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Testosterone Replacement Therapy: What’s Next?

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Testosterone replacement therapy seems be to be the hot topic these days.

In any sport, there always comes a time when there’s a “passing of the torch,” when older athletes let the younger athletes take over their reigns in hopes that they can continue to make the sport successful.

We have seen in basketball, football and baseball. That used to be the trend in mixed martial arts as well: at UFC 129 Randy Couture passed the torch to Lyoto Machida in the legends final UFC bout.

Testosterone is important for maintaining muscle bulk, producing red blood cells, bone growth and an overall sense of well-being. Testosterone starts to naturally decline in males after age 30, this could pose a problem for “older” fighters.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy has allowed older fighters who are losing their prime the ability to continue to compete with the young guns. Vitor Belfort has been publicly scrutinized by Luke Rockhold for his use of TRT.

The state commissions are responsible for the exemptions for the fighter that is looking to receive TRT. When the commission allows the use of TRT, they allow a ratio of 6:1. That means you can have enough testosterone for up to 6 human beings in your system and still be cleared to compete.

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The two famous fighters who got caught for abusing testosterone were Alistair Overeem and Chael Sonnen. Look what became of their careers after they were caught. Sure they had to deal with a suspension, but when they return they were back at the top of contenders in their respected weight classes.

Chael Sonnen has received two title shots in two different weight classes since being caught with a testosterone level of 16.9 :1 after his bout with Anderson Silva at UFC 117.

Alistair Overeem had a level of 14:1 during his random drug test at the UFC 146 pre-fight conference, ultimately resulting in being kicked off the card where he was scheduled to main event against Junior Dos Santos.

Dana White thinks that using TRT is a form of cheating, and he’s not alone in his thinking. It’s hard to classify as cheating when some of the fighters legitimately need TRT to compete with the younger fighters. Future discussions will have to take place about how the UFC can help regulate TRT usage as well as the legitimacy of a fighter’s need to boost their testosterone. Could this lead to earlier retirement for fighters?

  • Matt Watasha Wood

    Either ban it or quit complaining. It’s sad, but stepping down is part of the game. Athletes in all sports have to at some time. Vitor got me into MMA, but there comes a time when you have to realize what is right and what is wrong. When to compete and when to accept the end.

    • Alex Briggs

      Then what happens to the men who need TRT for hormone imbalances or E.D?

      • Matt Watasha Wood

        Like I said either ban it or quit complaining. If these are legit reasons to take it then it can’t be complained about. The problem is who decides if they really need it or not? They have set levels for those that do take it, right? Can anyone take it as long as they don’t exceed the 6:1 ratio? If not then they should be. To me it’s about making this even out for all parties involved. That said it’s obvious that Vitor is taking it to stay competitive…

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