Steroids in MMA
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CSAC Passes Amendment Allowing Therapeutic Exemptions for TRT and Marijuana

(Could I get JUST ONE of those exemptions, por favor?) 

Some big news out of California today, as it appears that the California State Athletic Commission has taken a huge step towards legalizing the therapeutic use of testosterone and marijuana in mixed martial arts competition. was the first to break the news:

The California State Athletic Commission voted on Monday to approve an amendment that allows therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for combat sports’ athletes who use drugs currently banned by the state agency for medical purposes, including testosterone and marijuana.

To be adopted into state law, the amendment’s verbiage must now be reviewed and approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs and then the state’s Office of Administrative Law, a process that could take months or even years, if it passes at all.

OK, so it’s not as big of news as one could have hoped, but it’s something, right? Then again, depending on your stance on testosterone replacement therapy (or marijuana for that matter), this could be a step in the wrong direction for the sport of MMA. Personally, I could care less if someone smokes a little weed in the off season; the fact that it is still demonized by some in our current over-prescribed, pill-popping culture is nothing short of ridiculous. As for TRT, well, it seems a little odd to me that some of the most physically fit athletes in the world would have a testosterone problem to begin with, but I’m just going to plead ignorance and leave it at that.

Few can forget who spearheaded this amendment in the first place, none other than the man with the “biggest arms in MMA,” Chael Sonnen. Following his fifth round submission loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 117, Sonnen’s post-fight drug test came back positive for an absurdly high amount of testosterone. Chael would appeal the one year suspension he received thereafter on the grounds that he had received an exemption from the previous commission for his medical diagnosed case of hypogonadism. When no such paperwork was found by newly appointed CSAC executive director George Dodd, Sonnen’s suspension was reduced then quickly reinstated.

Believe it or not, among the fighters to receive therapeutic exemptions for testosterone was Dan Henderson before his fight with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139:

Dodd told in December that Henderson’s rigorous approval process served as a test case that the commission used to evaluate its proposed TUE requirements.

Like Henderson, one of three fighters approved for a testosterone TUE in Nevada, Dodd said future TUE candidates would need to provide extensive medical records documenting past use of the drug for medical purposes.

For a testosterone exemption specifically, Dodd said an applicant would be asked to provide blood tests prior to (30 days before) and after a contest to ensure levels were within acceptable margins. Dodd said that all materials submitted would be reviewed by the CSAC’s medical advisory board, which added an endocrinologist to its ranks on Monday for such cases.

Definitely an interesting development in this whole TRT issue to say the least. And though nothing was mentioned about marijuana usage in the article, we will keep you informed as to any developments regarding this legislation as they develop.

-J. Jones

Cagepotato Comments

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xxxrayrayray- April 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm
linzhanax- April 11, 2012 at 11:02 am ………………
sergdrtfh- April 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm

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ghdfhfd- April 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Share a website with you ,
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Alan K- April 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm
Overreacting is fun.
theothermatthughs- April 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm
@Rwilson What do you mean Michael J Fox can't be a .. oh yea nevermind . As far as Sonnen's left nut is concerned choosing fabric for project runway is a contact sport also ... nothing to be ashamed about
ChucksChin- April 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm
if weed and caffeine is a Seattle speedball(aka hippie speedball), what's weed and testosterone?
amsterdamheavy- April 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm
thats a Dave Draper / Arnold Szhwarzenegger special
Get Off Me- April 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm
Natural Selection Theory, this is why a fighter should not be injecting testosterone into his body and fighting at the professional level. Sudafed pushes the boundries, TRT shatters them...TRT is the new "Transgressions", a fancy way of describing cheating...if someone needs TRT, than I would suggest for their own safety(what commisions are supposed to be about) they do not wear 4oz gloves and fight someone who does not at the highest level of the sport.
linzhanax- April 10, 2012 at 11:56 am
jiuff- April 10, 2012 at 11:43 am

