New Jersey Athletic Commission counsel Nick Lembo responds to the NSAC's TRT ban

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Following the Nevada State Athletic Commission's decision to ban therapeutic use exemptions for TRT, Counsel to the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, Nick Lembo, has gone on the record to reinforce his states stance on TRT.

Once Nevada came out with it's hardline stance against TRT, it was inevitable that other commissions would be put in a position to respond. The Brazilian athletic governing body, after initially claiming that they would likely be honoring TRT exemptions for there short term, has now come forward with a statement of support of Nevada decision of an outright ban and has said they will adopt the same policy going forward. Now, Nick Lembo, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board counsel has released a statement to The MMA Journalist, reaffirming his state's stance on TRT exemptions, a stance that it doesn't appear will be changed in response to Nevada's recent move.

Since January 1, 2008, NJ has had 4,930 MMA contestants compete in agency regulated bouts.

The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board has only granted one initial TRT therapeutic use exemption of those 4,930 MMA contestants. That one exemption was subsequently revoked when that individual failed an agency required random monitoring test several months subsequent to his NJ bout contest date.

The NJSACB has also honored exemptions to two of the 4,930 MMA contestants based on exemptions originally granted in multiple other jurisdictions and after additional testing and board certified endocrinologist documentation was supplied.

The NJSACB has refused TRT exemptions to over a dozen applicant contestants.

In addition, the NJSACB has never granted a TUE for TRT to any of the multitude of professional boxers, Thai fighters or kick boxers subject to its purview.

At this juncture, the NJSACB will continue to adhere to the very strict International Olympic Committee therapeutic use exemption standards.

Based on the IOC poilcy, the ABC medical committee set forth and published extremely rigorous guidelines for the consideration and granting of TUE's during its presentation to the ABC membership at the July 2011 annual convention.

That being said, we will consider Nevada's decision today and look forward to discussing how to handle the rare candidate who indeed has a true legitimate medical reason for usage. As examples, an individual returning from military duty who has suffered testicular malfunction from an IED explosion, those with pituitary giantism, testicular cancer survivors, and transgender contestants.

We hope that all MMA contestants are subject to repetitive and efficient drug testing protocols without regard to whether a TUE for TRT is at issue. I think we can all agree, regardless of positions on TUE's, that performance enhancing drug testing needs to be analyzed, implemented and continually improved.

Interestingly, California recently took a step in the opposite direction when they looked to approve guidelines for athletes to get approved for therapeutic use exemptions after more than a year of banning new applicants. I wrote at the time that I believed it was a step in the right direction as their former guidelines didn't ban it  outright (their ban on new applicants was temporary) and they were better served by having some regulation in place rather than failing to address it entirely. Following Nevada's announcement of a TRT ban, Tim Kennedy spoke to MMA Fighting, saying that he expects California to follow suit and institute an outright ban on the treatment.

The strong stance taken by one of the world's most influential athletic commissions will, without a doubt, continue to have rippling effects across the combat sports industry. We'll be sure to keep you updated as athletes and officials continue to make themselves heard on Nevada's new regulations. In the meantime, check out Luke Thomas' take on TRT in MMA.

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