(Photo via MMAOpinion)
Ever since it began making headlines thanks to Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has been one of the most controversial topics in MMA. To some, it’s medically-sanctioned cheating — a legal loophole that allows giant killing machines to have even more firepower in their quest to injure their opponents. To others, it’s…uh…well, it’s a freedom country, so why even discuss it?
But although UFC president Dana White has flip-flopped on TRT in the past, he’s finally made up his mind, and fortunately, he’s coming down on the right side of the issue. While in London for UFC on FUEL 7, White came out strongly against the practice, blasting fighters who abuse hormone therapy to jack up their testosterone levels during training. Here’s what he had to say following the Barao vs. McDonald weigh-ins:
“TRT has become a way for people to cheat. If this is what your normal level should be and then you have guys training at huge levels (of testosterone) for their whole camp then tapering down to get to normal levels before the fucking fight, that’s cheating, and I don’t like it anymore.”
“There are plenty of guys in the UFC that are naturally gifted and talented fighters. If you’re testosterone levels are too low then you’re probably too old to be fighting, stop fighting!”
“We can test everybody. I’m telling you right now, if you are using testosterone replacement therapy, get ready motherfuckers because we’re going to test the shit out of you.”
“Some things recently have lead me to believe that people are fucking cheaters, people are taking good things and turning it into a bad thing and if you want to play those games then guess what, we’ll play!”
“There’s so much shit out there. Right now there’s banned substances and and we follow the regulations and we’re going after the banned substances, TRT was never one of them and they would be tested leading up to the fight to make sure the levels are good. If you’re on TRT now, you’re going to wish you weren’t. We’re going to test the living shit out of you.”
“You have guys that go in there 100% natural with his talent and natural ability, against someone on TRT, basically someone thats on steroids. I’m absolutely 100 percent against TRT and now I’m going to start fighting it 100 percent with the athletic commissions and I want nothing to do with it.”
White re-stated his position during yesterday’s post-fight press conference:
“If you asked me three months ago, it’s legal, it’s sports science. But everyone figures out a way to take a great thing and cheat and make it bad. I think from what I’ve seen over the last year, I’ve seen situations where … what I believe guys are doing is jacking this stuff up through the roof through their entire training camp and getting back down to normal levels right before the fight – which is cheating. I hate it…
“There have been a couple of situations that have changed my mind about it,” White said. “You know me. I’m always telling you what I think, anyway, but without getting into it, I don’t think I have to. When you see guys coming in that look like they’re on steroids, yet they have a TRT exemption?
“If you’re tested during your training camp, there’s a number that you should be at. That better be where your f—ing number is when you get tested…I haven’t said anything to the athletic commission, but I’m going to make it very clear that I’m not a fan of testosterone replacement therapy.”
In short, this is great news. Dana hits the nail on the head with the real problem related to TRT — that a fighter with an exemption can be carrying a completely unnatural level of testosterone in his body during training camp, as long as he can get within the approved limit when it’s time to fight. And does anybody really believe that all these elite athletes with action-figure physiques suffer from hypogonadism? As we’ve said before, pics or GTFO.