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Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has revealed all the UFC 146 drug tests came back negative. Sherdog is reporting that all 24 fighters on the card were tested for steroids and drugs of abuse and all came back clean.
This follow yesterday's news that UFC Heavyweight Frank Mir, who challenged Junior dos Santos for the HW belt was granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This comes on the heels of the NSAC voting to allow UFC Middleweight Chael Sonnen a TUE for TRT in his upcoming UFC 148 title bout with Anderson Silva on July 7 in Las Vegas.
Of course the irony of all this is that Alistair Overeem, the man who was originally scheduled to face dos Santos, was forced out of the fight and suspended by the NSAC when he failed a surprise urine test after a March press conference for elevated testosterone levels.
Mir becomes the fourth fighter granted a TUE for TRT by the NSAC, joining Dan Henderson, Todd Duffee and Shane Roller. If Sonnen passes his blood tests and receives final clearance for TRT he'll be the fifth. For some reason many in the MMA media community are up in arms about this.
We'll hear from Josh Gross, Zach Arnold, Jeremy Botter, Fightlinker, Jamie Penick, CagePotato and Frank Mir himself after the jump...
SBN coverage of UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir
First up let's see what Frank Mir has to say about this:
Here's ESPN's Josh Gross with more details on the decision:
According to Kizer, Mir and the fighter's doctor informed the commission that the former UFC heavyweight champion began TRT treatments in early 2012. Kizer said Mir told the UFC in February that he was undergoing treatments for low testosterone. Mir first notified Kizer of his prescription on March 27 after he and five others scheduled to compete at UFC 146 were requested to undergo random drug tests that day in Las Vegas.
Mir underwent two urine and five blood tests throughout the process, Kizer said, including the morning after his loss, which also was negative.
Jeremy Botter asks the obvious questions:
My question is this: Why do mixed martial artists, more than any other athlete in any other sport, need testosterone replacement therapy? The obvious answer is that some of them likely caused damage to themselves by heavily using steroids in the past, and now they need artificial testosterone to regulate their levels and keep them normal.
But I'm not sure that's the case for everyone. And I'm not sure there's an easy answer, at least not one that applies to everyone. But it's something that needs to continually be looked at before it gets out of control and becomes a real problem.
Fightlinker has a pithy take:
The last thing we need is yet another steroid story kicking us in the face. Oh wait. Frank Mir fought with a TRT exemption.
Even when it's done to the letter of the law, no sir I do not like it.
Jamie Penick pulls no punches:
Dos Santos was so adamantly against Alistair Overeem for his testosterone use, which led to his removal and a nine-month license denial, and then he wound up fighting someone on testosterone anyway. This entire situation with TRT is getting out of hand, and it's being used as a "legal" way to dope by fighters more often than not. It's laughable that the NSAC took such a hardline stance against Nick Diaz for marijuana, questioning whether it has performance enhancing benefits without any proof and using that against him, while letting this treatment continue to be utilized with very little questioning. This is an absolutely ridiculous situation, and it's clear it's just going to get worse as more and more fighters are being allowed to utilize this "treatment".
Here's CagePotato's take:
I'm not going to rant about this revelation. I will say, however, that I'm not buying it. I was always weary in regards to which fighters, if any, truly needed testosterone replacement therapy to compete in the first place, and now that these exemptions are seemingly being handed out as easily as medicinal marijuana cards in California, I'm officially calling bullshit. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the use/legalization/mass distribution of the sticky-icky, but trying to convince me that professional fighters (especially massive heavyweights like Mir) are somehow lacking testosterone simply ain't gonna happen. Does that make me a hypocrite? Probably. Ignorant? Sure, but that's just my view. I'm not saying it's the correct one, but I am saying that Keith Kizer already predicted that more and more fighters would be applying for these "exemptions" once they became available.
And we'll let Zach Arnold have the last word:
...the NSAC has a process of three weeks to establish a Therapeutic Use Exemption for testosterone usage for MMA fighters. Three weeks. Not three months. Three weeks.
In the case of Frank Mir, he asked for an exemption starting in 2012. Why didn't he get an exemption before if he needed it so badly?
The end result is that the biggest names in Mixed Martial Arts are doping. It's an inescapable conclusion. Can you blame blue-chip companies that don't want to sponsor fighters given the current doping climate?
As I noted in my crash course article on testosterone usage in MMA, the usage of T for fighters in combat sports is way more dangerous & scandalous than in sports like baseball. The issues of drug usage (PEDs & pain killers), concussions, and bad weight-cutting are all starting to form an interconnected picture that is less than flattering about the health & safety of the sport.
If only 2% of the adult male population legitimately needs to use testosterone due to low levels of T, then why do so many MMA fighters cry for a need for testosterone? For those burying their head in the sand over the issue, there's a level of cognitive dissonance that is alarming. If the sport is so safe, then why do so many high-profile fighters need to use such a powerful chemical like testosterone in order to function?
The UFC has a giant problem - and it's one of their own making. As we noted from comments Dana White made last weekend, the UFC claims the PED issue is blown out of proportion and yet says that they want to take drug testing to ‘the next level' by having a supplemental drug testing program alongside the standard AC drug testing protocols. In the same breath, Dana praises the athletic commissions for the job they are doing when it comes to fighters who are using testosterone. He's always careful to make sure to emphasize that it's legal.
Well not entirely the last word, I'll reserve that for myself. The UFC and the athletic commissions are entangled in a web of hypocrisy, frankenstein science and incompetence that could very well be the biggest scandal in the young history of the sport.
What happens when someone is seriously hurt in a UFC bout on Fox TV and it is revealed that his opponent is using TRT with the blessing of the promotion and the ruling regulatory body? I don't expect that will be a pretty situation.
The UFC is talking about expanding their own drug testing program to supplement what the commissions are doing but if TUEs are going to be handed out right and left I'm not sure what the point is.