Dana White held a question and answer session today in London ahead of tomorrow's UFC on Fuel TV 7 card and there was a pretty shocking statement by the UFC president. It appears that Dana, once a vocal supporter of the idea of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and the Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) given to fighters on the TRT given by athletic commissions.
"TRT has become a way for people to cheat. If this is what your normal level should be and then you have guys training at huge levels (of testosterone) for their whole camp then tapering down to get to normal levels before the fucking fight, that’s cheating, and I don’t like it anymore."
"There are plenty of guys in the UFC that are naturally gifted and talented fighters. If you’re testosterone levels are too low then you’re probably too old to be fighting, stop fighting! "
"We can test everybody. I’m telling you right now, if you are using testosterone replacement therapy, get ready motherfuckers because we’re going to test the shit out of you."
"Some things recently have lead me to believe that people are fucking cheaters, people are taking good things and turning it into a bad thing and if you want to play those games then guess what, we’ll play!"
"There’s so much shit out there. Right now there’s banned substances and and we follow the regulations and we’re going after the banned substances, TRT was never one of them and they would be tested leading up to the fight to make sure the levels are good. If you’re on TRT now, you’re going to wish you weren’t. We’re going to test the living shit out of you."
"You have guys that go in there 100% natural with his talent and natural ability, against someone on TRT, basically someone thats on steroids. I’m absolutely 100 percent against TRT and now I’m going to start fighting it 100 percent with the athletic commissions and I want nothing to do with it."
I spoke to Dr. Margaret Goodman, president of VADA, earlier this week and the topic of TRT came up at that time. Dr. Goodman was not shy about expressing her concerns with the practice:
BB: Lastly, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) has become a major hot button topic in fight sports. Do you have any thoughts on the prevalence of TRT in the fight game? It seems like something where we hear about more and more fighters who are getting exemptions for testosterone use to "achieve normal human levels." Is it right to allow TRT in high rates simply to be "fair" to the fighters so they can fight with up to a 6:1 testosterone ratio?
MG: I think TRT is widely used in boxing and MMA--either illegally or with a TUE. Except in the most rare of circumstances, TUEs for TRT should not be granted. Period.
It is simply sanctioned steroid use that is unfair to the opponent and harmful to the long-term health of the user. It is almost impossible that a normal healthy fighter should need TRT, suffers from hypogonadism and is competitive. I suspect most athletes with low testosterone levels have already risked their health by using steroids in the past, causing their bodies to produce less testosterone. Allowing them to continue to inflict damage upon their bodies by sanctioning further steroid use is a huge step in the wrong direction and will only lead to more widespread PED use.
And the idea that athletes can legally have up to a 6:1 T/E ratio is a complete misnomer. The 6:1 ratio comes from a time where there was no scientific method to distinguish between testosterone naturally produced by the body and testosterone from an exogenous source (not produced by the body), so the Olympics used this ratio as a legal means to declare a testosterone violation without having "false positives." It turns the concept on its head to say that athletes are "allowed" to have up to a 6:1 T/E; that is simply not accurate, although it is often misunderstood. An athlete administering exogenous testosterone can have a 1:1 ratio (or even less), yet he is still gaining illicit and significant performance enhancement and endangering his health (and the health of his opponent) by his use. Now that the science has improved so that CIR testing can effectively distinguish between endogenous and exogenous testosterone, the T/E ratio no longer needs to be used and the 6:1 concept should go away.
Dana's statement about fighting TRT with the athletic commissions is interesting. I have a few calls in to see if a promoter can already request via bout agreement or other method that his fighters not be granted TUEs but it's possible the promoters can have no input into the situation. I will update the story once I have more info. I have been told by multiple sources that far more fighters than the public know of have been granted TUEs, however.
But it's interesting that Dana plans on testing in a very aggressive manner, trying to make sure guys aren't "abusing" their TRT and trying to cycle off ahead of their fight. It could lead to fights getting pulled if guys aren't extremely disciplined with the way the testosterone is administered.
There is plenty more to this story and we'll be sure to provide updates and more information in the coming days and weeks.