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Frank Mir's TRT Exemption: Is There a Low Testosterone Epidemic in MMA?

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 26:  UFC fighter Frank Mir (pictured) weighs in for his fight against UFC fighter Shane Carwin for their Interim Championship Heavyweight fight at UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy Weigh-In on March 26, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterJune 1, 2012

Until this morning, we were only aware of three fighters to ever receive a testosterone replacement therapy exemption for fighting in the state of Nevada: Dan Henderson, Todd Duffee and Shane Roller. Chael Sonnen is currently going through the process of gaining full approval after being approved by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, so he'll be the fourth applicant to be granted permission.

And now, we have a 5th: UFC heavyweight Frank Mir

The Nevada State Athletic Commission approved Frank Mir for testosterone-replacement therapy in advance of his title fight with heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146. 

Mir is the fourth athlete to get a therapeutic-use exemption, NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). 

Is there a low testosterone epidemic in MMA? I can understand Henderson needing a TRT exemption; after all, despite his wonderful run of the past few years, he's still advancing in age. Low testosterone comes with the territory once you hit your 40's. 

And I can understand Sonnen's need for therapy. Despite all of the confusion surrounding his failed test after UFC 117, it appears that Sonnen does, in fact, need testosterone replacement therapy to correct a deficiency caused by hypogonadism.

But Todd Duffee? That one makes no sense to me, and it shouldn't make sense to you. Duffee is a young, virile fighter with one of the most impressive physiques in mixed martial arts. You're telling me that a guy with a seemingly endless amount of muscles needs testosterone? I don't buy it. Not for a second.

We don't know why Mir needs TRT, but we know that he's doing it the right way. According to Keith Kizer, Mir's T/E ratio for his UFC 146 test was 1:1. That's a normal ratio and indicates that Mir used the procedure in the proper manner.

My question is this: Why do mixed martial artists, more than any other athlete in any other sport, need testosterone replacement therapy? The obvious answer is that some of them likely caused damage to themselves by heavily using steroids in the past, and now they need artificial testosterone to regulate their levels and keep them normal.

But I'm not sure that's the case for everyone. And I'm not sure there's an easy answer, at least not one that applies to everyone. But it's something that needs to continually be looked at before it gets out of control and becomes a real problem.

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