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MLB, not UFC is on the Feds’ testosterone radar

By Zach Arnold | August 20, 2012

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Jeff Novitzky, the FDA/IRS agent who has gone after some of the biggest names in professional sports (like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Lance Armstrong) is now reportedly going after San Francisco Giants LF Melky Cabrera for his usage of testosterone. The reason the Feds are allegedly interested is because of Cabrera’s camp supposedly plotting a defense of the testosterone usage by creating a web site to promote a fictional drug.

As John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle puts it, the plot is thickening. And I think it’s all nonsense from the Feds.

Do not mistake my anti-testosterone drug usage stance as support for what the Feds have done in their various doping investigations against Major League Baseball players. Of all the sports to throw a hissy fit about in regards to testosterone usage, baseball is quite possibly the worst sport to choose if you want to make a name for yourself and to promote an anti-doping agenda. Why? Baseball, in the minds of many sports fans, is not considered a physical sport. You aren’t physically punishing another person on each pitch or each hit. You’re hitting a baseball. As Melky Cabrera showed, testosterone does work as a PED in terms of juicing the stats. However, he never physically attacked anyone or caused any sort of bodily harm while using testosterone.

Which is why I think the Feds, in their pursuit of wasting millions of US taxpayer dollars, has handled the testosterone crisis in professional sports entirely wrong. Instead of guys like Jeff Novitzky looking for their 15 minutes of fame by trying to knock off some baseball player, how about actually investigating a sport that is now saturated with testosterone usage amongst competitors who inflict bodily harm upon each other in every competitive match? If you want to make a productive statement about testosterone usage in sports, the Feds should be going after Mixed Martial Arts and professional boxing. As we outlined in our crash course guide on testosterone usage in combat sports, there is a very real impact for fighters who use testosterone and the increased amount of strength they inflict upon their opponents and an increase in the amount of concussive head trauma they also receive in return. It’s nasty. Testosterone doesn’t necessarily help your win/loss record in MMA but it certainly impacts your ability to inflict physical damage on an opponent.

So, why aren’t the Feds grilling individuals like Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer (the man who gives out hall passes for T usage) or UFC doctor Jeff Davidson (who oversees Therapeutic Use Exemptions on UFC overseas events) about the usage of testosterone in combat sports? Why aren’t the Feds more aggressive in going after the mark doctors, like chiropractors and age management gurus, that proliferate the combat sports landscape and write up all sorts of prescriptions for testosterone & growth hormone for fighters?

Because the Feds don’t see any name value in making an example out of someone in Mixed Martial Arts. However, they still think there’s value in going after a baseball player. Their priorities are backwards and their waste of taxpayer money is egregious.

When a baseball player uses testosterone, they can hit more home runs and have better hand-eye coordination at the plate. When a boxer or MMA fighter uses testosterone, they can absorb more concussive blows to the head and can deliver concussive blows to their opponent. If the Feds want to act all high and mighty about making a morality play on their anti-doping efforts, focus on sports where drug usage can result in long-term brain damage or death before worrying about journeyman baseball players who are trying to jack up their numbers during a contract year.

The same goes for media outlets like ESPN and NBC Sports. ESPN focused hard on Ryan Braun’s testosterone drug testing case while accepting money from Big Pharma to air ads for Ageless Male, a supplement that used to claim that they boosted testosterone levels by up to 61% before having to put a stop to making that assertion in future advertisement. In the case of NBC Sports, they aired ads for Androgel 1.62% during Olympic tennis matches on their family of networks. Yes, they aired ads to promote an Olympic-banned substance during tennis matches involving Venus & Serena Williams.

The Feds and the media would be well served to reassess their motives and get their priorities straightened out before going on another useless witch hunt for a baseball player using testosterone. If you want to focus on anti-doping efforts, focus on attacking doping in sports where the most physical harm is created from doping. The Feds going after Melky Cabrera for testosterone usage is another swing-and-a-miss for Jeff Novitzky & Uncle Sam. Enough already.

Question to the general sports media: how is Melky Cabrera creating a web site to push a fake drug product any dumber than grown muscular MMA fighters & boxers proclaiming hypogonadism publicly in order to justify their testosterone usage?

Topics: Boxing, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 9 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

9 Responses to “MLB, not UFC is on the Feds’ testosterone radar”

  1. Jason says:

    Why aren’t you making a case to go after the NFL? Football is incredibly violent and detrimental to a players health. It isn’t a coincidence that players that are 6’5″ and 275lbs can run a 4.6-4.7 40 yard dash. You want to talk about concussive head trama, there is no better sport to show the damage that repeating head trama can cause by players who are getting bigger and bigger.

    • Tomer says:

      Hell, there’s even a famous quote from the 1920s or 1930s with Boxing legend Mickey Walker being asked if he’d ever play Football and he (essentially) said “Are you serious? I value my life, thank-you-very-much.”

  2. Alan Conceicao says:

    Baseball has several teams worth about what the UFC is valued at. It is the national pastime. It is protected from various federal laws by acts of congress. Localities spend hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars for stadiums for major league teams to play in. Why should anyone be surprised that there is a higher level of interest from the feds in baseball than a second tier fringe sport like the UFC?

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    Melky Cabrera getting busted for steroids actually hurts a major argument I often hear from fans across multiple sports about steroid users.

    I have seen many people say that taking steriods just helps a guy hit the ball farther. That it doesn’t add any sort of skill. Same argument has been made for fighters. That it doesn’t make them into a world class wrestler or striker. It just makes them stronger.

    Cabrera’s batting average for this season was .062 above his career average. It added some power to his game, but really the roids just made him a better hitter. Roids made his skill level increase greatly.

    Something to think about within the steroid debate….

  4. Tomer says:

    “Question to the general sports media: how is Melky Cabrera creating a web site to push a fake drug product any dumber than grown muscular MMA fighters & boxers proclaiming hypogonadism publicly in order to justify their testosterone usage?”

    Said web site, if it can be proven that he had knowledge of its existance and purpose, would suggest that scienter (intent of wrongdoing) is present, which could lead to pretty serious fraud (and if he signed documents with perjury clauses in them, perjury as well) charges. On the other hand, the hypogonadism claims could be fraudulent, true or ignorant (that is, scienter is not readily apparent and there is nothing that can be done unless a fighter that lies under oath admits that s/he lied within the period of the statue of limiations). It’s apples and oranges.

  5. Chris says:

    The FEDs going so hard after Cabrera is a joke. But brace yourself. Because when a fighter under Zuffa contract is seriously injured at the hands of an opponent that’s doping (Steroids, TRT etc). They will come a calling.

    • Jason Harris says:

      When has a fighter under Zuffa contract ever been seriously injured, period?

      What indication is there that TRT or steroids makes injury more likely? Who is more likely to be injured, the doping fighter or their opponent? Why?

  6. Jonathan says:

    How come you did not cover the Strikeforce event? I would have liked to have seen some discussion on Rousey and her streak and the main event as a whole.


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