What's Your View on Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)

Discussion in 'Mixed Martial Arts' started by Kevin, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    I didn't really have a strong opinion on TRT initially. I knew what TRT was and why some fighters needed it.

    Dana White has recently been vocal about TRT being used by fighters. He spoke about it many times after Vitor beat Bisping. Whilst Vitor didn't actually break in rules...per say....he was no doubt jacked up using TRT.

    Last night I listened to a podcast from ESPN UK. It was recorded shortly after Bisping was beat by Vitor. He explained the issue really well and listening to it has made me feel more strongly about the issue. His view is that no one should use it.

    You can listen to it at : http://www.espn.co.uk/ufc/sport/video_audio/194138.html

    He pointed out out a number of things:
    • TRT is banned in every single sport except Boxing and MMA.
    • The normal testosterone level is 1:1. However, fighters are allowed up to 6:1 at the fight (and most are much much higher during training) .
    • Fighters using TRT can recover much sooner. He noted that after training hard on a Monday and Tuesday, he needs to rest on a Wednesday as he is in so much pain. Whereas, fighters who take TRT can train harder and longer without any need for rest.
    • Only a very very small percentage of males actually need TRT (i.e. because they have low-testosterone). The vast majority of people who need TRT are people who have abused their body with TRT/Steroids in the past, which has resulted in their bodies not being able to produce enough testosterone now. As he says, it kind of allows people who have cheated in the past to continue cheating.
    He suggests that in future fights, he should be told beforehand when a fighter is on TRT. He was only told Vitor was on TRT after the fight. Knowing beforehand allows an independent doctor to test his opponent's levels.
    I'm far from an expert on this subject, however the more I read about it, the more I think that TRT has to be banned from MMA. Only a small percentage of people actually need TRT. The majority of fighters who do need it, only need it because they have used drugs in the past.

    It does seem that TRT use is much more common in North America. It doesn't seem that common in the UK. It's hard enough getting the doctors here to send you to a specialist; I can only imagine how difficult it is for someone to get a Doctor in the UK to prescribe TRT....especially when someone is only in their 30s.

    I don't think it's fair to say that Bisping was just being a bad loser. I think he has valid points and he's been quite respectful about it all post-fight. Imagine going into a fight with someone who is super strong, someone who has not had to rest during training, who is totally jacked up.

    I've swayed towards the view that removing TRT is the only way to create a level playing field.

    What's your view on all of this?

  3. Eric Dufurrena

    Eric Dufurrena The Iron Fist of Fun

    I think Dana has a good solution, if you claim you need TRT, you will be tested randomly throughout your fight camp up until the day of your fight to be within limits. I think personally that if you have ever been caught using steroids, you should not be allowed to fight using TRT.
    As for a doctor prescribing TRT, if you need testosterone, you need testosterone, despite what you do for a living. In the US, you can 'sway' your Doctor if you are on the cusp of needing it, by being smart and using proper verbiage, I am sure.
  4. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    I think that testing is necessary to alleviate any advantage TRT users have.

    What I don't understand is this: if 1:1 is the normal ratio, why are TRT users allowed up to 6:1?
    RJ Clark likes this.
  5. DeeD

    DeeD Nak Muay

    Rampage Jackson was on TRT and tweeted how it made him feel like he was 20 again, recovered faster stronger etc, so how exactly they think it makes things level i dont know, yea exactly 6:1 is acceptable crazy

    TRT is just "legal" doping nonsense in a combat sport setting, how is that fair in a physical demanding sport that is your career and puts food on the table for many of these guys
  6. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    Without researching this too deeply, it would make sense if you just took your periodic dose and were tested shortly thereafter. It could be that high as they're not on an IV getting a constant & steady 1:1. So even if someone was actually ethically following exact dosages they could test that high.
    That being said, I'm against it. Bad enough the advantages taking it can give to individuals in a team sport, but ridiculous when you scale to individual sports and even more so for combat sports.
    MattCMMA and Kevin like this.
  7. MattCMMA

    MattCMMA Master

    When I face questions like this..I try to see both sides of the argument. Mr. RJ Pretty much nailed it on how I would reason against it.

