[ads1]The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) met in Los Angeles this Monday to discuss, among a plethora of other topics, the state’s policies regarding fighters who seek therapeutic usage exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy. As the treatment has increased in popularity among fighters, state athletic commissions have struggled to draw the line between legitimate medical necessity and performance enhancement. Fighters like Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, and Dan Henderson have all come under intense scrutiny for their use of TRT, which many critics decry as little more than exploiting a performance enhancement loophole.
An amendment proposed by the commission would have standardized the process by which fighters receive therapeutic use exemptions; however, Department of Consumer Affairs lawyer Michael Santiago successfully opposed the rule’s adoption on the grounds that testosterone is otherwise considered to be a banned performance enhancer (It is important to note that, while testosterone itself a naturally occurring hormone, the use of artificial treatments to elevate testosterone beyond naturally occurring ratios is considered to be a form of doping by nearly every governing body that regulates MMA).
So, what exactly does this mean for your favorite testosterone ‘deficient’ fighters? Put simply, they won’t be welcome to fight in California anytime soon if they choose to continue receiving TRT. Although the UFC does not currently have any events scheduled in the state up through the month of September, it will be interesting to see which direction to promotion goes on the issue. The UFC is arguably the single most influential player outside of the CSAC itself in the establishment of standards and regulations for the sport, and, although Dana White has been critical of the practice in the past, the organization may attempt to push back in light of how many fighters on the UFC’s roster utilize the divisive therapy.
We here at Pro MMA Now will be following this story very closely, as a definitive ‘no’ to testosterone replacement in California could very easily lead to a domino effect of athletic commissions shutting their doors on TRT.