March 15, 2013

UFC president Dana White hopes to ban testosterone replacement therapy from MMA. (AP) UFC president Dana White hopes to ban testosterone replacement therapy from MMA. (AP)

MONTREAL -- From Chael Sonnen to Forrest Griffin, Frank Mir to Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort to Rampage Jackson and beyond, mixed martial artists at the sport’s highest level have successfully persuaded state athletic commissions to OK medical exemptions for them to use testosterone replacement therapy.

But Dana White has a different message for those fighters: “If you have to use TRT, you’re probably too old to be fighting.”

During a conversation with reporters following Thursday’s press conference to promote this weekend’s Georges St-Pierre-Nick Diaz title bout, the UFC president clarified his recent statements that indicated he had changed his stance on the controversial practice. He’d long been content to go along with the athletic commissions’ approach, which is to test fighters’ TRT levels at the time of competition. But now White believes that’s not good enough.

“If you put in for a TRT exemption, we’re going to make sure you’re not using this much TRT [in training] and then show up [for your fight] with this much,” he said. “The guys that do that, that are on TRT, their training camp is a lot easier than the guy who’s all natural. The bangs, the injuries, all the [expletive] that goes on -- they’re recovering 10 times faster than the guy who’s not doing it. So we’re going to [expletive] test these guys [in training camp] and make sure that it’s not happening, until TRT exemptions do not happen anymore.”

That’s White’s ultimate goal: to rid the sport of TRT altogether. “I’m going to do everything I can to start lobbying against TRT,” he said, “and see if we can get the athletic commissions to change their position on it.” Of course, as much as he’s seen as the de facto commissioner of the sport of MMA, White recognizes that the decision rests not with him but with state officials. “I don’t know how many times I tell you guys: They don’t give a [expletive] what I think,” he said. “They regulate me. There’s only so much you can do.”

--Jeff Wagenheim

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