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Here’s What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Using TRT


(MMA’s new stance on hormone-therapy could spell the end of two legendary careers.)

The NSAC’s recent decision to ban TRT is going to make life a lot harder for the athletes who have depended on it during their training camps. Dan Henderson — who will receive the final therapeutic usage exemption for UFC competition — has compared it to banning insulin for diabetics. Meanwhile, Vitor Belfort thinks he’ll need about three months to transition to life without TRT.

That’s a very optimistic estimate, considering the deterioration that a person’s body goes through when they stop hormone-replacement therapy — especially if they’re not doing it correctly. In an eye-opening new interview with Fightland, endocrinologist Dr. Neil Goodman shared his insight about fighters who get on TRT, and all the awful things that happen when they try to get off of it. Some excerpts are below:

I’ve been involved with professional athletes who’ve been referred to me by their agents to get them off steroids because they knew they were on them and going to get caught, so I’m very familiar with this. I think this is a problem in all of competitive sports in that a lot of these guys begin in gyms, they’re taking all kinds of anabolic steroids. Then they go off and go to the doctor, and their testosterone’s low. The original cause of low testosterone is that most of these guys in competitive sports are taking excessively high doses of almost anything they can get their hands on.

Most men who legitimately have low testosterone have it because of a disease they were born with or developed within infancy and childhood. There are very few adult men who suddenly have low testosterone unless they have a pituitary tumor or they have serious illnesses. The biggest cause of low testosterone in any man is diabetes, obesity, hypertension, sleep apnea, or other serious medical diseases, so their low testosterone is a minor point to their really serious health condition that it comes with. The men who are born with a deficiency of testosterone have been on treatment since they were children, otherwise they would have never gone through puberty…

If a young guy comes in with low testosterone, my first thought is this guy’s been taking steroids. And I’m usually right.

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Vitor Belfort Withdraws From UFC 173 in Wake of TRT Ban, Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida Booked as Replacement Title Fight [UPDATED]


(Video via FOX Sports Live)

In the most predictable fight-withdrawal since Tito’s last neck injury, UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort has pulled out of his UFC 173 title bout against Chris Weidman, following the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s decision to ban TRT exemptions yesterday. I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing your ass off. Alright, then. FOX Sports Live broke the news late last night, running this brief statement from Belfort:

The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently altered its policy and no longer will permit testosterone use exemptions, and will not permit a TRT program. As other jurisdictions may follow suit, I am going to drop my TRT program and compete in MMA without it. Given the time constraints involved between now and my proposed next bout in May, I have determined not to apply for a license to fight in Nevada at this time.”

Well, at least Vitor isn’t pretending he’s hurt. By the way, the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission hasn’t yet decided if it will follow the NSAC’s lead on TRT prohibition, so Belfort might not want to make any hasty decisions about his hormone treatments just yet.

Luckily, the UFC had a backup plan loaded and ready to go. It was also revealed on the FOX Sports Live segment that Chris Weidman will remain on the UFC 173 card (May 24th, Las Vegas), and defend his middleweight title against former light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who has gone 2-0 since dropping to 185 pounds last year. Here’s what Weidman had to say about the opponent switch:

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BREAKING: Nevada State Athletic Commission Bans TRT Exemptions, Effective Immediately


(“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” / Photo via Getty)

The Nevada State Athletic Commission struck a blow for fair, healthy MMA competition today, voting for an immediate ban on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Therapeutic usage exemptions (TUE) will no longer be granted to fighters, even for those who had been approved to use hormone therapy in the past. Furthermore, the NSAC will push other states to ban TRT as well, and won’t honor the TUEs approved by other state commissions.

Today’s hearing began with testimony from NSAC consulting physician Dr. Timothy Trainor, who explained the rarity of hypogonadism, and argued that if a competitor truly has hypogonadism, the athletic commission would be placing him at risk by allowing him to fight. (Hello, exactly!)

After discussing the recent anti-TRT letter from the Association of Ringside Physicians — and acknowledging that monitoring every TRT user requires more resources than they can commit — NSAC commissioner Skip Avansino motioned to ban TRT usage/exemptions in Nevada. With supporting votes from commissioners Pat Lundvall and Bill Brady, the motion quickly passed.

And so, MMA’s biggest PED loophole has been closed by the country’s most influential athletic commission — and other state athletic commissions may be forced to follow suit. Vitor Belfort will have to fight clean in Nevada, along with everybody else who previously had doctor’s notes for testosterone.

It’s a good day for the sport. We’ll update you with any major developments that follow.

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Vitor Belfort Plans to Roll the Dice, Will Apply for a TRT Exemption in Nevada


(Fedor wore it better. / Photo via MMAJunkie)

When UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta announced that he wanted to book Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort in Las Vegas, it suggested that Belfort’s well-documented usage of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) might be in jeopardy.

Though the Phenom had been allowed to undergo hormone therapy while competing in Brazil throughout 2013 due to the looser standards in his home country, his 2006 steroid bust in Nevada led former NSAC executive director Keith Kizer to claim that Belfort would be unlikely to secure a TRT exemption for any future fight in Vegas. Then, Keith Kizer suddenly left his post earlier this month, opening the door for a replacement who might be, shall we say, more amenable to the UFC’s needs.

