Fowlkes: Belfort win sparks TRT debate

 

Vitor Belfort has publically admitted to being a regime of testosterone replacement therapy, which is monitored by his doctor and the UFC supposedly. Either way, the therapy is a hot button topic in mixed martial arts today and MMAJunkie's Ben Fowlkes gives his poignant perspective on Belfort and TRT:

That's where we are with Belfort and his testosterone usage. Tucked away in Brazil, where the commission is brand new and therapeutic-use exemptions for former steroid cheats are apparently no problem, he faces a problem he doesn't seem to want to acknowledge. The more fights he wins and the more highlight-reel finishes he stacks up, the more he stokes a fire that he'd rather we just ignore.

The thing is, we probably would ignore it if we could. We'd rather watch and enjoy and be awed by these finishes that look like something out of a video game. But knowing what we know, it's impossible to come away from Belfort's recent performances without wondering how much of what we just saw came from him and how much came from a syringe.

And honestly, that's what really sucks about testosterone use in MMA – for the fans, anyway. The fighters, sure, they have to worry about the concussions and the competitive imbalance and all the rest of it. Those of us on the couch get stuck with the nagging doubt and bitter aftertaste. Guys like Belfort are making this sport hard for a thinking fan to relax and enjoy.

We see him pull off some fantastic move and we can't appreciate it for what it is. We just can't. Unless we want to become the willing marks in this little PED carnival, we have to ask whether he could have done that without a steady injection of steroids (and for the last time, while the testosterone that occurs naturally in your body is a hormone, the synthesized testosterone that MMA fighters are injecting is a steroid; let's stop dancing around it and call it what it is).

But testosterone doesn't kick people in the head, right? You need to skill to do that. And that's true. You also need skill to hit a baseball over a fence, but I think we've learned that it doesn't hurt to get an infusion of chemically-enhanced power and explosiveness to give that existing skill a little extra push. It also doesn't hurt to get that push all through training camp.

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UGCTT_ Lay'n'PrayNINJA site profile image  

5/22/13 12:06 AM by UGCTT_ Lay'n'PrayNINJA

Lmfao@ orcus trying to justify his earlier pop for steroids with that lame excuse from his doctor.That's the same line of bullshit overeem tried to use. "Oh my doctor didn't tell me what I was injecting into my body"..... yeah sure pal. Unreal the lengths orcus will go to to keep zuffa in the best light possible.

UGCTT_ Lay'n'PrayNINJA site profile image  

5/22/13 12:04 AM by UGCTT_ Lay'n'PrayNINJA

Thanks, and the answer is why I have issue with most all fighters being on trt, with the possible exception of hallman, who is documented as having a very rare disease that none of these other fighters have.

Another Foob site profile image  

5/21/13 5:24 PM by Another Foob

Does anybody know when Vitor got a TUE? People keep mentioning his "career resurgence", but besides his skid around the time he lost his sister, I don't remember him ever not being and explosive finisher. He's been KOing everybody since he got back in the UFC in 2009.Of course, we know he couldn't do what he did to Rockhold w/o TRT. If he has naturally low T, I doubt he could make it through a training camp to get to the fight in the first place. The question should be whether he's able to do things in terms of training and development, that would be out of reach for a naturally athletic person.

orcus site profile image  

5/21/13 6:08 AM by orcus

" If he's telling the truth, why do you think he's dealing with low testosterone?" Why do you think the other fighters on TRT who have never failed a test are dealing with low testosterone?

OnlyTheStrongSurvive site profile image  

5/21/13 2:42 AM by OnlyTheStrongSurvive

He was roided out then too. I'm not saying he isn't terrific without them, and it's not like it just gives him this insane kick technique, but it does allow him to train harder, longer and recover much faster. If you can train harder, you're going to get better more quickly and he will probably remain in his prime longer than he should.Also he has a failed substance test in the past. If he's telling the truth, why do you think he's dealing with low testosterone?

OnlyTheStrongSurvive site profile image  

5/21/13 2:38 AM by OnlyTheStrongSurvive

I don't think you can take an anabolic steroid more powerful than straight synthetic testosterone

bispingpokedmybrowneye site profile image  

5/20/13 6:19 PM by bispingpokedmybrowneye

Vitor was doing this shit tobworld class fighters at 19. Lets not be so shocked. We gave him the nickname The Phenom for a reason.

orcus site profile image  

5/20/13 6:07 PM by orcus

"The allowed presence of synthetic testosterone in a sample test would be one obvious bonus to having a TUE for TRT." Someone else said they don't even test for synthetic testosterone unless your levels are way out of whack in the first place, is that not true? " Further, allowing a fighter to essentially cycle during camp, with levels falling to acceptable towards fight day. A four week period of high testosterone during camp would allow for more and harder training vs a non TRT fight camp." But they're not allowed to do that. If your argument is "they'll do it anyway", well, again, that applies to EVERY fighter and not just the ones with TUEs. "Overeems high sample last year is a good example of what fighters are doing with TRT." You mean it's a good example of what most likely the majority of fighters are doing without bothering to publicly apply for a TUE and undergo the additional requirements etc. Again, this has nothing to do with TRT and TRT exemptions. Overeem was not undergoing TRT and did not have a TUE, he was just a juicer. "Does the Brazillian commission test Vitor weekly, how exactly do they do that when the bulk of his camp is in Florida?" How often are fighters without TUEs tested in camp? More or less than Vitor supposedly was? Again, I'm failing to see how the TUE gives an advantage to the would-be cheater. The only difference between Vitor and Rockhold (or any other fighter) as far as their ability to cheat goes is that Rockhold was under zero scrutiny and there was not even a pretense of additional testing.

punchyone site profile image  

5/20/13 5:48 PM by punchyone

The allowed presence of synthetic testosterone in a sample test would be one obvious bonus to having a TUE for TRT. Further, allowing a fighter to essentially cycle during camp, with levels falling to acceptable towards fight day. A four week period of high testosterone during camp would allow for more and harder training vs a non TRT fight camp. If they actually test weekly and are required to stay at normal levels throughout camp this might not happen. Then again how often do they test fighters? Overeems high sample last year is a good example of what fighters are doing with TRT. He didn't expect a test during the beginning/middle if camp, and got busted with overtly high testosterone levels. Does the Brazillian commission test Vitor weekly, how exactly do they do that when the bulk of his camp is in Florida?

orcus site profile image  

5/20/13 5:46 PM by orcus

  "I would rather see the young lion at the top of the heap, if it means the old lion has to cheat to stay on top." Do you know what cheating is? Here's a hint, it's not doing something that the rules and the officials allow.