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Testosterone stand 'thrills' UFC top dog

White applauds MDs' call to ban therapy

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Dana White says banning testosterone replacement therapy in ring sports solves the problem.

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Dana White says banning testosterone replacement therapy in ring sports solves the problem.

LOS ANGELES -- UFC president Dana White is "thrilled" by the Association of Ringside Physicians' call for the elimination of testosterone replacement therapy in mixed martial arts.

White still believes the UFC can't be solely in charge of eliminating steroid users from its bouts, saying government athletic commissions should close the testosterone replacement therapy loophole permanently.

"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 is an association of ringside doctors involved in boxing and MMA -- the so-called combat sports. The organization's consensus statement calls for the elimination of therapeutic-use exemptions for testosterone, a thorny issue in MMA circles for years.

"Steroid use of any type, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risk to combat sports athletes and their opponents," the ARP's statement said. "TRT in a combat sports athlete may also create an unfair advantage contradictory to the integrity of sport."

Several UFC fighters in recent years have been given exemptions by athletic commissions to use synthetic testosterone before their bouts, including veteran stars Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort and Frank Mir. The exemptions were granted ostensibly for medical reasons, including a supposed deficiency in naturally occurring testosterone caused by hypogonadism -- a diminished function of the gonads.

Well before the ARP added its influential voice to the chorus against TRT, many medical professionals have questioned the legitimacy of such exemptions, particularly for professional cage fighters.

"The incidence of hypogonadism requiring the use of testosterone replacement therapy in professional athletes is extraordinarily rare," the ARP's statement said. "Accordingly, the use of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 28, 2014 C8

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