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UFC wants to follow Nevada, ban TRT for all international fights

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.

Vitor BelfortTRT 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.

Von Miller reportedly tried to cheat drug test with help of urine collector

Von MillerDenver Broncos linebacker Von Miller reportedly tried to tamper with the NFL’s drug testing process with the help of a urine collector. As evidenced by the fact that he has been suspended, his attempt was obviously unsuccessful.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday that Miller’s actions in trying to corrupt the process likely explain why his suspension was increased from four games to six games so suddenly. The initial diluted sample Miller gave resulted in a four-game suspension, with the 24-year old’s representatives and the NFL Players Association preparing to appeal the penalty at one point. However, the league, the NFLPA and Miller’s reps later became aware that Miller reportedly worked with the collector.

Sources reportedly told Schefter and Mortensen that the urine collector spent time with Miller during the offseason and became “star struck.” The relationship led to the collector agreeing to try to substitute another person’s clean urine for Miller’s. The plan backfired, as a second collector reportedly realized that Miller was not in the city where he supposedly provided the sample.

The collector who allegedly worked with Miller has been dismissed, and the league is looking into the possibility of the issue extending beyond just Miller and the collector in question.

After learning that Miller attempted to corrupt the testing process, the league could have suspended him for a year. Instead, the two sides reportedly reached a settlement on a six-game suspension and Miller was treated as a repeat offender.

Over the past month, we have seen reports about Miller being cited for driving with a suspended license and having a warrant out for his arrest in California. Now this? Hopefully Miller’s parents moving in with him to babysit will help him straighten out his act.

Eric Byrnes: Hall of Fame player from ’70s and ’80s used steroids

Eric ByrnesFormer MLB outfielder Eric Byrnes decried steroid use and lobbied for harsher penalties for drug cheaters in an essay written on his website. He also says a prominent Hall of Fame baseball player from the 1970s and ’80s used steroids.

Byrnes, who played in the bigs from 2000-2010, wrote the following on his site:

Disturbingly, not long ago I was having dinner with a former long time Major League player that spoke about the steroid use of a prominent Hall of Famer that played the majority of his career in the 70′s and 80′s… Ha! Not like I was shocked but damn… So many members of the Hall of Fame, including this character, have recently spoken out and condemned guys who have had ties to performance enhancing drugs, saying there is no place for “cheaters” in the HOF… I just wonder how many of the other guys in the “Hall” were actually cheaters themselves?

This is not the first time we have heard that there is a steroid user in the Hall of Fame; Jose Canseco has said there is a steroids user already in the Hall.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has very specific rules against cheating and considers a player’s character as part of the criteria for admission. No players were elected to the Hall this year because the most accomplished players up for eligibility all had ties to steroids. Most of the sanctity of Cooperstown would be eliminated if it turned out that they had already elected a cheater.

In addition to his revelation about the Hall of Famer who used PEDs, Byrnes explained why he wants harsher penalties for current users who get busted.

[Read more...]

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Alex Rodriguez tells his lawyers to stop threatening New York Yankees

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAlex Rodriguez is hoping for the best possible outcome in his appeal of a 211-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use. He has hired an All-Star team of lawyers than includes top New York criminal defense attorney Joe Tacopina. Since Tacopina came on board, A-Rod’s situation has become about far more than his alleged involvement with Biogenesis.

Rodriguez is trying to prove that he did not interfere with Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis investigation and that he should be treated as a first-time offender, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There have also been reports that he will sue MLB if the suspension is not dropped altogether. Tacopina has even accused the Yankees of trying to sabotage A-Rod by withholding medical records and trying to keep him from playing.

Rodriguez (supposedly) wants those reports to stop.

“I’m shutting it all down, I’m shutting it all down,” he told reporters before Wednesday night’s game, via the NY Daily News. “The focus is to be back on the field. There are so many great stories going on in baseball, and for us, we really just want to focus on playing good baseball, and 100 percent have all the questions be about baseball. If there’s any question in the future that are not about baseball, the interview will end at that moment.”

A-Rod is a distraction. The Yankees are 9-5 in games he has played since he returned, but his teammates and coaches would obviously prefer to be able to focus on baseball rather than deal with the drama of Rodriguez being intentionally beaned by opponents.

“I think it’s the best thing to do for all of us, to focus on the game,” he said. “We’re in the middle of a pennant race. I want to put all the focus back on baseball. … I think the most important thing for us now out of respect to my team, and my manager and my coaches, we’re in the middle of a very important pennant race. We’re playing pretty well right now and we want to keep the focus on the field.”

How convenient. Tacopina would not have gone public with any accusations against MLB or the Yankees if A-Rod didn’t authorize it. Now that most of the dirty laundry has been aired out, Rodriguez is trying to look like the peacemaker who is committed to helping his team win. It’s a bit too late for that.

Yankees president Randy Levine to Alex Rodriguez: ‘Put up or shut up’

Alex RodriguezNew York Yankees president Randy Levine has fired back at Alex Rodriguez in response to strong accusations from A-Rod’s lawyer that claimed the team tried to sabotage the slugger by keeping medical records away from him. Levine’s message was short and simple.

“Alex should put up or shut up,” he told ESPNNewYork.com on Saturday afternoon.

