The Nevada State Athletic Commission took a huge step on Thursday when it banned testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) from combat sports, most notably MMA and boxing.
TRT has become a huge issue in MMA over the past few years as several of the UFC’s top fighters have received therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) to use testosterone as they prepare for fights. Fighters will see doctors because they have low testosterone levels and many of them have received medical approval to use testosterone, which is pretty much a legal way of them using steroids.
The issue is that many fighters have low testosterone levels because of past abuse of steroids, not because they have grave medical issues that were unavoidable. Nevada has granted exemptions to Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Frank Mir, Shane Roller, Todd Duffee and Forrest Griffin in the past. Brazilian fighter Vitor Belfort (pictured) is currently the most notable fighter who has been using TRT; he has received exemptions for his last three fights, all of which took place in Brazil. Belfort tested positive for steroids in 2006 and was suspended for nine months.
UFC boss Dana White has not liked TRT and says the UFC will follow Nevada by banning TRT in international fights where there is no governing body. The UFC will hope other states follow Nevada and ban TRT as well.
This is an excellent step by Nevada and should help ensure more of a level playing field, especially in a combat sport where a fighter on TRT can do serious damage to an opponent. TRT has been just like a fountain of youth for old fighters, and now they will likely have to age more properly rather than apply for an exemption to use testosterone.