Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson revealed yesterday that he had been undergoing testosterone replacement therapy for his fight with Ryan Bader at UFC 144 in Japan last weekend.
The revelation sparked an immediate furore and reignited the debate about the use of TRT by mixed martial artists and professional athletes. UFC president Dana White only heard about it when asked to comment on the Jackson’s remarks by reporters in Australia, where the UFC is staging an event this weekend.
He told Fighters Only that while he had no specific knowledge of Jackson’s TRT medication at that moment, he is in no position to raise any objections to the therapy as it is allowed - by way of exemption - by athletic commissions all over the US.
“If its legal, if you can do it and the athletic commission allows you to do it and you come in at the right levels, what kind of stance am I going to take on it?” he said when asked whether he has any issues with use of TRT by fighters.
“But what we are doing right now, and I don’t know if you know this, but out new policy is if you come in and you sign a new deal with us you get tested for everything. And if you test positive you are not going to get signed by the UFC.
“We are the most regulated sport on earth. Meaning that the government comes in and tests these guys every time they fight. If baseball, football and basketball went through the same thing, there would be no football, baseball or basketball. Guys would be ‘popping’ and out every weekend. [MMA] is the most regulated sport on earth.”
“The athletic commission regulates what these guys do and how they do it. What we do is when guys come in and sign new contracts we test these guys and we also test guys who come in to The Ultimate Fighter. Guys who come into The Ultimate Fighter, we test them before they even get on the show.
“So if you look at what we do as a sports organisation to stop this stuff from happening, because if you take a guy who is talented enough to be in the UFC yet for some stupid reason this guy is using or abusing performance enhancing drugs, what is does is the long-term effects of this, when guys get off it, they stop producing testosterone. It fu-ks with guys mentally, physically emotionally.
“It does so much damage to a professional athlete, there is no way in hell we want guys coming and doing this stuff. The problem is, it happens. Its happening out there. What we want to try and do is stop this before it gets to a point where young guys get damaged that could have gone on and had great careers in the UFC.”
Jackson said yesterday that he began using TRT when he was referred to doctors for an assessment of a long-term knee injury he had been carrying. After blood tests, it was concluded that he had low testosterone levels and that this was hampering the healing process.
Several weeks of treatment had beneficial effects on the knee injury but Jackson says that it also caused him to gain weight in both muscle and water, which he blames for missing weight for the Bader fight by five pounds. The fight went ahead at catch weight and Bader won a decision.
Dana White spoke with Daniel Herbetson