Several high profile fighters have admitted to using the program including Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Dan Henderson, and Nate Marquardt, and athletic commissions have created exemptions in certain cases to allow competitors to use TRT therapy when necessary in competition.
UFC president Dana White has had to deal with the TRT subject on more than one occasion, and believes in its purest form the therapy is good for those who need it, but when it becomes legalized cheating, that’s when it crosses a line.
“I know this is a very touchy subject and everybody has different opinions on it, but I actually think that it’s great that technology has this thing now where guys have made mistakes, they messed up, they used steroids when they were younger, and all this other stuff, that this testosterone replacement therapy can actually help people who need it,” White said recently.
“Then you get into a situation now where as in everything, you get guys who are out there doing it when they don’t need to do it, and they’re doing it to enhance their performance and it pisses me off. It really, really pisses me off.”
The TRT conversation was sparked again when UFC 146 main event fighter Alistair Overeem tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone, which forced him out of his scheduled bout against Junior dos Santos on May 26 in Las Vegas.
Ultimately, Overeem’s defense for the elevated levels of testosterone stemmed from an injection he received to help with a rib injury he suffered. His doctor laced the pain killing cocktail with a water based form of testosterone.
Regardless of why he tested positive, Overeem’s positive test still brought up the controversial subject again and the spotlight in turn refocused on the UFC with many people in the media, as well as fans, asking what could be done to prevent this from happening again?
Well no one is naïve enough to believe that no fighter will ever use performance enhancing drugs again, but according to White, they will get their hands around this thing eventually and curb the usage dramatically.
“There’s a lot of people that like to talk (expletive) about us. We’ve done a lot of great things in the last 11 years with this sport. From building to what it is today, guys making (expletive) loads of money, health insurance for all the fighters, getting on Fox, we’ve done thing people said we would never ever (expletive) do. We’ve accomplished all these things,” said White.
“Whether it’s fighter safety or whatever it is, we always do the right thing. We come out with what I think is the best way to handle it, and believe me when I tell you we are going to (expletive) come down on this thing. We are gonna do it. Is it me running around and testing 375 fighters all over the world? No. You guys can talk all the (expletive) you want about that, it’s not going to happen, but we will figure something out. Maybe it’s WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).”
While White once again shoots down the idea that the UFC will start doing their own independent random testing, he doesn’t want anyone to believe that they simply don’t care, because it’s not true.
Performance enhancing drugs are a black eye on any sport and there is a negative stigma or taint attached to any fighter who has ever tested positive for a banned substance. It also ruins the outcome of big fights or prevents some big fights from ever happening, just like the case of Alistair Overeem at UFC 146.
“We don’t want anybody doing this stuff. We don’t want anyone using banned substances or drugs or anything else. It destroys everything. Not only questions about the credibility of the sport and everything else, but it destroys big fights. It hurts everybody,” White stated.
Ultimately, White wants to believe that all of his fighters are clean and honest about their training and fight preparation. Unfortunately, the truth doesn’t always work that way, and that’s another reason why White was so upset with the Overeem situation, because the bottom line was he felt lied to when he spoke to the heavyweight about his drug usage.
“I like to give guys… with my fighters and everybody with people I meet, I’ve had situations with lots of people, it’s how you (expletive) handle yourself as a man, in life, in business, in everything else,” said White.
“If you sit down and tell me one thing and it’s not true or you do another thing, then (expletive) you. I’m done.”