At a less than ripe age of 38, Anderson “The Spider” Silva went into a rematch with a primed 29 year old athlete by the name of Chris Weidman at UFC 168 this weekend.
Silva suffered what many are calling a “freak accident” in the ring on Saturday night, when his Fibula and Tibia bones snapped in half when his kick was checked by Weidman, rendering him totally unable to continue the fight and requiring immediate emergency surgery.
This obviously doesn’t seem like big news for any seasoned MMA fan or professional, but one thing we haven’t really looked at is the fact that Anderson Silva was one of the few athletes who was not using TRT for therapeutic or other unspecified purposes. Certainly TRT would be a boost to an athletes performance in many respects but let’s look at one thing in particular. Bone density.
In a former article on bone crushing power we looked at bone remodeling and the life cycle of bone growth through out an individual’s life. According to the research for that article we found that around age 40 the process of bone remodeling begins to slow down. This results in more brittle bones. Given Silva was already 38 during the fight, his bone remodeling may have begun to slow, which made him more susceptible to this sort of injury.
Another possibility to consider may have been an unknown illness (one that had onset with age) or perhaps some form of malnutrition.
While this has happened to other fighters before, the reason we suspect something significant had changed was the fact it had never happened to Silva. He’s been a resilient Muay Thai and BJJ expert for many years and his bones should have been well conditioned for this sort of punishment. Why all the sudden should a simple kick check result in a dramatic fracture?
Could it have been a freak accident? Sure… but it might also have been prevented had Silva been on some hormone replacement therapy to strengthen his bones.
Yes, people are against it… especially when it comes to professional athletics, but the facts are that there is a distinct disadvantage for an individual in their late 30’s (who may very well have already begun to reduce production of testosterone naturally) when going up against a fighter in their late 20’s. Is it fair? Well that depends on your perspective.
However, if Dana White is willing to say that Vitor Belfort should be allowed to use TRT through a Therapeutic Use Exemption in his upcoming fight with Chris Weidman, then Silva should have been able to do the same. Vitor himself is just 36 years old so he does have a slight age advantage, and he has been known to embellish in his use of TRT.
TRT is known to both increase muscle mass and improve bone resilience for individuals taking it therapeutically. Perhaps, if it hadn’t already been done, Silva could have checked his levels and seen if there would have been any benefit to getting a TUE for the fight.
At the very least, even if he hadn’t won, he might have prevented such a gruesome injury.
What are your thoughts? Would TRT have made a difference for Anderson Silva? And if so, should he have been allowed, or even encouraged to use it (given his age)?