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On testosterone usage, UFC discovers you can’t put the shit back in the horse

By Zach Arnold | March 14, 2013

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This item from Greg Savage on Twitter this afternoon:

Dana (White) says his goal is to eliminate TRT exemptions from UFC and state athletic commissions.

This incredibly rich statement comes from an organization building their FX reality show around Chael Sonnen, the modern day poster boy for testosterone usage in the business. His situation got the ball rolling for a whole lot of muscular fighters to proclaim hypogonadism and the need for using testosterone.

The usage of TRT is simply a way to dress up what is anabolic steroid usage. What is testosterone? The base chemical of all anabolic steroids.

The estimable Josh Nason has an excellent summary of Dana White’s press conference today, where Ariel Helwani & Kevin Iole mounted the pressure on Dana to justify the testosterone usage in MMA. I admire their more aggressive stance, even if I think the wrong questions are being asked.

The most damning question that must be broached but hasn’t been done so yet: Before UFC allowed testosterone usage on overseas shows and backed testosterone-using fighters like Chael Sonnen on U.S. events, name me a boxing or MMA promoter who aggressively promoted and pushed fighters who asked for testosterone passes due to hypogonadism. Compare the issue of commission-granted testosterone usage five years ago to where it is today. The answer: you can’t find a promoter outside the UFC that gave the testosterone plague the momentum it has today.

We now have a situation where UFC-friendly athletic commissions are giving out exemptions to fighters for testosterone using while also busting fighters for elevated levels of testosterone. That’s where we stand right now for drug testing in combat sports. Ask boxer Mickey Bey all about this. Next Wednesday, he’ll find out his suspension from Keith Kizer. You know, the same guy who has helped create the testosterone plague in combat sports right now. Nice of him to hold a steroid panel meeting next Thursday at 9 AM.

Back to Dana:

His goal is simple: to have all athletic commissions eliminate TRT exemptions for fighters. But it was when he was pressed by Ariel Helwani about why he stopped at TRT that things got a bit out of hand.

Helwani’s point was that there are assumptions that fighters are taking other drugs, so why not be aggressive in additionally testing for those? White hit back, asking Helwani about what fighters he was referring to, demanding him to say names. Helwani said he wasn’t going to do that and a clearly aggravated White kept on the attack.

“You give me a list of guys and I’ll test them myself,” White said.

The notion of fully trusting a promoter to handle drug testing issues is silly enough. Even sillier is the fact that UFC continues to book events, especially in California (where there are no rules or regulations on the books for fighters using testosterone), where top fights feature testosterone users. Frank Mir’s fighting in a high-profile bout on the UFC San Jose event on April 20th.

It is UFC that is squarely caught in the testosterone plague. They are the ones using Dr. Jeff Davidson for overseeing fighters using testosterone on events they self-regulate overseas. It is Dr. Davidson who communicates with state athletic commissions. It is Dr. Tim Trainor, Keith Kizer’s doctor in Nevada, who also finds himself stuck in this mess. It is Dr. Paul Wallace, the lead doctor for the California State Athletic Commission, who finds himself in the unenviable situation of having to figure out what to do with the testosterone-using fighters that UFC books on California shows. Completely and totally unfair to Dr. Wallace.

UFC is the promoter that opened the floodgates on the testosterone issue in combat sports and continues to book fighters who are getting the permission slips. Before UFC got their hands involved in the testosterone mess, we didn’t see athletic commissions handing out the amount of exemptions that they are handing out now.

So, why is Dana White (as Lorenzo Fertitta’s front man) puffing up his chest and talking tough about testosterone usage in MMA? Because of the reasons I’ve written about for a couple of years now regarding the plague on the sport. Remember when I predicted that the testosterone issue would absolutely suck up the oxygen in the room when it comes to the credibility o the sport? We’re seeing this in play now. UFC’s image when it comes to drug testing is about as credible as the horse racing industry. Suspend and fire marijuana users but continue giving permission notes to testosterone-using fighters.

My hypothesis as to what the two biggest reasons for UFC trying to salvage any sort of credibilty in the public has to do with the following: a) liability concerns and b) network suits at Fox who are nervous about the matter.

The liability issue is real and the lawyers cannot be happy with so many top UFC fighters using testosterone, especially given how the sport is legally considered ultrahazardous and an accident can happen at any time. If you are a Fox network suit and the prospects of an accident happening on a UFC telecast involving a testosterone-using fighter are legitimate, you want to try to get out on front of that issue as fast as you can.

However, it’s too late. You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Top boxing and MMA promoters behind the scenes are furious about what has happened with the testosterone issue — and they have every right to be upset. The anger is justified.

And to add the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae, Nick Diaz tells Toronto radio station Georges St. Pierre is ‘on plenty of steroids’:

“I believe that he’s on plenty of steroids and I don’t believe they’ve tested him as well,” Diaz said. “I don’t care what they’re saying or marketing to the media. I don’t think either of us are going to be tested. … I doubt they’re standing over him, making sure he’s not on steroids.”

Asked by the hosts if he really meant what he just said, Diaz followed “Sure, why not? Lance Armstrong is on steroids, and it was really a ridiculous thing that he was on steroids, as far as he was concerned.”

The top guy on the Montreal card thinks UFC’s drug testing policies are a joke. He’s the poster boy of a fighter getting in trouble for marijuana but not for (approved) steroid usage.

Topics: CSAC, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 5 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

5 Responses to “On testosterone usage, UFC discovers you can’t put the shit back in the horse”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) UFC can easily say no TrT for the international events they sanction.

    2) UFC can still test for TRT in states that allow it.

    Right now is the lip service from Zuffa. I have no doubt that TRT will be eliminated within 3 years from the UFC. Lets just get there already.

  2. Jason Harris says:

    “The top guy on the Montreal card thinks UFC’s drug testing policies are a joke.”

    He’s also failed 2 drug tests, and skipped 1 causing a fight cancellation.

    You really want to use Nick Diaz as the authority for the quality of drug testing?

    • david m says:

      I think someone who was suspended for marijuana use while everyone else roids does have a bit of authority on drug testing, yes. I’m sure he knows fighters who use and can’t fathom why he is getting suspended while they are allowed to fight because they have low T.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        “suspended for marijuana”…. TWO TIMES…. And admitted during the press conference that he is still smoking.

        The guy just has not learned.

        And if he “can’t fathom” why he is getting suspended multiple times for the time issue… Then he has mental problems.

  3. RST says:

    I dont know boss

    You’re to smart to fling around the potty words IMO


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