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Tag: NSAC

BREAKING: Nevada State Athletic Commission Bans TRT Exemptions, Effective Immediately


(“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” / Photo via Getty)

The Nevada State Athletic Commission struck a blow for fair, healthy MMA competition today, voting for an immediate ban on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Therapeutic usage exemptions (TUE) will no longer be granted to fighters, even for those who had been approved to use hormone therapy in the past. Furthermore, the NSAC will push other states to ban TRT as well, and won’t honor the TUEs approved by other state commissions.

Today’s hearing began with testimony from NSAC consulting physician Dr. Timothy Trainor, who explained the rarity of hypogonadism, and argued that if a competitor truly has hypogonadism, the athletic commission would be placing him at risk by allowing him to fight. (Hello, exactly!)

After discussing the recent anti-TRT letter from the Association of Ringside Physicians — and acknowledging that monitoring every TRT user requires more resources than they can commit — NSAC commissioner Skip Avansino motioned to ban TRT usage/exemptions in Nevada. With supporting votes from commissioners Pat Lundvall and Bill Brady, the motion quickly passed.

And so, MMA’s biggest PED loophole has been closed by the country’s most influential athletic commission — and other state athletic commissions may be forced to follow suit. Vitor Belfort will have to fight clean in Nevada, along with everybody else who previously had doctor’s notes for testosterone.

It’s a good day for the sport. We’ll update you with any major developments that follow.

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Vitor Belfort Plans to Roll the Dice, Will Apply for a TRT Exemption in Nevada


(Fedor wore it better. / Photo via MMAJunkie)

When UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta announced that he wanted to book Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort in Las Vegas, it suggested that Belfort’s well-documented usage of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) might be in jeopardy.

Though the Phenom had been allowed to undergo hormone therapy while competing in Brazil throughout 2013 due to the looser standards in his home country, his 2006 steroid bust in Nevada led former NSAC executive director Keith Kizer to claim that Belfort would be unlikely to secure a TRT exemption for any future fight in Vegas. Then, Keith Kizer suddenly left his post earlier this month, opening the door for a replacement who might be, shall we say, more amenable to the UFC’s needs.

Which leads into today’s news that Belfort will indeed be applying for a therapeutic usage exemption for TRT in Nevada when his title fight against Weidman is officially booked. Ariel Helwani passed along the news on last night’s installment of UFC Tonight:

He said he’s on TRT and that his doctors said he has to be on it. This has been prescribed and he’s planning on applying to be on a TUE for the next fight.”

Well, bullshit. For the sake of argument, let’s take Belfort at his word — he needs to load up on testosterone in order to function normally. Is that a valid reason for any athletic commission to grant him an exemption? You’re gonna let a guy use steroids because he’s too sick to compete without them? Honestly, that sounds like the worst reason to give a professional fighter a TUE. But hey, we all know that in Brazil, doctors are essentially Gods and their advice must be followed at all costs, no matter how ridiculous.

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Why the Current PED Testing Policies in MMA Are Bad for the Sport


(My advice? Put on this song, hold each other tight, and remember why you fell in the love in the first place. / Photo via @lorenzofertitta)

By Jon Mariani

Responding to Georges St-Pierre’s news-making claim that the UFC didn’t support him when he did VADA drug-testing for UFC 167, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told Yahoo!, “It was extremely disappointing to hear Georges make those comments because I don’t think any organization has embraced drug testing as we have.”

Fertitta also went on to state in an interview with ESPN, “Maybe Georges didn’t understand the level of drug testing Nevada was doing. They are the ultimate authority that handles drug testing, medicals and everything else — and they are very capable.”

The first problem with Fertitta’s statement is that the UFC didn’t exactly embrace drug-testing when GSP tried to bring VADA into the mix. As UFC President Dana White stated, “It’s a little weird,” that St-Pierre wanted the enhanced testing. White went on to say that “He doesn’t have to do it, but I guess he wants to do it. What are you gonna do? Knock yourself out, Georges. Good luck.”

Clearly, that’s not the kind of “support” St-Pierre was looking for.

The larger problem is that when Fertitta says “they are very capable,” referring to Nevada’s athletic commission and drug-testing standards, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The current testing employed in Nevada is a joke, and here’s why…

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A Farewell to Keith Kizer: Three Brief Legacies From the NSAC Boss’s Controversial Reign


(Kizer consults with referee Mario Yamasaki following Maximo Blanco’s disqualification at the TUF 18 Finale. / Photo via Getty)

By Jon Mariani

Keith Kizer, the longtime Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, resigned from his position yesterday to return to the Nevada Attorney General’s office. Whether his exit was spurred by political pressure or if it was “just a good time for [him] to move on,” Kizer’s decision has already been met with a very positive reaction from many MMA fans and industry figures. At this point I am withholding judgement until we hear who Kizer’s replacement is; better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

At the risk of lapsing into conspiracy-mode, the timing of resignation is undeniably suspicious. The UFC just announced that Vitor Belfort vs. Chris Weidman was going to take place in Las Vegas, and Kizer was previously on record saying “I don’t see Vitor Belfort getting a TRT exemption from us.” However, that stance had recently changed. It’s hard to accept that this was Kizer’s decision alone.

