UFC president Dana White is taking an even stronger stance in his opposition for the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), to the point where he'd like the controversial treatment to be banned from the sport of MMA completely.
In a recent move that contradicted his earlier feelings on the subject, White had a change of heart regarding TRT and now plans on testing any fighter in the UFC using the therapy to a much greater level than before.
All fighters who use TRT have to apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) through whatever state athletic commission they are fighting under, and now the UFC will do additional testing throughout the fighter's training camp to verify their testosterone levels never spike above the legal limits.
"TRT is legal. I told you guys that I don't like it, there's people out there that are cheating on it and I'm going to do everything I can to lobby against TRT and see if we can get athletic commissions to change their position on it," White told reporters after the UFC 158 pre-fight press conference ended.
"I would like all athletic commissions to stop giving TRT exemptions."
One particular name that came up during the conversation on Thursday was former middleweight contender Vitor Belfort, who is a user of TRT currently.
Belfort fought and defeated Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7 in January, and it was revealed post-fight that he was a prescribed user of TRT, as allowed by his doctor. The question then became, should Belfort be allowed to use TRT considering his 2006 suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission after testing positive for steroids?
In an interview with Bleacher Report earlier this month, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer said he doesn't see Belfort being granted an exemption from them because of his prior conviction for steroid usage. While it may not be the cause for Belfort's low testosterone, abuse of performance-enhancing drugs can lead to that issue, and it's a slippery slope to walk down to allow a fighter to use TRT after being suspended for steroid usage.
"I don't see Vitor Belfort getting a TRT exemption from us," Kizer told Bleacher Report. "I really don't, and I feel kind of bad for him in some ways because if he has learned from his mistakes and now he's trying to do it the right way and his levels are low with the treatment, good for him, and I hope he is doing that."
White says that if Belfort is going to insist on continuing his usage of TRT, he will be strenuously tested like any other fighter on the roster that tries to participate in the promotion while using the treatment.
"I don't care where he fights. We're going to test guys all the way up till they fight," White said about Belfort. "It doesn't matter where he fights. If you ask for a TRT exemption, you are going to be tested brutally."
White's point was made even stronger when discussing TRT and it's alleged fountain-of-youth effect on older fighters.
"If he can't stop taking it, maybe it's time to hang them up," said White.
Belfort's next fight will take place in Brazil in May, when he faces former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. It's unknown at this time if Belfort has continued his TRT treatments or has stopped the procedure since his fight against Bisping in January.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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