That’s right. Testosterone replacement therapy otherwise known as TRT is cheating.
To truly quantify it as that, we have to understand what testosterone and TRT is.
In men, testosterone is produced and stored in the testicles and plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues as well as sexual drive. Testosterone is also essential for health, well-being and healing.
Where it becomes interesting, though, is that testosterone also greatly promotes muscle and bone mass. Quite simply—the more testosterone you have, the more muscle mass you can build. Which in MMA means the heavier your dominant hand is and how much more successful your takedowns can be.
This is where TRT comes in. As men get older, the level of testosterone gets lower, and as a result, body fat increases and muscle mass decreases. What TRT does is replace that declining testosterone, allowing muscle mass to increase and body fat to decrease.
However, what needs to be understood is that the causes of low testosterone go far above just age. Causes for low testosterone range from certain medical conditions to weight cutting. Studies have even shown that repeated head trauma (concussions and brain damage) could also attribute to the loss of testosterone. Where it gets interesting is that steroid use can also lead to testosterone loss. Meaning that a past steroid abuser who's suffering from low testosterone can potentially benefit from TRT.
With that being said, TRT, when approved by the athletic commission is completely legal. However, many fighters and MMA aficionados feel as if it's cheating and rightly so. It is. The reason it's simple—it’s unnatural.
Normal levels of testosterone in men are right at 1-1. Some guys are naturally above, some naturally below and some right at that mark. The Nevada State Athletic Commission flags samples at a 6-1 cutoff. What this does is give incentive to cheat.
One thing that can't be argued against with this situation is that the guys who do TRT is doing it to enhance their performance on fight night. If that weren't true then there would be no reason to use it. Last time I checked, taking injections or outside supplements to enhance performance is illegal. That includes steroids, HGH, and hopefully sometime soon, testosterone replacement therapy.
There may very well be fighters who take TRT and stay within normal levels the entire time, however, there's also a good reason to believe that, for the most part, guys abuse the levels to enhance performance. This should be stopped.
TRT should be banned altogether. It's just like that old saying that if you give somebody an inch, they'll take a mile. If some fighters can get this exemption, then whatʻs to stop them from abusing it?
My belief is that if you naturally have low testosterone for whatever reason, fight with low testosterone. Enhancing your testosterone levels just give you a much better advantage than the guy across from you which is in turn- cheating.
I want to see two guys in the cage or ring who are the best because they just naturally are the best. Just think of the uproar that wouldʻve happened had Chael Sonnen beaten Anderson Silva with his levels being 16.9-1 that night. It wouldʻve been a complete nightmare not only for the UFC, but for MMA altogether.
As for someone who loves the sport of MMA and truly wants it to excel to the fullest, I want to see the sport and all of its competitiors clean. People who think that PEDs in sports should be regulated are condoning shortcuts and not appreciative of hard work and dedication to the craft which is mixed martial arts or any other sport for that matter.
There should be a greater premium for guys who do it the right way through hard work and hard work only. Training should win you a fight, not being jacked up off testosterone.
Lastly, let me say that there are people out there who legitimately suffer from low testosterone and need this therapy in order to live life to their fullest. But in a sport where physiques are on display and where more often than not the stronger man wins, there's no place in mixed martial arts for testosterone replacement therapy. It's simply cheating.