By Gabriel Montoya
Late Monday evening I received a statement from anti-doping activist Victor Conte regarding the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Kieth Kizer’s decision to allow MMA fighter Chael Sonnen a therapeutic use exemption for synthetic testosterone, a performance enhancing drug found in a urine sample taken March 19, 2012 from WBA/IBF junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson.
From Jared Jones of cagepotato.com’s account of the NSAC’s hearing on Monday:
[“To kick off the afternoon, Sonnen was successful in achieving a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy, and now joins the like of Dan Henderson, Todd Duffee, and Shane Roller in the select group of MMA fighters to receive an exemption from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. As far as interesting developments go, Sonnen admitted that he injected himself with testosterone, stating,”I administer two times a week, every Sunday and Thursday. It’s self-injected intermusculatory and [I] consider it to be a prescription.” When Commissioner Pat Lundvall asked why Sonnen had never listed using testosterone on his medical forms over the past few years, Sonnen stated that he was under the impression that it wasn’t something that needed to be disclosed. He also stated under oath that he “has never taken anabolic steroids.”
In another interesting moment, which took place before the hearing truly began, Keith Kizer likened TRT to “the new Viagra” as doctors continue to push it on the population and that “Therapuetic Use Exemptions do not allow you to test outside of normal ranges. It only allows for presence of synthetics.
And with that, Sonnen was granted an exemption on the grounds that he will undergo several blood tests both before and after UFC 148 to monitor his injections. The commission then asked if Sonnen would help them as an adviser on TRT in the future, which he gladly accepted.”]
Lamont Peterson was injected with an 800 mg slow release synthetic testosterone pellet derived from soy (plant-based synthetic testosterone is either made from soy or yams) that was supposed to last 4-5 months according to Dr. John A. Thompson of the Desert Oasis Clinic in Las Vegas, NV. Peterson will have a hearing on June 13 in order to clarify his case.
Chael Sonnen on the other hand is another case. Following a 2010 UFC bout with Anderson Silva in California, Sonnen’s T/E (testosterone to epitestosterone) levels were nearly 17:1. The average human is 1:1. Sonnen falsely claimed he had a testosterone TUE due to a medical need for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Sonnen went so far as to claim to California State Athletic Commissioner George Dodd that he had gotten a verbal affirmative from NSAC’s Keith Kizer who consequently called Sonnen on his lies. Sonnen received ultimately a six month suspension.
As Jared Jones points out, not much time has elapsed since Sonnen attempted to sully Mr. Kizer’s name. And yet, Mr. Kizer has seen fit to grant a man who lied about him giving a verbal testosterone TUE an actual TUE for testosterone. He’ll be competing soon in UFC 148. And not just that, the Nevada state Athletic Commission would like to hire Sonnen to work as a TRT expert.
“I am simply stunned that the NSAC granted Chael Sonnen a TUE for testosterone use today,” states Conte. “My opinion is that this ruling is outrageous. The bizarre part is that the NSAC rendered the condition of testing him after his upcoming fight to assure that his testosterone levels are not elevated. Anyone who understands how anabolic steroids work knows that an athlete does not perform at their peak while using steroids. For example, sprinters actually run much slower while on steroids because they cause muscle tightness. Steroids work by a process known as cell volumization and this makes an athlete's muscles tight or "pumped," which actually reduces functional muscle performance. The peak performance gains come 10-14 days after tapering off of testosterone. This is when an athlete becomes much more explosive and significantly faster. So testing an athlete at a time when he has tapered off a substance on purpose to maximize the performance benefits makes little sense. The period from 10 weeks out from a fight until 2 weeks out should be the targeted drug testing period. The NSAC seems to lack a basic understanding of the way testosterone is used by athletes. I also highly question that Sonnen was being truthful when he testified that he had not previously used anabolic steroids or testosterone. I believe the ruling made by the NSAC in the Sonnen case was not in the best interest of combat sports and it will encourage other fighters to use this approach to circumvent drug testing.”
Meanwhile, Nick Diaz of the UFC received a 12 month suspension plus 30% of Diaz’ UFC 146 purse, according to Mr. Jones. Diaz wasn’t on testosterone. He tested positive for marijuana, although Diaz is a repeat offender.