MMA fighters get tested for steroids before a fight, immediately after and are subject to random drug tests, but the sport has seemed to hit an obstacle with the controversial testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
TRT is a hormone treatment that is used to treat the testes when they don’t create a sufficient supply of testosterone. It is used for several reasons, but MMA fighters rely on it as a way to heal quicker due to the constant injuries they sustain in short periods.
For a fighter to use such a treatment and not have it come back as a positive drug test, one must be approved by the state athletic commission from the state they are fighting in and obtain what is known as a therapeutic use exemption (TUE).
These TUE’s are becoming a problem as several top name fighters have been approved to use this questionable medical practice. There are names in every weight class that that are using TRT such as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Frank Mir, Dan Henderson and a list of others that seems to grow each week.
The fighters using TRT don’t see it as cheating. To them, they have such a low testosterone level that they need it to keep fighting. That’s just an excuse to use the substance. If a fighter’s testosterone level is too low and they cannot raise it to the acquired level, it might be time to move on and find another way of making an income.
Nick Lembo, counsel for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, has said that the state had given less than five TUE’s for TRT in its history. The names of those fighters have not been disclosed. Really, it is the fighter themselves who have been announcing their use of TRT.
For a sport, especially in the UFC, that proclaims they have a zero stance policy on steroid use, TRT has left many to wonder if the sport is headed down a dark road. Some see TRT as a steroid and that leads many to wonder if steroids should be allowed in professional sports. It’s a question that has garnered mixed reaction from the spectators and athletes for as long as steroids and supplements have been around.
In the end, it appears to damage the sport’s creditability. To have the advantage over a fighter through the use of TRT or any other steroid and believe it is fair is mindboggling. When two fighters have their match, it should be based on their preparation and skill.
By using and allowing TRT, fighters have found a loophole to avoid a positive drug test and it can make a fight one-sided. Like in any sport, there is no need for steroids. In MMA, they give an upper hand to the fighter who has decided to take the easy route. Ban TRT so the audience can witness two fighters in a fair match that is based on their hard work and not because medical science helped them.