In a huge move, The Nevada State State Athletic Commission banned the usage of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in all forms of athletic competition in the state of Nevada. This doesn’t apply to other states that may have a therapeutic-use exemption, but in the fight capital of the world, fighters will no longer be allowed to use TRT for a fight in any way, shape or manner.
In light of this ban, the UFC announced that Vitor Belfort would no longer face middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 173, but has replaced him with former light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida.
UFC President Dana White had this to say about the ruling:
“The Ultimate Fighting Championship fully supports the decision made today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the immediate termination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). We believe our athletes should compete based on their natural abilities and on an even playing field. We also intend to honor this ruling in international markets where, due to a lack of governing bodies, the UFC oversees regulatory efforts for our live events. We encourage all athletic commissions to adopt this ruling.”
Meanwhile, Belfort said he will abide by the rules and gave his reasoning for dropping out of the fight.
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“Given the time constraints involved between now and my proposed next bout in May, I have determined not to apply for a license to fight in Nevada at this time.”
Another well-known TRT user, Chael Sonnen told Fox Sports, “The rules are the rules – that’s it. Yesterday, it was legal, so quit complaining. Today, it’s illegal. End of conversation.”
Did NSAC make the right decision or should they have leveled the playing field by making it legal for everyone.
Don’t get me wrong, I am 1000% against any form of performance enhancing drugs — but my question is — will some fighters be able to slip through the cracks and be able to mask their usage of TRT or some other form of steroids?
Since steroids were invented, athletes have been using them to get an edge in any way. First we saw the rampant use in football, then a few years back with “the cream” in baseball and now with the popularity of MMA — some athletes want an edge. Let’s see if banning PED’s are truly the answer.
The Pro-Steroids Argument
There are many people that believe steroids should be made legal for every sport to level out the playing field. Since many times steroids and PED’s go undetected, there are some fighters out there who have an edge. Said what unnamed Glory kickboxer, “Yea, I know people are using steroids and I can usually tell who is. Some of them fight with more anger. But it doesn’t matter to me, I’m more skilled and will beat them.”
But what about those fighters that do put them over their opponents because of the steroids? If steroids were legal and everyone was allowed to use them, then there would be no uneven playing field, as all fighters would have access and be able to use them freely. Gone would be the days of speculating and complaining and no questions would have to be asked if someone was “juicing…”
Simple, right? Of course there would be the side effects and toll on the body both known and unknown, but who cares, these guys make a lot of money and they are there for our entertainment so let them. Besides, there will be someone that finds a way to cheat.
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The Anti-Steroids Argument
Okay, let me just say, I fall under this category. I’m against any form of steroids, pills, drugs, whatever, that would give an athlete or fighter the edge or someone else, no questions asked.
Look, if you need extra testosterone, an extra boost, an extra anything— maybe you shouldn’t be competing anymore. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with someone hanging them up, or even doing something else for the integrity of the sport.
Athletes should be able to train hard and compete harder due to their athletic abilities. Not because something was pumped into their body to“help” them out. Great job by NSAC to create a standard. I just hope other commissions (and countries like Brazil) will follow and do the same.
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David Kano is lead writer for MMA Show News and co-host of The Hollywood MMA Show. You can follow him on Twitter @TheDKano.