What’s The Deal With TRT Use in MMA?
So today we find out that one of the fighters from UFC 159 Pat Healy has been suspended for the use of marijuana. This is nothing new in the MMA community as we all know Dana White has spoken out about marijuana use. The question that still remains is if these guys are getting popped for weed (which Healy stands to lose his fight of the night bonus, a 90 day suspension and no decision on his fight with Jim Miller), what about TRT use? Tons of notable fighters have been linked to TRT use like Chael Sonnen and even Vitor Belfort who will fight at this weekends UFC 160 has admitted that he and many of the older fighters are all using the testosterone replacement therapy. In a sense this use of TRT is allowing fighters to compete at a high level when their body starts to lose testosterone which all men do after their 30’s.
Vitor is 36 and looks amazing. Even his upcoming opponent Luke Rockhold a former Strikeforce Champion was reported as saying "Look at how he looks at . You can't tell me that at his age, something like that looks natural."
The main issue with TRT / Weed issue can be summed up in one sentence. Weed is still illegal in most places. Period. Nothing more needs to be said. I’m not going to stand on a pedestal about my positions on marijuana but you know if you do something illegal and get caught you suffer the consequences. Now I won’t agree with the amount of money that most of these guys are being fined but that's not the point of this column. What really is in question is the fact that TRT use is legal in MMA even though fighters are constantly pointing out the advantage it holds. Even longtime MMA commentator Kenny Florian insists that most of these fighters need to retire. He was recently on MMAjunkie and had this to say
"If you're not able to produce the testosterone ... or you have low testosterone, then perhaps you should retire. Simple as that." he goes on to say
"If you can't compete at a certain level, that's what your body does," he said. "Eventually as you get older, you don't produce as much testosterone. There comes a time when you need to retire. For those who are using, I think it's a huge advantage. Of course it's an advantage."
When you break it down TRT is primarily used in training to help with the recovery. As an aspiring bodybuilder i’m aware of many natural and unnatural testosterone boosters and one thing that remains constant is the more test in your system the easier it is to recover. Does this give an unfair advantage in the ring? Yes it does in regards to the shape of the fighter but in regards to a skill advantage it does nothing. TRT should not be looked at in the same light as steroids or HGH in other sports but the constant complaints from fighters now on it could push it into that realm. Look we all love these guys and want them to go out on their own terms and finish out their careers but this is fighting so that's just not going to happen. Another thing thats not going to happen anytime soon is banning of TRT use. With the amount of scheduled fights and training these fighters are doing as MMA is being pushed into the spotlight it is becoming harder to make it through these camps unscathed but thats one of the things we love about the sport. We know cutting weight sucks, we know the pre fight camps are hard but that's what makes MMA fighters stick out as compared to other athletes. I personally would like to see some type of policy implemented on TRT use but that is way above my pay grade so until then we just have to hope what we already know. That the most skilled fighter should win the match, not the guy on TRT.