In honor of his resignation, I thought it would be a good time to look back a few moments from Keith Kizer’s career that will define his legacy…

In the defense of CJ Ross

After Nevada boxing judge CJ Ross scored Mayweather vs. Canelo as 114-114 draw in June 2012, Kizer had this to say about the situation:

“Just because a judge’s scorecard ends up even, doesn’t mean the judge necessarily thought the fight as a whole was even,” Kizer said. “It could be that a judge has six rounds for each fighter, but the six rounds she gave fighter A, she gave them to him easily and the six rounds she gave fighter B, they were really close rounds. That’s pretty much how it was last night.”

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Post-UFC 167 News Roundup: Hendricks-GSP II, Koscheck’s Future, And More


(The pre-fight UFC 167 press conference. The belt didn’t change places. / Photo via Getty)

UFC 167 left a terrible taste in our mouths.

The card was exciting, and the main event, after the last round but before the decision was announced, seemed like it was going to be a passing of the torch. Instead, we got a terrible decision that overshadowed the celebratory atmosphere around the UFC’s 20th anniversary show.

Now, we’re left with more questions than answers. Here’s what we know so far:

Josh Koscheck suffered a brutal KO loss to Tyron Woodley. One might think that the UFC would let Koscheck go since he’s a 35-year-old on a three-fight losing streak and they’ve cut other fighters for less. Yet Koscheck is going to stay in the UFC, at least if he doesn’t retire.

Dana White said that Koscheck will not be cut, and also stated that he had a soft spot for TUF season 1 veterans (aww). However, White also mentioned that he received a text message from Koscheck which “sounded like retirement” but that sometimes fighters say things after fights, presumably things they don’t mean.

White, unhappy (an understatement) about the decision in the main event, also ranted about the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

“It used to be the best commission in the world…I’m fucking scared to come back here and do fights,” Yet, when pressed for specifics about how the UFC would proceed, White was mum. “What more can I do?” he said. “I just don’t know what else needs to be done. It’s unfortunate.”

Of course, the biggest issue we’re all waiting on is a rematch between Georges St.Pierre and Johny Hendricks. Will it happen?

Maybe.

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Robert Drysdale Denied License for UFC 167 Due to Absurdly Inflated T/E Ratio [UPDATED]


(Allegedly, Robert shaved his chest three hours before this photo was taken. / Photo via Getty)

For the second time since his ill-fated signing with the UFC, BJJ world champion Robert Drysdale has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled fight. In July, Drysdale pulled out of a UFC 163 match against Ednaldo Oliveira due to a “staph infection” — yes there are scare quotes around “staph infection,” we’ll get to that later — and now the undefeated light-heavyweight been denied licensure by the NSAC for his UFC 167 match against Cody Donovan, after an out-of-competition drug test came back with a 19.4:1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio.

That’s more than three times the NSAC’s testing threshold of 6:1 (which is considered overly liberal in the first place), and even beats the super-inflated T/E ratios that Alistair Overeem (14:1) and Chael Sonnen (16.9:1) previously turned in. If you’re a healthy adult male, your T/E ratio is probably around 1:1. In other words, Robert Drysdale is approximately 20 times the man you are.

Drysdale’s latest drug test didn’t come back positive for steroids, and NSAC boss Keith Kizer clarified that the submission ace hasn’t been suspended or fined as a result of the failed test — at least not by the athletic commission. As we’ve seen recently, the UFC has no problem taking matters into its own hands when it comes to testosterone abusers. So will the UFC will give Drysdale another chance to get his act together, or will he become the first none-and-done fighter since Benjamin Brinsa?

Right, so about that “staph infection”…

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George St. Pierre’s Anti-Doping Crusade Falls Apart, And Makes Him Look Bad in the Process


(“Lift these ten-pound dumbbells for just 20 minutes a day, and all your friends will think you’re on steroids — guaranteed.” / Props: GSP RUSHFIT)

In July, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre called out his UFC 167 opponent Johny Hendricks to undergo random, unannounced drug-testing with him through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), during the eight weeks before their fight. Though Hendricks’s initial response was “Heck ya!“, we didn’t hear a peep about GSP’s new anti-doping campaign/publicity stunt — until reports came out last week that Hendricks still hadn’t filed his paperwork.

