The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) may be heading back to the drawing board.
That's because the controversial governing body expects to be faced with additional cases in the near future that mirror that of Chael Sonnen's,after the former UFC middleweight number one contender was fined and suspended for failing to disclose his testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) that spiked the results of his UFC 117 pre-fight drug test.
TRT is not uncommon for athletes his age and with his competitive background; however, the mouthy ex-Realtor failed to follow the proper protocol for clearing his ongoing therapy prior to the "Silva vs. Sonnen" pay-per-view event back on Aug. 7.
Sonnen unsuccessfully appealed the commission's penalty at a Dec. 2 hearing -- but did see his one-year suspension reduced to a term of six months.
His monetary fine of $2500 remained unchanged.
In light of Sonnen's medical procedure, the CSAC must now decide how to properly handle future cases that may affect the career of a fighter whose livelihood depends on a treatment such as TRT.
From Commissioner Dr. Van Buren Lemons (via L.A. Times):
"Hormone replacement is complicated, it's controversial, and with this particular form, testosterone, it will speak to the safety of this sport. We've got to have an agenda item soon about this therapeutic use exemption for all of our banned substances. This may come up again, and I hope it doesn't, but we have to be proactive."
CSAC Executive Officer George Dodd elaborates:
"The question really for the commission is ‘what do we do with this type of treatment?’ That’s the next step. We know the guy’s on it. How do we deal with it? How do we go about building a policy, because if the fighter’s tried everything and that’s the last resort, how do we move forward and say, ‘OK, this is what you need to do to fight.' There has to be a (clear) policy. I don’t think it’s just the California Athletic Commission. I think all commissions are going to have this problem."
The suspension cost Sonnen his rematch with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, who now faces Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 on Feb. 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But would it have made a difference if Sonnen had a medical exemption? Does TRT offer a competitive advantage and if so, how will the commission handle future cases when it looked so inept at last week's appeal?
The CSAC clearly has a lot to consider.
While nothing is likely to be decided in the immediate future, a medical exemption for these types of treatments could open a can of worms if fighters can legally load up on testosterone with a doctor's note and two months notice prior to a fight.
Where do you stand on this issue? Let's hear your take, Maniacs.