It has been quite the week for doping headlines in MMA. Starting with the Association of Ringside Physicians call for banning Testosterone Replacement Therapy to the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s admission of the influence of money there has been no shortage of publicity.
To cap it all off individuals from one of the most prominent athletic commissions, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, have highlighted the neglectful PED testing standards that exist in MMA.
In response to scrutiny of their decision to grant a testosterone Therapeutic Use Exemption to Frank Mir the NJSACB defended their practices and deflected attention to athletes who do not request TUE’s. In the process they made the blunt admission that testing standards for doping in MMA are all but useless.
BloodyElbow reports that Nick Lembo of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board admitted to having standards “akin to a don’t ask don’t tell” policy for most combatants.
The article goes on to quote Dr. Sherry Wulkan, lead MMA/kickboxing ringside physician NJSACB, and Association of Boxing Commissions Medical Committee Co-Chair with the following insightful admissions:
…some athletic commissions have been lax in their drug testing for PEDs for all athletes…
The glaring and overlooked concern… is the fact that the large majority of athletes using performance enhancing drugs are not, in fact, subject to ANY testing because measurements of PED are minimal or non-existent in many jurisdictions.
Perhaps it might have been more prudent for the ARP to endorse the concept of regular and stringent drug testing for PED’s via hair, blood and urine by all athletic commissions.
The ARP may have placed the cart before the horse by cracking down on TUE applicants who freely and voluntarily come forward seeking medical clearance at a time when commissions are still granting TUEs, while ignoring the fact that those who are not forthcoming are either not tested or are tested in a fashion that is not designed to catch PED usage, or testing that it fraught with obvious and glaring weaknesses.
Why does all this matter? Appreciating that Athletic Commissions expose themselves to legal liability for negligent testing and licencing standards, having prominent admissions of the influence of money and to “obvious and glaring weaknesses” in current testing standards can go a long way should a lawsuit ever arise following tragedy in the ring or cage. This issue will not go away until sensible reforms are implemented. Until then anabolic steroids in MMA will continue to generate unwanted headlines as they did this week taking top billing in the first 4 stories on the MMA Underground.