Some big news out of California today, as it appears that the California State Athletic Commission has taken a huge step towards legalizing the therapeutic use of testosterone and marijuana in mixed martial arts competition. SI.com was the first to break the news:
The California State Athletic Commission voted on Monday to approve an amendment that allows therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for combat sports’ athletes who use drugs currently banned by the state agency for medical purposes, including testosterone and marijuana.
To be adopted into state law, the amendment’s verbiage must now be reviewed and approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs and then the state’s Office of Administrative Law, a process that could take months or even years, if it passes at all.
OK, so it’s not as big of news as one could have hoped, but it’s something, right? Then again, depending on your stance on testosterone replacement therapy (or marijuana for that matter), this could be a step in the wrong direction for the sport of MMA. Personally, I could care less if someone smokes a little weed in the off season; the fact that it is still demonized by some in our current over-prescribed, pill-popping culture is nothing short of ridiculous. As for TRT, well, it seems a little odd to me that some of the most physically fit athletes in the world would have a testosterone problem to begin with, but I’m just going to plead ignorance and leave it at that.
Few can forget who spearheaded this amendment in the first place, none other than the man with the “biggest arms in MMA,” Chael Sonnen. Following his fifth round submission loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 117, Sonnen’s post-fight drug test came back positive for an absurdly high amount of testosterone. Chael would appeal the one year suspension he received thereafter on the grounds that he had received an exemption from the previous commission for his medical diagnosed case of hypogonadism. When no such paperwork was found by newly appointed CSAC executive director George Dodd, Sonnen’s suspension was reduced then quickly reinstated.
Believe it or not, among the fighters to receive therapeutic exemptions for testosterone was Dan Henderson before his fight with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139:
Dodd told SI.com in December that Henderson’s rigorous approval process served as a test case that the commission used to evaluate its proposed TUE requirements.
Like Henderson, one of three fighters approved for a testosterone TUE in Nevada, Dodd said future TUE candidates would need to provide extensive medical records documenting past use of the drug for medical purposes.
For a testosterone exemption specifically, Dodd said an applicant would be asked to provide blood tests prior to (30 days before) and after a contest to ensure levels were within acceptable margins. Dodd said that all materials submitted would be reviewed by the CSAC’s medical advisory board, which added an endocrinologist to its ranks on Monday for such cases.
Definitely an interesting development in this whole TRT issue to say the least. And though nothing was mentioned about marijuana usage in the article, we will keep you informed as to any developments regarding this legislation as they develop.