UFC President Dana White Takes Hardline Stance on TRT Use by Fighters

February 17, 2013
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UFC President Dana White

UFC President Dana White

The last couple of years have seen testosterone replacement therapy run rampant in mixed martial arts.  It recently came to light that Vitor Belfort was on TRT during his win over Michael Bisping on Jan. 19.  Chael Sonnen has used TRT. Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Frank Mir, Alistair Overeem, and Nate Marquardt are others, just to name a few.

Following his UFC on Fuel TV 7 Knockout of the Night finish of Stanislov Nedkov, Tom Watson called TRT use an “epidemic” in the sport and called out the “cheaters.”

“If you want to do it, you can’t put it in your chin and you certainly can’t put it into your heart,” Watson declared. “You want to take drugs? You want to be a cheat? Let me fight you and let’s see what happens.”

During the UFC on Fuel TV 7 post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White said he plans on taking a hardline stance on the controversial therapy’s use in his organization.

“If you asked me three months ago, it’s legal.  It’s sports science, but everybody figures out a way to take a great thing and cheat and make it bad,” said White.

“Those of you who know what testosterone replacement is, if you’re older, your testosterone starts to get lower.  They can give you testosterone to get you back up to (the level of) a 25-year-old.  What guys are doing, I believe guys are doing, is jacking up this stuff through the roof through their entire training camp then getting back down to normal levels right before the fight, which is cheating.  I hate it.  I don’t like it.  I’m going to fight it.  And if you are using TRT in the UFC, we’re going to start testing the (expletive) out of you, through your entire camp,” White added.

Testosterone replacement therapy is legal.  Fighters who are using it apply for a therapeutic use exemption from the athletic commissions.

“We’re regulated by the government.  We have the strictest regulation in sports.  If other sports were under the same regulations as we are, there would be a lot of guys getting busted left and right in other sports.  I’m not taking a jab.  I’m just being honest.  The TRT thing is legal.  The commission lets guys use testosterone replacement therapy.  I believe that guys are cheating on it,” said White.

“I truly believe guys are cheating on it, and I don’t like to see a natural gifted athlete go in and fight against a guy who has been jacked up on TRT for three months.”

Cheating isn’t the only concern White has about TRT.  It’s a relatively new therapy.  Not a lot is widely known about it, and there’s the philosophical question of medically enhancing athletes through hormone therapy.  Just because something is legal, doesn’t always make it right.

“The other problem with TRT, the other problem that I have – You get four guys together, four smart guys who could have an educated conversation about testosterone replacement therapy, they’ll give you four different answers.  When it’s that vague and that many people don’t understand it, nanograms and this ratio to that ratio, and all this (expletive).  When you sit down and you start talking about it, it’s not fair.  It’s not fair.  And if your testosterone level isn’t high enough, maybe you’re too old to fight,” said the UFC president.

White plans to implement testing throughout training camps on fighters using the TRT exemption.

“We’re regulated by the government.  Testosterone replacement therapy is legal.  Well, I think we should test guys all the way up until their fight to make sure that the entire training camp their limits are where they’re supposed to be, they’re at the legal limits their whole camp,” said White.  “These guys that get exemptions for TRT, we’re going to make sure we test you through your entire camp.”

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  • kennybro


  • BigDaddyMMA

    Yea, but do you seriously think their going to cancel a big name fight, if one of the fighters has elevated levels during their training camp? I don’t think so.

    • BigmommaMMA

      You don’t think so? They pulled Overeem during his fight camp with a random drug test. He’s a big name fighter who was supposed to fight for the title.

      • Mike mckinney

        That wasn’t the UFC though. That was the nsac. It will be interesting to see how the UFC goes about knowing whose on it. We have privacy laws.
        If Dana is serious he better go for it before a fighter union developes. Or this might be the move that gets fighters to make one.

        • bmc92

          very true! this could push the fighters to make a union and that would be awful i think. mma would turn out just like boxing it will ruin the sport.

    • Mark McDowall

      By the sound of it I think they are only going to test those fighters who get a TRT exemption, or have popped before. So that means Sonnen, Hendo, Belfort, Griffin, Overeem etc will most likely be put under the microscope.

      Sadly I think it will take a big name fighter getting caught for people to take it seriously. Belfort has already admitted he has a TRT exemption for his fight against Rockhold. You better believe he will be the first fighter to be tested. And they are going to do blood tests not just pee tests so it will give them a more accurate reading.

