In a move that very few saw coming, the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Thursday took the unprecedented step of banning applications for therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy by combat sports athletes.
TRT has long been a hot-button issue and had come to be widely regarded by some as “legalized cheating.”
The therapeutic use of testosterone replacement therapy is a legitimate practice for those with a medical need for the treatment, but its use in mixed martial arts has come under tremendous scrutiny due in large part to its disproportionate use in comparison to athletes in most other sports.
While the NSAC’s move on Thursday was just the first domino to fall, it gained immediate support from many UFC fighters and other mixed martial artists, as well as the most prominent promotion in the world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
After the NSAC voted unanimously to ban TUE applications for TRT, UFC president Dana White quickly issued the following statement, putting the full weight of the promotion behind the commission’s decision:
“The Ultimate Fighting Championship fully supports the decision made today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the immediate termination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). We believe our athletes should compete based on their natural abilities and on an even playing field. We also intend to honor this ruling in international markets where, due to a lack of governing bodies, the UFC oversees regulatory efforts for our live events. We encourage all athletic commissions to adopt this ruling.”
It’s too soon to measure the full fallout that the NSAC’s move will have, but the commission has long been, alongside the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, one of the leading drivers for the direction of mixed martial arts regulation. Most eyes from other athletic commissions tend to fall squarely on the example set forth by the NSAC and NJSAC when it comes to unifying the regulation of the sport.
With the UFC quickly falling in lockstep with Nevada, most other regulators and promoters are likely to follow.