Which leads into today’s news that Belfort will indeed be applying for a therapeutic usage exemption for TRT in Nevada when his title fight against Weidman is officially booked. Ariel Helwani passed along the news on last night’s installment of UFC Tonight:

He said he’s on TRT and that his doctors said he has to be on it. This has been prescribed and he’s planning on applying to be on a TUE for the next fight.”

Well, bullshit. For the sake of argument, let’s take Belfort at his word — he needs to load up on testosterone in order to function normally. Is that a valid reason for any athletic commission to grant him an exemption? You’re gonna let a guy use steroids because he’s too sick to compete without them? Honestly, that sounds like the worst reason to give a professional fighter a TUE. But hey, we all know that in Brazil, doctors are essentially Gods and their advice must be followed at all costs, no matter how ridiculous.

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Following UFC Suspension, ‘Bigfoot’ Silva Plans to Sue Doctor Who Oversaw His Testosterone Therapy


(Antonio’s shoe-size is “display only.” / Photo via instagram.com/bigfootsilva)

When Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva caught a nine-month suspension for elevated testosterone following his UFC Fight Night 33 battle against Mark Hunt, he claimed it wasn’t his fault — and we rolled our eyes. It’s hard to give the benefit of the doubt to a fighter who was previously suspended for a year due to a positive steroid test.

But Silva isn’t going quietly into his suspension. As he told MMAFighting’s Guilherme Cruz, Bigfoot plans to sue Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) medical director Dr. Marcio Tannure, who authorized the veteran heavyweight’s therapeutic usage exemption for TRT, and oversaw his therapy. And if you listen to Silva’s side of the story, he might actually have a case here.

A week before his fight in Australia, Silva received a report from Tannure stating that his testosterone levels were low, and he should continue taking injections on a weekly basis. It seems possible that Tannure was unaware of just how soon Silva’s fight was coming up — but nevertheless, Silva’s followed the doctor’s orders, and it wound up costing him a $50,000 bonus and nine months of his career.

“I just did what they told me to do,” Silva told MMAFighting.com. “I’d never do something different that what the doctor told me to. I looked for a doctor with a good reputation, and he’s the UFC’s doctor in Brazil. I knew I’d be tested before and after the fight. Unfortunately, now I have to find the legal ways to overturn this situation or at least prove I’m not guilty…

“I took a shot at the same day he sent me that e-mail, and he asked me if I had another one to take with me to Australia, to take on fight week,” he said. “He authorized everything. I did exactly as I was informed to do.

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Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva Tests Positive for Elevated Testosterone, Hit With Nine-Month Suspension and Loss of $50,000 Bonus


(“Dammit, Jose! You told me this stuff was safe!” / Photo via Getty)

Sadly, one of the greatest heavyweight fights in UFC history will now have an asterisk next to it. Yesterday evening, MMAJunkie broke the news that Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva tested positive for elevated testosterone following his five-round war against Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 33, December 7th in Brisbane, Australia. As a result, the UFC — which regulated the event and was responsible for fighter drug-testing — has suspended Silva for nine months retroactive to the date of the fight, and stripped him of his $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. The bout with Hunt will be changed to a no-contest on Bigfoot’s professional record, although Hunt still gets to keep his draw, and will receive the $50k that would have gone to Silva.

According to a statement released by a UFC rep, “Silva is on a medically approved regimen of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and had been in compliance with therapeutic guidelines on all pre-fight tests performed prior to the event. The results of his test on the day of the event indicated a level of testosterone outside of allowable limit. Silva has been informed that the elevated testosterone level is a violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa.”

As our own George Shunick put it, “Someone please explain to me how a man who is 280 pounds of bone, sinew and muscle has a ‘legitimate’ prescription for TRT.” That’s a very good question. When Silva tested positive for horse-steroids back in 2008, he blamed the result on an over-the-counter testosterone booster called Novodex, which he was using to treat his gigantism, brought on by cysts on his pituitary gland. And once again, Silva is claiming that his latest failed test is not his fault:

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UPDATED: CagePotato’s MMA Steroid Bust Timeline, Now With Testosterone Busts


(Dammit, Chael. We can never stay mad at you. / Photo via Getty)

Since it was first published in July 2009, our MMA Steroid Busts: The Definitive Timeline feature has grown to become the Internet’s most complete history of fighter PED use — as well as the busted fighters’ resulting excuses. But with the recent rise of testosterone replacement therapy, things began to get complicated. Should the list include a fighter who got caught with a 20:1 T/E ratio, even if he didn’t test positive for a particular steroid? It’s become clear that testosterone abuse is the new Stanozolol and we’ll be talking about this issue for years to come, so to keep things nice and neat, we’ve decided to stick every failed drug test for elevated testosterone on page 2 of the timeline.

