Just hours removed from the significant ruling (read full details here) that Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) handed down earlier this afternoon to ban testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) responded with a statement of unified support.
Here it is in its entirety:
"The Ultimate Fighting Championship fully supports the decision made today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the immediate termination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). We believe our athletes should compete based on their natural abilities and on an even playing field. We also intend to honor this ruling in international markets where, due to a lack of governing bodies, the UFC oversees regulatory efforts for our live events. We encourage all athletic commissions to adopt this ruling."
UFC, of course, acts as its own regulatory body in locations with no athletic commission such as Australia and Singapore, among many others. That means the promotion tests its fighters for illegal/banned substances -- and punishes them -- based on state "government" standards, which up until today, allowed TRT exemptions.
But, the alarming amount of MMA fighters (relatively speaking, of course) who opted for the treatment far out-stripped the ratios in other sports such as football, basketball and even boxing, among others. That fact, along with the controversial debate that raged over the past several years, ultimately culminated with a damaging ESPN "Outside The Lines" investigative report earlier this week that, indirectly, questioned the integrity of the sport.
And just like that, NSAC today makes a bold move after an exploratory discussion, one that UFC clearly embraced based on the above statement, along with its company president, Dana White, who was often on the front lines having to reluctantly defend the use of TRT among a select group of fighters (see his reaction here).
It's now time to see how that select group of fighters, which includes high-profile superstars such as Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen, responds to the abrupt rule change .... especially in the midst of treatment with fights on the near horizon.