The Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP), a non-profit organization made up of doctors "dedicated to the health and safety of the boxer and mixed martial arts (MMA) athlete," issued a recent announcement that decried the practice of athletic commissions granting therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Here's a snip:
"The incidence of hypogonadism requiring the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in professional athletes is extraordinarily rare. Accordingly, the use of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified. Steroid use of any type, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risk to combat sports athletes and their opponents. TRT in a combat sports athlete may also create an unfair advantage contradictory to the integrity of sport. Consequently, the Association of Ringside Physicians supports the general elimination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy."
Just hours later, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White -- who has called the exemption a form of "cheating" -- threw his support behind ARP's proposal to eliminate TUEs for TRT in combat sports.
White's thoughts (via Associated Press):
"The doctors came out and said they want to ban it? Well, that’s the answer. It’s legal in the sport. The commissions let you do it. You get an exemption, and you have to be monitored and all the stuff that’s going on, but if they’re going to do away with it? There you go. It’s a problem solved."
The statement marks the latest evolution in White's continually evolving stance on the controversial treatment.
Then, in Feb. 2013, White did an about-face on the issue and issued a stern warning to UFC's roster, informing fighters that the company would "test the shit out of them" to ensure they weren't gaming the system.
White's hardline stance on TRT appeared to be softening somewhat last November, when he appeared bullish on the idea that recently surging middleweight (and reluctant TRT posterboy), Vitor Belfort, would be licensed to fight in Nevada, where he is scheduled to challenge 185-pound champion Chris Weidman this summer.
However, according to the AP article, White now hopes Belfort -- who plans to request a TRT exemption -- is denied by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC):
"He drives me crazy, and me and Vitor were not on good terms a few months ago. Just because this whole TRT thing, I think, is unfair, and I said we’re going to test the living (daylights) out of him (during training). And we have, and he has complied, and he has been within the limits he’s supposed to have..."
It remains to be seen if NSAC -- which is currently in a state of flux -- will approve "The Phenom" for TRT.