White backs bid for testosterone ban
UFC president Dana White has given his backing to a bid to eliminate testosterone replacement therapy in mixed martial arts.
The Association of Ringside Physicians, involved in both boxing and MMA, have issued a statement calling for the elimination of therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone, which has proved to be a thorny issue in MMA for years.
And White admitted he was "thrilled" by the move, insisting the UFC can't be held solely responsible for eliminating the use of steroids in the sport, and that government athletic commissions should close the loophole.
"The doctors came out and said they want to ban it? Well, that's the answer," White told The Associated Press on Monday. "It's legal in the sport. The commissions let you do it. You get an exemption, and you have to be monitored and all the stuff that's going on, but if they're going to do away with it? There you go. It's a problem solved.
The ARP's statement said: "Steroid use of any type, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risk to combat sports athletes and their opponents. TRT in a combat sports athlete may also create an unfair advantage contradictory to the integrity of sport."
The likes of veteran stars Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort and Frank Mir have all been given exemptions by athletic commissions in recent years to use synthetic testosterone before fights.
The exemptions were granted ostensibly for medical reasons, including supposed deficiencies in naturally occurring testosterone. This has brought criticism from many medical professionals who have questioned the legitimacy of such exemptions for professional cage fighters.
"The use of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified," the ARP's statement added.
White insists the UFC are doing everything they can to test fighters.
"We couldn't be more proactive," White said. "Drugs hurt us. Hurts our sport. Let alone our perception in the media and everything - it destroys great athletes. Drugs destroy great athletes, because once you start on them, you can never get off them. You're on them for the rest of your career."
However Georges St-Pierre, the UFC's longtime welterweight champion before he stepped away from the sport late last year, recently called the UFC's current testing policies ineffective and beatable.