(Props: UFC Tonight via Snappy TV)
Like we all expected, the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s decision to ban all TRT exemptions last week has quickly been embraced by several other commissions both foreign and domestic. First, the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission followed suit, and now, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) is doing the same. As Zapp Brannigan would say, the bull’s eye has been hit and the dominos are falling like a house of cards. Checkmate.
The news was passed along by California State Athletic Commission Executive Officer Andy Foster (via MMAJunkie) earlier today, who stated:
The California State Athletic Commission fully supports the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s decision to eliminate Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) in boxing and mixed martial arts. California is a strong supporter of anti-doping efforts. As part of California’s anti-doping efforts, the Commission recently began the rulemaking process to require meeting World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards as the only way to obtain a TUE for TRT. This standard is so high that it is an effective ban except under the most extreme circumstances. Until the rulemaking process is complete and the regulations are fully adopted, the Commission has a total ban on TRT. California remains committed to protecting the health and safety of athletes and having strict anti-doping standards is one of the ways this is accomplished.
I would have expected the CSAC’s official statement to be something more along the lines of “Chill, brah” but I guess this will do.
As more and more commissions move forward with the TRT ban, the already dire situation facing the small group of MMA fighters currently undergoing the treatment continues to grow bleaker. Fighters like Chael Sonnen, for instance, have reached the point where they are all but unable to simply wane themselves off testosterone injections, and with the light at the end of the tunnel growing dimmer, Sonnen recently told UFC Tonight that he may have reached the end of the road in regards to his MMA career. A transcription of the statement he gave is below.
There’s a lot of moving parts. I don’t have all the answers. The bottom line is testosterone is out. Now, as it relates to Vitor, I think this was a very genuine and sincere thing for him. Here’s the problem that I have: a fighter that said seven days ago, ‘I need TRT or I can’t do this,’ and then all of a sudden goes, ‘Well, I’ll just stop TRT.’ I find that very disingenuous.
I am potentially in that same field. If this retires guys, then it retires guys. The rules are the rules, and the rules need to be followed. Personally, sorry to be long winded about this, but I’m going through this myself, where I’ve had to stop testosterone with the hope that we can find a new way to gain the results of upping testosterone to stay at a healthy level. If it doesn’t work, I may have to stop the sport. And it’s as simple as that.
Sonnen is among the fighters to recently lament the negative effects of dropping TRT from his daily regimen, and his words don’t exactly inspire confidence in his chances against rival Wanderlei Silva in May. But whether intentionally or not, Sonnen does make the same point that NSAC consulting physician Dr. Timothy Trainor made when the ban was first enacted. Mainly, that if an MMA fighter truly is suffering from hypogonadism (which Sonnen has repeatedly stated is his case), then an athletic commission would be placing them in danger by allowing them to fight.
Simply put, if Sonnen finds that he cannot compete at his normal level without TRT, then it kind of calls into question why he was allowed to compete in MMA in the first place because of it. In any case, he most certainly shouldn’t be competing in a sport as dangerous as MMA if he can’t fight at 100% on his best day.
But I think the real concern here is: If/when Sonnen is forced to retire from MMA, who will step up to become Brazil’s public enemy number 1? Having sat next to a group of Brazilians at the last UFC event I attended, I can say with certainty that they are an arrogant, loud people who need to be kept in check through constant bad-mouthing, lest they gain literacy and learn that you cannot actually feed a bus a carrot. What I’m saying is PLEASE DON’T GO, CHAEL. US JINGOISTS NEED YOU.