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RwilsonR- April 10, 2012 at 11:40 am
I actually tend to agree with Shatterproof. If you medically require something that is banned by the sport, then sorry, you don't get to compete in the sport. It sucks, but you don't always get everything you want. Life's not fair. Michael J. Fox shouldn't be a surgeon, Stevie Wonder shouldn't fly jets, and Chael Sonnen's left nut probably shouldn't fight in MMA.
When competition is involved, the rules should be equal for everyone. Would it be fair to allow Stephen Hawking to compete in MMA if he built a giant robot frame to house his broken body because he has a medical condition that a doctor says necessitates a robot exoskeleton for him to compete in MMA?
The only way to ensure consistency is to have a rule banning all of it for everyone. No exceptions for someone who has a note from their doctor saying it is okay if they cheat.
RwilsonR- April 10, 2012 at 11:08 am
I would prefer that if a fighter requires an exemption for a banned substance that they need to pass an exam conducted by a doctor employed by the athletic commission to confirm that the fighter really does require that prescription. Be it for testosterone, marijuana, or cialis, there should be independent verification that the fighter really does have a condition requiring them to use that substance, and hasn't just found some quack to write a script.
I also think the fighter should have to cover the cost of this exam so that the athletic commisions don't refuse to do this for financial considerations. After all, it is a banned substance and the fighter is asking for a special exemption for to use something that is against the rules. The burden should be on the fighter to prove they need it, and that proof should come from an independent source.
RwilsonR- April 10, 2012 at 11:41 am
And I only say this IF they are going to allow banned substances. I would prefer they not allow them at all.
RSparrow- April 10, 2012 at 10:44 am
Do other sports allow TRT? No, really.. Serious question
Sho Nuff- April 10, 2012 at 10:42 am
The deal with TRT is exactly that for perfectly fit aging athletes, a natural decline in testosterone production can end a professional career. It's a sticky subject.

For me, Sonnen's TRT is one of the more legitimate examples of the value of TRT. He's a young guy with a (confirmed by commission testing at least) legitimate, and unnatural, deficiency. TRT allows him to compete in the sport today. Without, he probably would not be able to.

OTOH, Dan Henderson is old. Old dudes produce less testosterone. Using it to combat saggy balls syndrome is a bit stickier. Dan's resurgence can be almost entirely attributed to TRT.

The line is hard to figure. It seems unfair for young men to lose their career because of a treatable medical condition. I like the CSACs example of extremely strict testing and monitoring.
mDino- April 10, 2012 at 10:29 am
some fighters will abuse this. soon we will be seeing the mike pierces of mma jacked and leaner than ever.
linzhanax- April 10, 2012 at 10:16 am ... . .
The12ozCurls- April 10, 2012 at 9:55 am
Dammnit I love my home state of California always gotta be a trail blazer. Seat-belt and helmet laws - medical marijuana - banning cigarette smoking in public places - now this. What's next? Are they going to let women vote? LOL - that will never happen
Fletch the V Stretch- April 10, 2012 at 10:39 am
CA is so hip and new age. Gotta love it. Much cooler than freaking GA.

The12ozCurls- April 10, 2012 at 10:50 am
Hip and new age = Botox and implants
Fletch the V Stretch- April 10, 2012 at 11:55 am
I would gladly take advantage of your women even with their Botox and implants. Just point me in the right direction.
RwilsonR- April 10, 2012 at 11:28 am
Yeah, botox and implants are some of our better trends out here. Not like other areas, where bitches be letting themselves slide after they hit 22.
The12ozCurls- April 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm
lol - u guys are on fire today
shatterproof- April 10, 2012 at 9:54 am
If you require TRT you should not be able to fight, plain and simple. It's a PED, weed is not even in the same class.

Cue doctor shopping and a medical exemption for every fighter in 3, 2, ...
mDino- April 10, 2012 at 9:51 am
"What say ye, potato nation?"
Sloppyspray- April 10, 2012 at 9:51 am
@Corrosionform - Yeah, if you completely ignore the fact that the Reem is fighting in Nevada...What, are they going to tell everyone "ooo hey, we actually moved this entire card to California, sorry guys, our bad." Not to mention that this hasn't even be fully enacted yet, so it's not like they can just move that main event to their next Cali. card.
jimbonics- April 10, 2012 at 9:50 am
Thanks CSAC. I'm now one step closer to saying FUCK MMA!

Fucking meatheads.
LukeTheDuke- April 10, 2012 at 9:48 am
Nick Diaz's contract now states that he will only fight in California.
O Chan- April 10, 2012 at 9:41 am
Got to say, this isn't good for the sport in general. It could start a "race to the bottom" form of shopping when it comes to promoters looking to hold an event.

There was an interesting scholarly article written by an Oklahoma Law Student that touched upon this topic and builds an argument in support of MMA being under federal regulation as opposed to state-regulation.

Here's the link if anyone wants to read it. It's a doozy:
Corrosionform- April 10, 2012 at 9:39 am
Holly shit ! This is why the UFC has yet to name another opponent and Alistar have been so quiet... cause he is still gonna fight ! They were waiting for this to come out , cheatin ass Alistar is gonna have a doctor that approved of all the damn steroids , and be cleared to fight JDS. You watch. What a shame if that were to happen.
The_Dead_Cow- April 10, 2012 at 10:03 am
Horsemeat pissed hot in Nevada, this is talking about
Paste- April 10, 2012 at 9:38 am
Like Rickey Bobby, Overeem just happens to wake up in the morning and piss excellence, into a cup...
They just happened to test that cup.