    The other side is the new UFC's stance, as well the Nevada State Athletic Commission[NSAC].
    • If you have been caught of past PED usage, you are no longer eligible for a therapeutic use exemption[TUE].
    • The president of the UFC has now said if you are on TRT you will be tested constantly and monitored, even through your training camp.
    Alot of people love to classify this TRT as cheating. And yes it's abused. But one thing we don't tend to look at is fighters like Dan Henderson. Who is a well known TRT user. He takes his precautions and stays legit. He doesn't abuse it. He uses it solely for it's purpose. Also another point that was once made " You can have all the TRT in the world, but if you don't have skill in the cage, it all doesn't mean shit"
  8. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    Personally I don't give a rat's ass about TRT, steroids, GH, or other PEDs in professional sports. Frankly, even in tested sports (whether professional or amateur, like the Olympics), the vast majority of athletes are using since masking technology far outpaces detection technology. When I used to powerlift, a sport where there is literally NO fame or money to be made, I think I was the only powerlifter in my gym (and probably who I competed against too) who was clean. It didn't bother me one bit that others, including those I was competing against, were using. I could have used if I wanted too and been on an even playing field with them, but didn't because it was only an ego thing. Now, OTOH, if I had the genetics and skill to be a pro athlete, I wouldn't hesitate to use PEDs whether they were allowed or not -- that is the difference between loads of $$$ and a longer career, and sitting on the bench for a few years and then going off to sell insurance.

    I am a lifetime natural athlete (meaning I don't use now, nor have I ever used), but I don't have the same moral issues with juicing that a lot people do.
    MattCMMA likes this.
  9. MattCMMA

    MattCMMA Master

    You've made a good point that a lot of people like to forget. . These fighters/athletes are Prizefighters. MMA is identified as a sport just as much as boxing. In such a hazardous line of work, in the end.. it's about $$$[the prize]. This is not to belittle their accomplishments in the cage/sport. It's amazing and that's why we pay for it/watch it.
  10. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    Why does he need TRT though? That is, what is the cause for him having low testerone? Did he abuse drugs when he was wrestling during his college days?

    The reason I ask, there are a lot of wrestlers (e.g. Chael Sonnen) who have also used TRT. It's very common in professional wrestling (WWE etc) and the NFL too.
  11. MattCMMA

    MattCMMA Master


    He's 42 years old.

  12. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Funny that Kevin posted this topic, because I'm involved with a discussion of Cenegenics on another forum right now where a member is defending the use of HRT (on a non-sporting basis) as making him feel like he's 20 again (he's 45).

    Like much of the rest of our "want-it-now" culture there is little thought to the future consequences of such therapy. The short list of possible drawbacks includes:

    * Causes skin reactions
    * Causes fluid retention
    * Causes baldness
    * Causes or aggravates sleep apnea
    * Stimulates noncancerous growth of the prostate and cause or worsen urinary symptoms
    * Stimulates growth of prostate cancer that's already present
    * Enlarges breasts
    * Stimulates growth of breast cancer that's already present
    * Causes testicle shrinkage
    * Limits sperm production
    * Stimulates excess blood production
    * Causes acne

