NSAC review policies for TRT exemptions, introduce new testing method


Keith Kizer and the NSAC held a meeting yesterday to review the current rulings on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and marijuana use. The main point of the meeting was to discuss whether levels of testosterone to epitestosterone (T to E) should be lowered to a 4:1 ratio from the current 6:1 ratio.

The current acceptable ratio for the World Anti-Doping Agency is 4:1 and the NSAC are discussing moving to the WADA standard, tightening rules and introducing a new method of drug testing.

The new method that they are looking to implement is called a Carbon Isotope Test or CIR. What does a CIR do differently from a normal dope test? It will help to establish a deeper understanding of the reason behind the high or low levels of testosterone.

For instance if a fighter tests abnormally high for testosterone levels, the CIR can give conclusive results as to whether the test subject has used a PED or synthetic steroid. Such testing methods were used recently in the case of Lavar Johnson, who was recently cut by the UFC, as Marc Ratner VP for regulatory affairs for the UFC explained at the meeting:

“He was tested on the card in Anaheim which was about a month ago and the urine test came back the commission said there is a possibility of a positive here, we’re going to have this CIR test, carbon test (done). It took about not quite a month but about 17 days before we got results.  It was $700 for that test.  It’s a pretty expensive test,”

Obviously at $700 per test this may not be a method that is quickly snapped up by athletic commissions country-wide, but it is a start in the right direction. The NSAC did not, however, rule to bring the acceptable level down to 4:1 as of yet.

The reasoning behind this is that any fighters test’s which do not break the current limit of 6:1 are not presented to the comission, meaning the commission does not know at what level most fighters are currently at. Dr Trainor explained more about the subject during the meeting:

“If they could get us the ones that are below 4 to 1 that are normal, I’m curious myself just to see what they come out as.  Are most of our competitors 1:1? Or are most of our competitors higher? I think that might be some useful information, especially if numbers of like 300 or 400 (fighters’) actual samples.  That could help us make our decisions further with where we want to go with our T to E ratio.”

A sport like MMA being associated with steroid use, in my opinion, is not a good thing. MMA is striving to become more of a mainstream sport, and is yet to be widely accepted as a legitimate sport. As long as there is steroid or PED USAge in MMA there will always be ammunition for narrow minded anti-MMA screwballs to blast the sport with.

Dana White recently revealed his opposition to TRT and PED’s so I wonder will Zuffa invest in the CIR testing methods, as a sort of investment in the future? Surely being able to guarantee that the biggest MMA organization is full of clean, steroid free, professional athletes will help the sport grow 10 fold.

Another valid point to look at is the fact that the shelf life for most MMA fighters is quite short. Guys like Dan Henderson, Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort and many others may not have been able to compete at such a high level for so long without TRT. But surely if your body says it is time to quit then you should right?

I don’t have the answers and it would seem that the NSAC don’t have them yet either. They will review their policies once again after further testing.

  • Keith Kizer looks like the guy frm scrubs

  • Direct question to NSAC, does the commission sanction TRT, regardless of whether or not it falls within acceptable limits?

    Or to put it more bluntly, if Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen, along with their doctors, walked into the commission boardroom and were administered TRT, by said doctors and then subsequently tested by the commission's testing body and then those test came back within the sanctioned or allotted (for) limits, the commission would….what? I'm unsure of what the answer would be, here.

    Is this a question of limits or allowance?

    If it's a question of limits, then set the limit and set the therapy. Set the drugs, which are sanctioned to be used and sanction the doctors, which are allowed to administer the therapy and all with full-disclosure and in real-time. Fighters and Fans, should not be finding out about TRT exemptions post-facto, of an event having taken place. Post-fight positive tests will / would kill our sport. It will make the outcomes un-reliable. It would certainly kill the betting line.

    If, however, it's a question of allowance and it's determined or ruled, that TRT is "not" allowed, then, to me, a much better test and one that is probably and appears to be a great deal cheaper, would be / is, a lie-detector test.

    As it stands right now, I have no idea as to what NSAC's position is and to be honest, if I had to gauge it, I'd describe it as a whole lot of fence sitting and hand-ringing. Make a call, pick a path, set the rules and enforce it rigorously. This isn't rocket science.

