Before an MRI abnormality prompted his scratch from Bellator 98, ex-champ Joe Warren applied for and received a therapeutic-use exemption for testosterone-replacement therapy, according to the head of the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation.
Warren, who made a triumphant return to the cage at this past Friday's Bellator 101 event, denied submitting an application. But he said he was open to the idea of undergoing TRT.
"It's something I haven't even experimented with yet," he told MMAjunkie.com after his win over Nick Kirk in the opening round/semifinals of Bellator's Season 9 bantamweight tournament. "It's all doctors talking with me and my family physicians. So it's something I'm open minded to, but I'm just not knowledgeable about it enough yet to even talk about it.
"But yeah, we were thinking about getting a little more in depth into it, but my fight was so close that I didn't want to mess with my body."
Warren (9-3 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) contends he wasn't sure if he was going to fight at Bellator 98, which took place Sept. 7 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and didn't ask permission to use prescribed testosterone.
"We sent all our medicals in, and they were sending it back, so there was so much drama that I was just trying to stay focused on training and doing exactly what they asked me to," he said. "I don't run from anything. I want to be legal, I want to be cleared, and I want everything to be on the page."
But according to the Mohegan tribe's athletic director, Mike Mazzulli, Warren was cleared.
"That's completely incorrect," he said when asked about Warren's denial. "I received a TUE from him. I accepted a TUE. It was all filled out by his doctors."
On the advice of a neurologist contracted by the athletic commission, Mazzulli declined to clear Warren for Bellator 98 and placed him on indefinite medical suspension pending medical clearance. Ten days prior to Bellator 101, he cleared Warren to compete after receiving additional medical documentation that proved the fighter was healthy.
Asked whether he would use prescribed testosterone for his next fight, which is expected to come later this year against fellow Season 9 finalist Travis Marx (21-4 MMA, 3-1 BMMA), Warren was unsure.
"It's a health issue," he said. "I'm 37. I feel young. I've never had surgeries. I've never been hurt. But it's just not something from an Olympic standard that you think about. It's legal, but it's something I'm not knowledgeable about enough yet to talk about.
"It's something I'm looking into. I have seen doctors, have them done everything with me. But I'm not to the point yet where I've stepped into it."
If he decides to go ahead with the treatment, Warren would become a high-profile addition to the list of known TRT users in MMA. Bellator heavyweight Lavar Johnson, who is set to make his debut for the Viacom-owned promotion at Friday's Bellator 102, told MMAFighting.comMMAFighting.com that he decided to stop TRT after being suspended for failing to disclose his use.