid by the athlete. Again in most rules/regulations any medical test the commission request require the athlete to pay, if it part of medical requirement.

    • Steve4192 says:

      There is no way to ensure that steroids are not being used. No amount of testing will catch everything, even if you blood test them daily. You can minimize it to a certain degree, but the testing will always lag behind the latest designer drugs. It becomes a question of balancing determining how much time/effort/money you want to put into an unwinnable ‘war on drugs’.

      As far as the athletes paying the costs, that seems a bit draconian. Sure, guys like GSP and Jones can afford it, but what about guys like Mike Rhodes and George Sullivan who are making $8K/$8K? Is it really fair to ask them to bear that kind of financial burden?

      • 45 Huddle says:

        The other leagues pay their athletes over $250,000 a year. in the UFC were a young fighter might make $30k, the UFC needs to pick up the tab without question. The pay difference isn’t entirely the UFC’s fault. These athletes picked a sport in which they will compete 3 times a year instead of 80+ times a year.

        And the UFC needs to start BLOOD testing. And testing for HGH. And random testing 4 times a year.

        You are right that it won’t completely get rid of it…. But if they do those basic things, it will greatly cut down on it.

  5. [...] legitimate doctors working for various athletic commissions made a public statement against testosterone usage in combat sports, it was a cry for help. These doctors are serious [...]

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