    • I think it's just a question on limits here, which is a good first step.

      It will take a long time to decide who qualifies for TRT and who should be stopped from being given the allowance, so in the mean time lower the levels so that even if you are taking it when you shouldn't be, you aren't getting as much of an advantage.

      • Keith there should be no argument on this. Not an argument of limits or allowance. TRT is akin to steroids. You only had to take one look at Belfort against Bisping to see what abusers can legally get away with. Dana should simply ban TRT use from the UFC and conduct a UFC programme of rigorous testing. That would dent profits of course and no doubt see a good chunk of the roster banned.

      • .
        @ Keith
        If I was required to make a ruling on the issue, I could do so and I could do so and argue it, from either position. This is very much a POV subject, IMO.

        With that said, I still hear that seminal credo in my head that our sport of MMA and all of its subset components, are built around, on and are about, skill. Not size or strength. True, that it may be or is, beneficial to be bigger and stronger than your opponent, none-the-less we have been taught and shown a philosophy, whereby that axiom is not always true.

        Anderson Silva is one of the finest examples of that credo. Although a tall man, standing nearly 6 ft. 2 inches tall and even carrying decent weight (off fight) @ somewhere around 225 – 230, by fight night and post weight cut, The Spider is a slender and not particularly muscular, diminutive 185. Yet, somehow, without the use of any steroid or TRT for his nearly 38 year old physique, Silva dominates and makes even good fighters look bad, feeble and often times slow, stupid and sluggish. It’s all skill. Damn!

        So, the question becomes (perhaps), if the best or possible the best in the business and assuredly one of the elder statesmen of the sport doesn’t need TRT, then why should anyone else need it or be allowed to use it?

        Taking all of into consideration, it would be sad if this debate morphed into some re-visitation, 1980s' cold-war chemistry quest, where every fighter was spending more time working on chemical advantages from a lab, as opposed to technical advantages from the Dojo.

        • You make a very good point, the fact is Andy is a natural 185 or 205er. which works well for him, his tall frame allows him to put on or gain lean weight rather then have to struggle up or down a weight. i'm a big fan of natural weight fighters

    • @MMA Truth,

      Brilliant position – thanks.

    • The TRT debate is both overcomplicated and underregulated.

      If bringing levels above mid range is advantageous than having regular testing each week or fortnight throughout a camp seems like a good solution.

      Alot of these guys who are TRT candidates make a hell of alot of money eg Vitor, Chael.. Whats wrong with taking $5,000 from their 1 million pay cheques to have them thoroughly checked throughout camp to ensure their opponents are not disadvantaged.

      There is no problem with TRT providing it is monitored….******* in a cup after a fight does not show six months of abuse….

      The commission needs to get tough, place the onus on the fighters to pay for regular screening.

      commission should not start getting involved in interrogating fighters for past steroid use and base approvals on these irrelevant things.. The commission need to deal with the present, not whether a fighter shrivelled his **** in the past.

      • @myself….apparently I can't even write piss-ing in a cup on thsi forum without being ***** slapped with a *************

  • Good start but I don't understand why you are allowed anything more than a 1:1 level?

    If TRT is used fairly to level the playing field then that's a stronger argument for it but when it is being used to get a huge advantage rather than making it even, that is clearly just cheating and needs to be stopped.

    • When you exercise a lot your body produces more testosterone. That's why athletes have higher than 1:1 ratio. If they are under 1:1 it can also mean they have been producing too much testosterone recently (Steroids, TRT, overtrained, etc.)

      • Thanks, that's the sort of answer I was looking for.

        Does it naturally go a lot higher than 1:1, to the heights of the mentioned 6:1 or 4:1 marks?

  • So are they gonna have specialist check out the fighters to determine if a fighter should be granted TRT ? Are they gonna randomly test fighters who are allowed to have TRT ? I doubt it. I just can't accept a little being done when the correct procedures for granting TRT exist already. The fact the NSAC have accept higher levels than ''WADA'' at this point is laughable, they set the standard to follow and do more than anyone to catch drug cheats. I think every government around the world should enforce Olympic testing methods by law on all Athletic commissions and other body responsible for regulating ANY sport.

  • Still cant test for GH…and geez who cares…bunch of winey guys these days…
    there was a reason pride was the best…