According to a new report on MMAJunkie, St. Pierre will indeed go forward with enhanced drug testing conducted by VADA and will be tested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, while Hendricks will only participate in the NSAC’s testing. Hendricks’s apparent refusal to cooperate with the VADA program raised our suspicions at first, but it turns out there’s another side to the story, and it’s one that paints the champ in an unflattering light.

St. Pierre and Hendricks’s gentlemen’s agreement about additional drug-testing began to fall apart when Hendricks’s manager Ted Ehrhardt discovered that VADA would be paying for GSP’s testing, contradicting St. Pierre’s initial claim that he would be paying for the testing of both fighters out of his own pocket. (“Hendricks’ camp balked at the idea of their opponent partnering with a drug testing body that was supposed to be independent, and they favored the WADA program,” writes Junkie.)

A conference call was arranged to sort it out, and that’s when things got complicated:

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Nevada Athletic Commission Triples the Testing Threshold for Marijuana Metabolites


(Looks like somebody’s already celebrating. / Video via NickDiaz209, obviously.)

Last spring former Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director and current UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner publicly criticized the way that states like Nevada tested for Marijuana metabolites, and expressed hope that it would be changed.

Fighters competing while high should not be tolerated, the idea seemed to be, but punishing guys like Pat Healy for smoking weeks before fighting seemed harsh and silly. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently upped the metabolite level that they tested for, and the tide appears to have fully turned now as the NSAC has “officially raised the testing threshold of marijuana metabolites from 50 ng/mL to 150 ng/mL,” according to a report on MiddleEasy.

We’re no marijuana experts but this change would seem to be a move by the world’s most influential athletic commission to stop penalizing recreational marijuana use by fighters, although testing for THC will continue because, while perhaps not performance enhancing, it is dangerous to fight high, drunk or in any other significantly altered state.

What do you think, Nation? Should Pat Healy be allowed to beat up Bryan Caraway and take his bonus money back? Will we finally see Nick Diaz back in the cage?

- Elias Cepeda

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Brian Bowles Fails UFC 160 Drug Test


(Bowles in happier times)

In case you missed it, nation, not all UFC 160 fighters passed their post-fight drug tests. Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Keith Kizer let us know yesterday that former champion Brian Bowles has some ‘splaining to do.

Regarding UFC 160, Kizer wrote in an email that “All athletes tested.  All results negative, except Brian Bowles tested positive for an elevated T/E ratio (> 20).  A complaint will be forthcoming.”

First off, let’s just highlight the fact that Kizer said that all fighters on the UFC 160 card were tested. Used to be that only a select few were ever tested following bouts, you might remember. For some time now, however, the NSAC has been testing all fighters on a given card. Ain’t no Canadian loopholes in Nevada, we suppose.

Back to Bowles – The failed test is just an extra bummer for him. He returned to action for the first time since 2011 at UFC 160 and lost via TKO to George Roop. No one seems to really be able to truly explain the precise significance of what elevated testosterone to epitestosterone ratios mean, but we do know that athletes can sure get in trouble for having them.

A complaint from the NSAC will soon be filed against Bowles and his license to fight is presumably temporarily suspended until he has a hearing before the regulatory body to explain himself and the test results. At that point, the commission could decide to do any number of things with Bowles from reinstating his license immediately to suspending him for a specific period of time and fining him a portion of his UFC 160 purse.

Bowles has now lost two in a row. Thus far, he hasn’t appeared to comment publicly on the test results.  We’ll keep you posted as more news develops.

- Elias Cepeda

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Get Lifted: UFC Raises Marijuana Threshold for International Events, Nick Diaz’s Unretirement Surely Imminent

Man…Bryan Caraway is gonna be piiiiiiissssseeddd when he gets word of this little development.

You might not have heard about this, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel was held in Las Vegas over the weekend, and among the primary issues discussed was that of the acceptable threshold for marijuana metabolites in a given fighter’s system that the UFC currently allows, specifically on an international level. You see, since the UFC usually acts as its own regulatory body in foreign countries, an issue has recently emerged regarding the discrepancy between their acceptable level for metabolites  – 50 ng/mL — and the newly-deemed acceptable level of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) — 150 ng/mL.

Fortunately, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner revealed during the panel that the promotion’s threshold will now be raised to meet the level of WADA’s. He spoke with MMAJunkie, then presumably passed one to the left hand side:

“When we self-regulate around the world, we are going to go the WADA standard of 150. So we’re starting that immediately.”

Ratner also told MMAjunkie.com the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission – or Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA) – which regulates UFC events in Brazil, has also agreed to the same standard and will make the change at next week’s UFC on FUEL TV 10 event in Fortaleza. Brazilian commission officials later confirmed their decision.

You may be asking yourself, “What exactly does this threshold change mean for UFC fighters moving forward?”

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