NSAC votes unanimously to ban testosterone-replacement therapy, UFC follows
In a stunning reversal of policy, the Nevada State Athletic Commission today voted unanimously to ban therapeutic-use exemptions for testosterone-replacement therapy.
Moving forward, all fighters who wish to receive permission to undergo hormone replacement will not be allowed to apply for the exemption, and previous applicants will not be allowed another one.
NSAC commissioner Raymond “Skip” Avansino proposed the ban and said the commission does not have the resources to effectively monitor exemptions. NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar added the commission’s previous exemption process took up too many resources for too little payoff.
Commissioners Avansino and Pat Lundvall also ventured that the NSAC is under no obligation to honor exemptions issued by other states.
The UFC on Thursday released an official statement supporting the ban not long after the NSAC made its ruling.
“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),” the statement read. “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.”
The ban comes two months before UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort was set to apply for an exemption for the TRT he has undergone since 2011. Belfort’s wife and manager, Joana Belfort, did not respond to a request for comment.
Belfort is scheduled to face middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 173 this May in Las Vegas, and has come under fire for his use of TRT. His application for an exemption was expected to be a contentious one, given he tested positive for elevated testosterone in Nevada in 2006 and was fined and suspended by the NSAC.
UFC light heavyweight Chael Sonnen was the most recent fighter to receive an exemption for TRT for his fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 167 this past November. A total of six fighters have received an exemption in Nevada: Dan Henderson, Shane Roller, Todd Duffee, Frank Mir, Forrest Griffin and Sonnen.
Stay tuned to MMAjunkie for more details on this story as it develops, including an official response from the UFC.
(Pictured: Vitor Belfort)
(Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, to include official statement from UFC.)