Props: MMA Fan Made
The UFC’s unofficial support for Testosterone Replacement Therapy may just have become more or less official. Because the Ontario Athletic Commission doesn’t engage in the pesky business of drug testing, responsibility falls to the UFC to do so. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and certainly the UFC’s own policies have caught fighters doping. But things are a little different now – fighters have a legal means of obtaining synthetic testosterone, the primary component of many anabolic steroids. The flipside of this is that they need to acquire a therapeutic use exemption in order to use TRT, which at least illuminates who is using the stuff to enhance their performance.
Or at least it would be illuminated if the UFC were to release the names of fighters who requested TUEs, which they are obligated to do when dealing with a commission that gives a damn about at the very least appearing to maintain some semblance of professionalism. Since Ontario’s athletic commission doesn’t happen to belong to that exclusive group, the UFC “can not disclose if a fighter on the UFC 152 card has requested a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).” [Emphasis added.]
Of course, this is bullshit. The UFC is completely capable of disclosing that information. The UFC simply will not disclose if a fighter requests a TUE. Which is strange, given that Dana White seems to be such a fan of the practice. If TRT is “great,” “absolutely fair,” and “legal,” why bother with the secrecy? It appears to be a tacit admission that the process is, at best, ethically dubious. Which it is – it allows a select group of fighters who possess naturally lower levels of testosterone, possibly resulting from prior steroid use, to use synthetic testosterone during their training camps and daily lives so long as they bring their testosterone levels within normal limits by the time of their fights. Functionally, it’s the same thing as a steroid cycle.
The only positive about TRT is that it’s public. But for UFC 152, thanks to the incompetency of the Ontario Athletic Commission and the UFC’s suspect disclosure policies, it won’t be. You would think that if you had an aging fighter who has bulked up almost twenty pounds from his previous bout – while training with, among others, Alistair Overeem – and is fighting in the main event, you’d want to alleviate any suspicions among observers. But this is the UFC we’re talking about. They don’t handle suspicion; they dismiss it and anyone who bothers to express it.