A breaking story coming out of the Nevada Athletic Commission is set to create a stir in the sport of mixed martial arts. The exemptions of Testosterone Replacement Therapy have been banned, leaving fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort et al. unable to apply for the treatment.
TRT has been a topic surrounding the sport for some time now, especially with the failed drug tests of the likes of the aforementioned Sonnen, as well as former WEC champion Brian Bowles and former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem. Now, exemptions have been banned altogether with a zero tolerance policy.
ESPN’s Mike Fish wrote a feature on the amount of TUEs in mixed martial arts being significantly higher than that of other sports such as American football and basketball, and now the action has been taken by the fight capital of the world to ban exemptions altogether.
Fish used Vitor Belfort as the main argument for the piece, stating how he failed a drug test due to steroids earlier in his career and now relies on TRT to fight at a high level. Many speculate that the Brazilian commissions allowing Belfort to use the treatment was the main reason for his three fight win streak (and, incidentally, head kick KO streak) over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson in his native land.
Now, Belfort’s upcoming fight in Nevada against champion Chris Weidman will be the first in which the Brazilian has not used the treatment since the age of 33. Now at 36 years old, it remains to be seen how the former UFC heavyweight tournament winner and light heavyweight champion will perform without a TUE.
With Keith Kizer stepping down from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, this is the first major decision after his decision to leave. The board members voted unanimously that TRT exemptions should be banned, and is instated effective immediately, meaning fighters who past, present and future TUE applicants will be unable to fight in Nevada unless taken off the treatment.
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