Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White sent a shockwave throughout the mixed martial arts (MMA) community on Friday (Feb. 15, 2013) when he ripped into testosterone-replacement-therapy (TRT) users in a questions and answer session with media members.
White proclaimed there are fighters taking advantage of TRT by using it to cheat, and announced that he's had enough and his organization is going to step up testing for those using TRT.
White was vague on what this advanced testing would involve, but at Saturday's (Feb. 16, 2013) UFC on FUEL TV 7: "Barao vs. McDonald" post-fight press conference in London, England, the UFC's head honcho shared some more details, saying TRT users are going to be tested regularly throughout their training camps to ensure they stay within legal limits.
"We're going to go after, you know, these guys who get exemptions for TRT," White said. "We're going to make sure that we test you through your entire camp."
Prior to the recent rant, White was never openly against TRT usage, as he believed it was an issue for the athletic commissions to handle with the athletes. While his change of stance may have come as a surprise to many, White says the recent surge in fighter requests for therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for TRT raised his suspicions on the treatment was being used.
"If you asked me three months ago, it's legal, it's sports science but everybody figures out a way to take a great thing and cheat and make it bad," White said. "I think that from what I've seen over the last year, I've seen situations where guys, those of you that know what testosterone replacement is, if you're older, your testosterone starts to get lower, they can get you testosterone to get your back up to a 25-year-old.
"What I believe guys are doing, is jacking up this stuff through roof through their entire training camp, then getting back down to normal levels right before the fight, which is cheating. I hate it, I don't like it and I'm going to fight it. And if you are using TRT in the UFC, we're going to start testing the shit out of you for the entire camp."
There are certainly fighters out there who need TRT for legitimate reasons, but White has a strong belief there are also people abusing the system. He doesn't believe the athletic commissions are doing enough to weed out any potential cheaters, and that's particularly due to the fact that there is a widespread lack of education when it comes to TRT.
"The TRT thing is legal," White said. "The commission lets guys use testosterone replacement therapy. I believe that guys are cheating on it. I truly believe that guys are cheating on it, and I don't like to see a natural gifted athlete fight against a guy against who has been jacked up on TRT for three months.
"The other problem that I have? You get four guys together, four smart guys who can have an educated conversation about testosterone replacement therapy? They'll give you four different answers. When it's that vague, and that many people don't understand it, nanograms and this ratio to that ratio and all that bullshit, when you sit down and start talking about it, it's not fair. If you're testosterone level isn't high enough, maybe you're too old to fight."
What date the additional testing will go into effect is unknown at this time; however, there are three high profile fighters who openly use TRT scheduled for upcoming fights in Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort.