UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz Sounds off on Testosterone Replacement Therapy
UFC light heavyweight Tito Ortiz has gone on air to warn of a coming “epidemic” of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) use.
In an interview with HDNet’s Inside MMA, six-time champion Ortiz said:
The sport has come so far in such a short space of time, I hope this hasn’t become an epidemic. What type of message are we sending to the youths that are watching our sport?
TRT is a treatment for people with abnormally low levels of the male hormone testosterone. It requires regular injections of the steroid.
It has been used by an increasing number of fighters in order to gain a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to allow them to compete while undergoing the treatment.
Fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Todd Duffee, Nate Marquardt and Frank Mir have all been granted TUEs.
“This is the same thing that we’ve been trying to stop from happening, and all of a sudden in the last six months it’s legal to do,” said Ortiz. “You’re allowed to be six times over the average? Since day one since I’ve been competing over the last 15 years, I’ve always been on an even field. Why all of a sudden other fighters can be on a higher six times the amount over an average person.”
Drug tests among most U.S. state athletics bodies involve measuring a person’s testosterone-epitestosterone ration (T/E). In a normal person, the ratio is 1:1, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission allows a ratio as high as 6:1 before an athlete is deemed to have failed a test.
The use of TRT, or any synthetic steroid, tilts the ratio heavily in favour of testosterone. However, the T/E ratio test does not measure the absolute level of testosterone in a person’s body, which could still be in the normal range even if the ratio is skewed.
Ortiz has been fighting since 1997, announcing his retirement earlier in the month at UFC 148.
In that event, he lost to longtime rival Forrest Griffin, who was later revealed to have received an exemption to use TRT.
Ortiz believes TRT is cheating and quickly tweeted after the Griffin revelation:
“Ppl say I’m whining about trt. But using trt is an advantage 4 all athletes,” Ortiz wrote. “It’s steroids and it’s an advantage. U use u cheat & it’s my opinion.”
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