UFC president Dana White held a Q&A with the media Friday in London one day prior to the UFC on FUEL TV 7 card. By far, the most surprising part of the news conference was White’s tough stance against fighters given exemptions to use testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
It wasn’t long ago White didn’t have a problem with TRT and Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) granted to fighters by various athletic commissions. Perhaps the sudden increase in fighters using TRT — which is legal — is what caused White to change his mind.
Some fighters who have used TRT are among the biggest names: Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Quinton ‘Rampage Jackson, Frank Mir, Alistair Overeem.
Among White’s statements to the media in London today (edited for language):
“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 … fight, that’s cheating, and I don’t like it anymore.”
“There are plenty of guys in the UFC that are naturally gifted and talented fighters. If you’re testosterone levels are too low then you’re probably too old to be fighting, stop fighting! “
“We can test everybody. I’m telling you right now, if you are using testosterone replacement therapy, get ready … because we’re going to test the … out of you.”
“Some things recently have led me to believe that people are … cheaters, people are taking good things and turning it into a bad thing and if you want to play those games then guess what, we’ll play!”
“There’s so much … out there. Right now there’s banned substances and and we follow the regulations and we’re going after the banned substances. TRT was never one of them and they would be tested leading up to the fight to make sure the levels are good. If you’re on TRT now, you’re going to wish you weren’t. We’re going to test the living … out of you.”
“You have guys that go in there 100% 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.”
For more background on TRT and TUE, check out the in-depth interview Brent Brookhouse of bloodyelbow.com conducted with Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency president Dr. Margaret Goodman. The money quote from Goodman:
“I think TRT is widely used in boxing and MMA–either illegally or with a TUE. Except in the most rare of circumstances, TUEs for TRT should not be granted. Period.”