Doctor Reveals How Getting off Testosterone Will Hurt Fighters on It

Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterMarch 4, 2014

AP Images

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Fighters who are affected by last week's Nevada Athletic Commission to ban the usage of testosterone replacement therapy are in trouble.

Where they were once handed a golden ticket that allowed what amounted to legalized cheating, fighters who have relied on TRT will now have to compete without it. Legally, anyway; the likelihood of every single figher with a TRT exemption simply opting to fight clean, without any drugs in their system, is slim to none. They'll just figure better ways around it, at least until Nevada and other states start conducting truly random drug tests for every single competitor they license.

But it's going to be a little harder now, anyway, and that's the major point Nevada made last week. And for the fighters who have actively taken testosterone for the last few years, well, it's going to be even more difficult.

Dr. Neil Goodman is a practicing endocrinologist. He's the chairman of the Reproductive Endocrinology Scientific Committee for the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. In short, he is a man that knows what he's talking about when it comes to testosterone.

Fightland caught up with Dr. Goodman on Monday to discuss what life is about to be life for fighters who are no longer eligible for testosterone:

Every single guy whose exemption is getting taken away is going to come up with very low testosterone, and he won’t be able to compete, at least on the level that he might have been competing at. Every guy that goes to the commission and stops getting these exemptions, they’re going to have to get some testosterone to just keep them normal. They won’t be able to compete because their testosterone will just plummet.

Their muscle strength will decline. They’ll put on some fat weight. Their moods will become depressive. They’ll have fatigue. It’ll be horrible—I feel bad for them. It’s going to be misery … I’m not saying all guys are going to have serious problems. It depends on what they’ve been on, how much they’ve been taking, what other drugs they’ve been on. It’s a mixed bag.

Photos by Joshua Hedges, Getty Images

It's going to be mighty interesting to see how these TRT-enabled fighters look when they return to the cage. Take Vitor Belfort, for example, because he is the poster child for TRT. In the photo I've included above, you can see Belfort before TRT and after. It's a stark difference.

And perhaps not all of those gains are due to Belfort's testosterone usage. But the visual changes are stunning, quite frankly, and I'll wager Belfort can't keep up this appearance—or the performances since going on TRT—whenever he fights again.