    If these fighters - and their handlers - can live with this then I say let them go crazy. We've already inflated many of our other sports participants (football, baseball, etc) - why NOT sacrifice these guys for our entertainment? :whistle:
    RJ Clark likes this.
  13. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    The "fair play" issue is one side of a multi-faceted issue. The whole "let anyone do it if they want" puts pressure on athletes that want to stay "natural". It then becomes a choice of juice up and stay or don't and loose your <dream> job. If you then also look at potential side effects or long term effects it also becomes a protect-them-from-themselves (kind of like with smoking, albeit Johnny-come-lately on that one).
    I trained power lifting when I was younger. My frame wasn't conducive to building a massive bench press. Read that as ape arms - great for boxing, not so great for power pressing. My max power press hovered around 365. Ironically it still does even after years injuries and abuse (or because of?). I could have easily busted through that plateau with a bit of pharmaceutical assistance but I had too much pride to do that. It wouldn't be "me" pushing four+ wheels (the benchmark, hehe, of 405). So I didn't juice because of pride/ego. Not really sure where I'm going with this:confused:, I guess it illustrates it's a moral issue of cheating to gain an advantage...
    Actually here's a good bottom line, or paragraph: If masking tec and system manipulation is so highly developed, then if someone gets caught outside the legal limit then we can safely assume that they were massively abusing their exemption from the start and should get their ass booted/receive the max penalties for it. Oh, and also fuck random testing. Make it legit and everyone gets regular/periodic testing and random testing to make it virtually impossible to cheat to a greater extent on their license to cheat already (the TRT exemption).
    SifuPhil likes this.
  14. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    Boy that sounds familiar. However, ape arms do make for good deadlifts.
    RJ Clark likes this.
  15. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    Yeah, but a lot can be said for fitness. I allows you to get away with more mistakes than the weaker/less fit guy. It also allows you to fight longer than the other guy, i.e. not have your skill level deteriorate due to fatigue. So two guys with comparable skill (without trying to account for X factors) get in the ring after one trains with a TRT exemption the other doesn't. What does anyone think will likely happen? If anyone lacks enough imagination to do that just go check out the recent Bisping-Belfort fight (granted not the best example, but I'm throwing it out there for it's relevance)
  16. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    Properly done and monitored, HRT can be a boon for many people with little to no side effects and hugely improve the quality of their lives. I am not anti-HRT. Some day, I would even consider it if I need it. Of course, staying active and training with weights keeps my natural hormones chugging along at high levels (back when I was single, I recall a 20 something girl that I challenged to a match of late night drunken naked jiu-jitsu asking, somewhat amazed at my stamina and repeated demands for a rematch "what are you, 18?"). But eventually I know that my hormone levels will drop off in a detectable way that could impact my life negatively. When that happens, I'll consider HRT. Of course I'll probably need lower doses due to what I hope is still an active lifestyle.
    SifuPhil and RJ Clark like this.
  17. RJ Clark

    RJ Clark Tree Ninja Staff Member

    I'm 100% on board for "civilian" use.
    SifuPhil likes this.
  18. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Understood. My take is that if someone is so ignorant of what this stuff does to them, and they're so driven to succeed in a field that would require it, AND THEY STAY IN THAT FIELD, then they've made their choice and I'll go along with whatever they've decided.

    As for protecting people from themselves, someone who hurts themselves for money is either a prize-fighter or a professional masochist - neither of which I would lift a hand to help. Our government has seemingly made a full-time career of protecting us from ourselves, and look where it's gotten us. This is just the tail-end effect of the loss of personal responsibility; it's always "I didn't know" or "They MADE me do it!" or "It wasn't MY fault!"

    B.S., the lot of it. Just my view, as always, but that's the point I'm at in my life right now. I'm tired of people trying to look out for MY best interests - let Darwinism have its way with me and the world will be much better off.

    I've always been of the "Noodle-Arms-and-Tree-Trunk-Legs" school, which disqualified me for many styles but put me at the top for Taijiquan. A happy coincidence? Fate? Karma? Blind luck? I don't really know, but I just ran with it and it seemed to work out well.

    I'm not sure I follow on this ... if the masking technology is good enough it will cover any substance abuse, much like the weed-testing protocols have repeatedly been defeated. It's always a case of the bad guys getting smarter and the cops playing catch-up - the lead goes to the bad guys because they have both the motivation and the money to make it happen, whereas the cops are just in it (hopefully) to enforce a law that some of them might not even agree with.

    I DO understand the need for both periodic and random testing, though - you'll catch a greater number of violators that way, but of course the cost of all that testing is going to be borne out by ...

    ... the fans.
  19. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    If it's for quality-of-life issues then I'm on-board as well. But doing it just to last a little longer in the cage or lift some more weight? What's that? What's the point?

    I don't know ... maybe as an old fart life is becoming too precious to me to want to screw it up by taking massive doses of this stuff, but I agree that a SANE regimen of HRT can be a logical course to follow.
  20. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    To win.
  21. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    And what are you winning? Isn't it a hollow victory? Aren't you cheating both your opponent and yourself by supplementation?

    If I had to bulk up to protect myself and my family on the street, well and good. If I were a professional soldier then yeah. A Secret Service bodyguard. ANYTHING that meant something.

    But a friggin' trophy or a cheap-ass belt? Come on ... o_O
    Charlay Atkins and rockstarpc like this.

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