      • BigmommaMMA

        Just randomly test everyone. I’m not against TRT if used properly. There are people who aren’t athletes who really do need it but it is so easy to abuse. Why do all the people using TRT in the ufc look so jacked and ripped? It’s because they abuse it when they’re not being tested during camp and when they bring down their levels for a drug test they’re allowed to still be 6 times higher than average. That’s bull**** and cheating.

        • Jason Decipher

          You are so right Bigmomma! Who would have thought a small “minority” of TRT users coincidentally are MMA fighters some even former champions!! That’s why my favorite fighter of all time is Bas because he was a champion who NEVER cheated & has ALWAYS had a strong opinion against steroids. He had a good run & retired & still is a bad ass if he wanted to I bet he would put up a good fight but he doesn’t have to fight anymore & still gets PAID! 😉

  • bajafox

    If Dana goes through with these harsh accusations about testing throughout their training camp we can pretty much say goodbye to Hendo vs. Jones

    • adam1848

      Machida is going to take care of that for us.

  • TrTisforHosersEh

    Well that’s cool, would like to see it out of the sport completely, myself.

  • MuayThaiFood

    It’s about time we heard something like this from Dana. Echos my sentiments exactly. If you’re not producing enough T to fight then maybe it’s time to retire. You don’t get all the extra experience that comes with age AND the body of a 25 year old.
    The next thing we need is longer suspensions and fines.

  • Then why aren’t you testing the s*** out of Sonnen?

  • adam1848

    This should have been done years ago.

  • Dontbescaredhomie

    What about the people and fighters who naturally don’t produce enough testosterone, if it’s something completely out of their control, as most things with the body are, how can you call them a cheat?

    There’s obviously people who abuse this (Alistair Overeem) but for the fighters that don’t and it’s a medical necessity in treating hypo-gonadism saying they need to quit or not be involved in the sport of MMA is like telling a diabetic that they can’t have their insulin injection, just think before you class them all as fakes and cheaters…

    • Matte

      That is really really unusual and hardly an argument for keeping legal means of cheating by getting exceptions.

      And for the very rare few that actually suffer that condition naturally it shouldn’t be a problem with regular testing.

    • El Gvapo

      What about all the fighters who aren’t as as strong or fast or skilled as the others? I’d say they should train harder, learn more skills etc rather than just jakk up. It’s sport, the best always have more speed, strength, skill etc than the rest, that’s why they’re the best. And that’s life in general, we’re not all the same, you get dealt a hand when you’re born and you do the best you can with that hand.

    • El Gvapo

      And don’t start spouting that hyper-ball bag bulls***, don’t be that naive. It’s legalised juicing, simple as that.

    • Mark McDowall

      If your body isn’t up to the challenge, you shouldn’t be able to take pills and potions to make your body work better. If your body doesn’t produce the right levels of testosterone to keep you competitive then thats your fault. I can’t run as fast as Usain Bolt, does that mean I should be able to get a 70m head start in the race? No it means I should bust my butt to get better. Not everyone is a gifted athlete like Bones, GSP, Ben Henderson etc. Thats just the facts of life…

      Also you mentioned people who don’t produce enough testosterone normally…that accounts for almost .2% of the population(according to an article I read about this earlier). Funny how alot of MMA fighters are included in that part of the population. Also alot of these fighters are getting these TRT exemptions from doctors that have nothing to do with the field of hormones etc. Rumor has it Vitor got his written by his family pediatrician! Tell me thats not F’in crooked!!

  • leche10

    If TRT is that big of a problem and it makes that much of a difference, then make it illegal. Until then, to persecute the fighters who choose to use this therapy is simply unfair since they are technically doing nothing wrong. Everything Dana White is saying is all assumption when he states, he “knows” fighters are abusing the system. From what I’ve read, TRT is legal and available to all fighters who choose to use it. Let the fighters choose, and those who make the decision not to use TRT shouldn’t throw stones at those who do when TRT is still legal.

  • The Firestarter

    TRT should be allowed. If your older and you don’t produce enough testosterone you should be allowed to take it. Everyone male should do TRT as they get older. Fire not bad cavemen, fire good. Fire friend. Welcome to the future.

  • nowew owkelw

    Is needing TRT to participate in MMA similar to needing viagra?