Separating the testosterone busts into their own group revealed this damning statistic: “Of the aforementioned fighters who tested positive for elevated testosterone after fights, 1 was successful in those fights, while 4 were unsuccessful.” It’s too early to draw any hard conclusions, but TRT abuse may turn out to be the most useless unfair advantage in all of MMA.

Check out the new testosterone busts page of the Steroid Bust Timeline right here, and please let us know if we’ve forgotten any.

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Robert Drysdale Denied License for UFC 167 Due to Absurdly Inflated T/E Ratio [UPDATED]


(Allegedly, Robert shaved his chest three hours before this photo was taken. / Photo via Getty)

For the second time since his ill-fated signing with the UFC, BJJ world champion Robert Drysdale has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled fight. In July, Drysdale pulled out of a UFC 163 match against Ednaldo Oliveira due to a “staph infection” — yes there are scare quotes around “staph infection,” we’ll get to that later — and now the undefeated light-heavyweight been denied licensure by the NSAC for his UFC 167 match against Cody Donovan, after an out-of-competition drug test came back with a 19.4:1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio.

That’s more than three times the NSAC’s testing threshold of 6:1 (which is considered overly liberal in the first place), and even beats the super-inflated T/E ratios that Alistair Overeem (14:1) and Chael Sonnen (16.9:1) previously turned in. If you’re a healthy adult male, your T/E ratio is probably around 1:1. In other words, Robert Drysdale is approximately 20 times the man you are.

Drysdale’s latest drug test didn’t come back positive for steroids, and NSAC boss Keith Kizer clarified that the submission ace hasn’t been suspended or fined as a result of the failed test — at least not by the athletic commission. As we’ve seen recently, the UFC has no problem taking matters into its own hands when it comes to testosterone abusers. So will the UFC will give Drysdale another chance to get his act together, or will he become the first none-and-done fighter since Benjamin Brinsa?

Right, so about that “staph infection”…

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Today in TRT News: Rothwell Jumps on the Testosterone Train, Brazilian Commission Loses Its Only Accredited Testing Facility


(Doughy, smooth IFL Ben and lean, hairy UFC Ben. Man, that acai berry stuff really works wonders.)

Ben Rothwell has requested and received a Therapeutic Use Exemption for TRT at his upcoming UFC 164 bout in Milwaukee. So has former heavyweight champ Frank Mir, but he’s no stranger to the TRT TUE game.

MMA Junkie obtained the information from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services recently. According to Junkie, both fighters were not available for comment but Rothwell’s opponent Brandon Vera was.

“The Truth” was not amused. “It won’t help,” he said of Rothwell’s TRT use.

In a related story, legendary fighters and noted TRT users Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson will indeed fight as we gave you a heads up about the other day; the match will be held at 205 pounds and it appears that neither fighter will face many obstacles in using TRT to their hearts’ content. Belfort has tested positive for a banned substance before, prompting the chief executive of the world’s most important athletic commission, the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Keith Kizer, to opine that he didn’t think Vitor would ever be likely to receive a TUE for TRT in the state.

As states like Nevada and New Jersey go, so usually do the rest of the United States. Belfort has fought three out of his last four fights in Brazil with the other taking place in Canada. But hey, Brazil has a regulatory commission, right? They surely do: The Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA).

The doctor who serves as medical director for that commission, Marcio Tannure, recently told MMAFighting.com that “Henderson needs to send him the exams to prove his medical conditions (hypogonadism) to apply for a TRT use, and they will analyze the request,” and that Belfort has blood tested before and after fights to ensure that “his levels are good.” Usually, fighters with TUEs for TRT still have to maintain “normal” testosterone levels.

In the Southern hemisphere, the national Brazilian star Belfort is the one in good standing, his prior failed drug test not being a deterrent to CABMMA in granting him a TUE whereas Henderson, who is allowed his TUE in the states, is the one who appears to face more of a hurdle. Coincidence, I’m sure.

However, don’t expect either Belfort or Henderson to be denied TUEs for TRT because, well, CABMMA’s drug testing isn’t considered to be quite as legitimate by international standards any more. BloodyElbow has the info:

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The War on Drugs: California Ruling Strikes Down TRT Exemptions for MMA Fighters Until Further Notice


(Image via Fightland/RyanLoco)

A decision made during a California State Athletic Commission meeting in Los Angeles on Monday could have a major impact on the ongoing testosterone replacement therapy debate in MMA. Among the topics covered during the eight-hour session was a new proposed rule that would standardize the process for obtaining therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone. But the rule was successfully challenged by Department of Consumer Affairs lawyer Michael Santiago. As FightOpinion reports:

“[Santiago] said that until there is a statute/regulation on the books regarding testosterone that the commission should not be using an ‘underground’ policy of approving T usage. He argued that testosterone is considered a banned substance.

The end result is that fighters like Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and Frank Mir will not be allowed to use testosterone while fighting in California until a law is on the books that explicitly spells out approval for T usage…[T]he UFC will be furious about this development given how many guys they have fighting in California who love testosterone. Vitor Belfort’s sympathy plea for continued testosterone usage means he won’t be fighting in California any time soon…

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