Just last month, ESPN ran an investigative report on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), peeling back the curtain on how Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was handling the controversial treatment, and accusing promotion president Dana White of "flip-flopping" on the issue.
But was he?
"Here's the thing about TRT. It's absolutely 100-percent legal. As sports medicine continues to advance, this is one of those things where every guy's testosterone level starts to drop as they get older and this is basically sports science now where they can bring it back up to a normal level. And I think it's great, it's absolutely fair, it's legal. The problem is, there are guys who say if this much is good THIS MUCH must be great, so you have guys who are always trying to do more than they're supposed to do. The big job is policing it, making sure that it's not being abused, that guys are using it the way it's supposed to be used."
"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. You have guys that go in there 100-percent natural with his talent and natural ability, against someone on TRT, basically someone that's 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."
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) -- which banned TRT from combat sports just a few days after the ESPN report -- will no longer issue a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to any fighter under any circumstance, which prompted UFC to pull Vitor Belfort from his UFC 173 title fight.
The report also accused the UFC's head physician of encouraging fighters to use TRT, one of the many things White claimed during a recent media scrum (watch the video replay here) was "embellished," leading to what he described as a total "sham" of a story.
"ESPN, as usual, they like to embellish shit. First of all, we have 500 guys under contract. Now that this new thing has come in and TRT is banned, five guys can't take TRT out of 500. Five guys had exemptions. They made it sound like it's rampant throughout the MMA world. Five guys is rampant? Here's the other thing ESPN said in their story: 'When Dana White has talked about this in the past, he's flip-flopped.' I have never fucking flip-flopped, ever did I flip flop. I said right off the bat I don't like it, we shouldn't use it. I get it, it's science. I even said it was a loophole in the system. I've been the guy who has been vocal about it and said it should go away. The whole ESPN, that thing was such a sham."
Read the report highlights here.
After the landmark ruling from NSAC, other regulatory bodies like Brazil and California soon followed suit, prompting some main event fighters like Chael Sonnen to contemplate retirement, while fellow TRT users like Dan Henderson, wondered why the commission "took the easy way out."
Not that it was a "rampant" problem to begin with, right?