By that, Levine is challenging A-Rod’s lawyer Joe Tacopina to release medical records that support the claim that the Yankees lied to Rodriguez. Tacopina even alleged that Levine told the doctor who was about to perform hip surgery on A-Rod that he never wants to see the 38-year-old on the field again.

“We will put up, mark my words, we will put up,” Tacopina said in response to Levine’s challenge. “[Levine] is always a very big talker, but he is going to be humbled eventually. He is acting in a way that if his bosses and superiors and the Steinbrenner family have any sense of decency, if they are true to what the Yankees’ heritage is, they would be appalled with how their president is acting. We will put up.”

With Rodriguez’s permission, Levine said he is prepared to release medical records dating back to A-Rod’s first hip surgery in 2009 to prove that Tacopina’s assertion is untrue.

“That’s nonsense,” Levine said. “You can’t even respond to a thing like that. “If he really believes that, he should file a grievance for the release of all his medical records. We’re willing to release all of them. All he has to do is say yes and we’ll release them all for everyone to see.”

Levine also said that A-Rod should release records from the treatment he received from his own doctor — which was not authorized by the team — so that everything is out in the open. After New York’s loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, Rodriguez said he would release those records “when the time is right.” Levine also said he is willing to share all of the emails he exchanged with A-Rod to prove he has been one of his biggest supporters.

“It’s quite surprising that now Alex needs a new layer to put out reckless, specious and false allegations that only distract from the only relevant question here, the one he refuses to answer: Did he or did he not use performance-enhancing drugs?” Levine added.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez continues to be inserted into the Yankees’ lineup with a goal of helping the team win. While he does that, New York’s front office is at war with his lawyers. I can only imagine how the rest of the Yankees feel about the never-ending soap opera.

Report: Alex Rodriguez leaked info implicating Ryan Braun, Francisco Cervelli

Alex Rodriguez YankeesJust when we thought the Alex Rodriguez saga could not get any more interesting, a report from “60 Minutes” comes along that indicates A-Rod’s inner circle may be responsible for Ryan Braun and New York Yankees teammate Francisco Cervelli being outed for their involvement with Biogenesis.

Back in January, the Miami New Times published a report that included a spreadsheet which showed Rodriguez and other players’ alleged involvement with performance-enhancing drugs. The hand-written documents came straight from Biogenesis boss Anthony Bosch, but Braun and Cervelli’s names were redacted.

Just days later, Yahoo! Sports followed up with a report that included unredacted versions of the documents. Both Braun and Cervelli were mentioned in the second report. Two sources with “direct knowledge” of the matter reportedly told “60 Minutes” that Rodriguez’s camp leaked the unredacted documents to Yahoo! Sports. A-Rod’s lawyer David Cornwell denied the claim.

“The allegations are untrue and are another attempt to harm Alex — this time by driving a wedge between Alex and other players in the game,” Cornwell said in a statement. “While Alex focuses on baseball and repeatedly states that he is going to respect the appeal process, the drumbeat of false allegations continues.”

[Related: A-Rod says this is the calmest he has felt in his career since Seattle]

Why would A-Rod be so adamant about bringing others down with him? The logical explanation would be that it would take some of the attention off himself, with another superstar like Braun also being tied to Biogenesis. The confusing thing is Rodriguez’s name was listed alongside Braun and other players in the documents, yet he is reportedly fighting to have his entire suspension wiped clean while the other players have accepted their punishment.

The popular belief is that A-Rod was given a longer suspension for interfering with MLB’s investigation. If his camp is found to have leaked documents while the investigation was ongoing, that would not look good for Rodriguez.

H/T Sports Illustrated

John Lackey: Alex Rodriguez should not be playing

John-Lackey-beer-drinking-reports-retardedThe Boston Red Sox are beginning a three-game series against the New York Yankees on Friday night at Fenway Park. John Lackey is scheduled to pitch for Boston on Saturday, but he is not looking forward to facing Alex Rodriguez. It’s not that he fears the Yankees slugger — he just doesn’t think he deserves to be playing in the wake of a 211-game suspension.

“I’ve got a problem with it. You bet I do,” Lackey told the Boston Globe on Thursday, via ESPNBoston.com. “How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he’s playing. I’m not sure that’s right … It’s pretty evident he’s been doing stuff for a lot of years I’ve been facing him.”

Like any other player, A-Rod is entitled to an appeal. He chose not to accept his suspension like the other 12 players who were involved with Biogenesis, which was his right under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players like this Tampa Bay Rays slugger feel that the appeal process should be quicker, which is a legitimate gripe.

Lackey also admitted Rodriguez has been a topic of conversation in the Red Sox clubhouse.

[Related: Former MLB reliever feels cheated by players implicated in Biogenesis]

“Sure, we talk about it,” he said. “But talking to the media about it is a little bit different. People have strong feelings. He took me deep the first time I faced him as a rookie, and he admitted to doing stuff back then. There are a lot of things I want back from him.”

I can see both sides of the argument. You like to stick with the “innocent until proven guilty” thing as much as possible, but Rodriguez is directly affecting the outcome of games as long as he plays. Should he be found guilty and once again outed as a performance-enhancing drug user, plenty of people will feel cheated. The quicker the matter is resolved, the better off everyone will be. Just don’t count on a resolution coming before the end of the season.