The cheater’s handbook for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) suggests athletes are manipulating the regimen while preparing for a fight. They will jack up their testosterone levels beyond normal ranges in order to push their bodies to its outermost limit. As showtime steadily approaches, they will then taper off the treatment to get their testosterone back to a natural level – therefore, no flunked drug tests.
Because MMA organizations and athletic commissions (except Nevada) don’t conduct random, out-of-competition exams, there’s no way to police TRT use – or any performance-enhancing substances, for that matter.
However, UFC President Dana White (Pictured) is finally fed up with the “cheating” and he’s going to do something about it.
“If you asked me three months ago, it’s legal. It’s sports science, but everybody figures out a way to take a great thing and cheat and make it bad,” White said during Saturday’s press conference in England. “What guys are doing, I believe guys are doing, is jacking up this stuff through the roof through their entire training camp then getting back down to normal levels right before the fight, which is cheating.
“I hate it. I don’t like it. I’m going to fight it. And if you are using TRT in the UFC, we’re going to start testing the [expletive] out of you through your entire camp. I truly believe guys are cheating on it, and I don’t like to see a natural gifted athlete go in and fight against a guy who has been jacked up on TRT for three months.”
White has teeter-tottered on the controversial subject over the years. When he abruptly cut Nate Marquardt in June 2010, White admitted “Nate the Great” may have used TRT as a performance-enhancing drug (PED) because Marquardt was so far beyond the legal limits when he flunked his pre-fight drug exam. However, as recently as six months ago, White did an about-face claiming to be fine with TRT as long as fighters submitted their doctor’s notes to athletic commissions and were granted a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) to be on it for their upcoming scraps.
The reason why most aren’t on board with TRT is simple – it’s seen as circumventing the system to get prescribed a legal PED. That’s why White will overstep the commissions and conduct his own pop quizzes on UFC fighters on TRT.
“We’re regulated by the government. Testosterone replacement therapy is legal,” White added. “Well, I think we should test guys all the way up until their fight to make sure that the entire training camp their limits are where they’re supposed to be, they’re at the legal limits their whole camp.
“When you sit down and you start talking about it, it’s not fair. It’s not fair. And if your testosterone level isn’t high enough, maybe you’re too old to fight.”
Vitor Belfort is the latest fighter to join the ever-expanding list of TRT users. Marquardt, Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir, Forrest Griffin and Dan Henderson are some of the UFC’s most notable stars on TRT.