(Image via Fightland/RyanLoco)
A decision made during a California State Athletic Commission meeting in Los Angeles on Monday could have a major impact on the ongoing testosterone replacement therapy debate in MMA. Among the topics covered during the eight-hour session was a new proposed rule that would standardize the process for obtaining therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone. But the rule was successfully challenged by Department of Consumer Affairs lawyer Michael Santiago. As FightOpinion reports:
“[Santiago] said that until there is a statute/regulation on the books regarding testosterone that the commission should not be using an ‘underground’ policy of approving T usage. He argued that testosterone is considered a banned substance.
The end result is that fighters like Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and Frank Mir will not be allowed to use testosterone while fighting in California until a law is on the books that explicitly spells out approval for T usage…[T]he UFC will be furious about this development given how many guys they have fighting in California who love testosterone. Vitor Belfort’s sympathy plea for continued testosterone usage means he won’t be fighting in California any time soon…
Santiago’s position will now put UFC in an interesting dilemma — will they huff and bluff by backing away from running shows in California or will they accept the new reality on the ground? If UFC backs away from California, it will cost the commission’s budget big time. UFC wants to talk tough about testosterone usage now, so let’s see if they will back up their public talk by walking the walk with future California events.”
At the moment, the UFC does not have any events scheduled in the state of California through September, and you have to wonder if they’ll keep their distance for the time being, if only to save themselves the hassle. Though UFC president Dana White has come out strongly against hormone-replacement therapy among fighters in his promotion, marquee fighters like Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, and Chael Sonnen continue to use TRT as a prerequisite for competition.
The good news is, the California ruling could be the first real step towards a more level playing field in the sport. We’ll keep you posted.