As fans became aware this afternoon, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has instituted a complete and absolute ban on testosterone replacement therapy or TRT.
No longer will fighters be able to apply to the commission for therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs’) and under no circumstances will any exonerations to the prohibition be made.
In short, NSAC’s new policy on TRT is cut and dried, and very clear; TRT use in the state of Nevada is now a dead issue.
News of the ban appears to have been greeted with universal applause by most, if not all interested parties, and most certainly appears to have pleased the UFC’s management.
As the brand is trying to build MMA into a mainstream sport, TRT and its subsequent use by its fighters, has been always be viewed by the promotion as a hindrance to those efforts. With the new NSAC policies in force, the UFC – and the sport as a whole – can now move forward in that process of building, and without the stigma of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) hanging over their heads.
In review, the new policy levels the playing field for fighters that don’t use TRT and it goes a long way to ensuring that fight outcomes remained certified. Combined, the dyad stands as good reason for all to embrace the new rule.
However, as prohibition failed to stop drinking and the ‘drug war’ has failed to stop people from using narcotics, it’s reasonable to surmise that fighters that are motivated to use PEDs will do so, and regardless of any ramifications. On this point, the new NSAC policies are merely guidelines and not a magical cure-all for making the problem go away.
As to the fighters affected by the new ruling there are a number. However, there is only one that fans are likely to perceive as being truly impacted by it, and that’s middleweight challenger, Vitor Belfort.
Belfort has become the poster child of the TRT issue and for one reason, he’s been winning. Where other fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir, Antonio Silva, Forest Griffin and Ben Rothwell – to name a few – have all used TRT in the past, none of them have used it to the point of either winning or consistently winning, and certainly none have used it to the point of earning a title shot, which, of course, Belfort has.
In short, Belfort is the only successful TRT fighter the sport and as such, many have attributed his success to that of his PED use. However, Belfort’s supporters have always argued that if TRT was such a wonder drug then every fighter taking it should have netted Belfort’s results. However, they haven’t. Defacto, they argue that it’s Belfort’s skill that’s earned him his title shot and not his TRT use.
Alas and however, it now appears that the argument will not only be put to rest, but also to the test. With NSAC’s new TRT policies in place and Belfort set to face middleweight champion Chris Weidman in Las Vegas on May 24th, the ‘Phenom’ will be required to take his UFC 173 title bout ‘clean.’
As to possible outcomes there are, obviously, only two.
In the first scenario, Belfort loses to Weidman, with the net result being that his previous successes are written off as the product of his (Belfort’s) TRT usage. Scenario number two has Belfort beating Weidman, thus proving his (Belfort’s) former TRT use as having had nothing to do with his TRT wins.
Either way, UFC 173 will deliver a verdict on Vitor Belfort and his TRT use. It was the difference, it made no difference. One way or the other fans will finally get the question answered on May 24th.