Looking at results, TRT not showing as an advantage

 

 Testosterone Replacement Therapy, or TRT, has been a hot button topic as of late in mixed martial arts. The question has been whether athletes should be allowed to us it, and if so, how regulated it should be the individual athletic commissions or even the UFC itself.

BloodyElbow's Chris Hall recently took a survey of the athletes known to have used TRT and the records of those fighters over that time. The results are interesting to say the least:

Chael Sonnen (5-4)

The three-time title challenger is probably the most prolific TRT user in the UFC. Sonnen single-handedly brought TRT to the forefront of MMA discussion when he failed his UFC 117 post-fight drug test with a T:E ratio of 16:1 (well over the CSAC's legal limit). While that was when the news of his treatment first became public, during his suspension appeal process it was revealed that he'd been taking supplementary testosterone since 2008. So, throughout his UFC run, starting with the loss Demian Maia, he's been undergoing TRT.

Vitor Belfort (2-0)

The former Light Heavyweight champion has had a banner year in 2013. In just 6 months he's knocked out two Middleweight contenders with devastating, highlight reel headkicks. Unfortunately for Belfort, both wins have been marred by the cloud of his TRT use. His exemption was first confirmed* before his UFC On FX 7 fight against Bisping in Brazil. He was once again approved by the Brazilian commission at UFC On FX 8. His TRT use is particularly controversial as he failed 

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The article looks at the recent UFC careers of nine athletes, all known to have been prescribed TRT during their careers. Overall these fighters have gone a combined fifteen wins and sixteen loses. This doesn't necessarily mean that these athletes were not at an advantage with TRT, but it does dispell that notion that TRT is a driving force behind a winning athlete.

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Recent Comments »

rockwell site profile image  

7/5/13 7:07 PM by rockwell

The reason non-TUE fighters don't take blood tests is because the standard WADA T:E test applies preventing them from taking any PEDs for a good time period prior to competing.Not needing to pass a T:E test means you can inject T up until, during and after a fight.You have just confirmed you don't really know how much or how comprehensive blood testing on TUE fighters is.Even assuming its 3 times that only requires tapering down T use to be in the 'normal' range for testing.So effectively it's a decision for the camp to make if they want to use a TUE to 'cheat'.

Tiresias site profile image  

7/5/13 2:16 PM by Tiresias

Whether or not it is fair for fighters to increase their testosterone levels, for whatever reason, and enjoy an improvement in performance as a result, is an open question. Since TRT does boost testosterone levels, it almost certainly improves performance, and if that is decided to be unfair, then TRT would be unfair. It's not a question of evidence, it's a question of what we want to allow.Among the "cans of worms" that have already been discussed: what if part of the natural variation in athletic performance we have always seen is due to differences in natural test production? Should everyone have equal test levels?

orcus site profile image  

7/5/13 1:37 PM by orcus

I don't know exactly how often for all A.C.s. The Brazilian AC said multiple times, Lembo said three times, I believe Kizer said multiple times iirc. As for whether it applies to all fighters with a TUE in those A.C.s, of course. I don't understand what you're asking, why would it be some fighters and not others? How many bloodtests do fighters without TUEs have to take? Zero. Not before the fight, not after the fight, not on fight night.  If your argument is that fighters with TRT TUEs have an unfair advantage because they could cheat and boost their levels higher than they are supposed to, this is no argument at all, for obvious reasons.

rockwell site profile image  

7/5/13 1:18 PM by rockwell

What evidence do you have about how regularly TUE fighters are tested during camp and also if that applies to all fighters with a TUE?

orcus site profile image  

7/5/13 11:55 AM by orcus

"We don't have evidence since if someone chooses to ABUSE a TUE for the purpose of performance enhancement they will not be caught unless they don't reduce their exogenous testosterone intake before testing." Someone can cheat just as easily -- in fact more easily -- without the TUE, since they would never have to give blood or take multiple bloodtests throughout camp. This is in no way support for the claim that the TRT exempt fighters have any kind of unfair advantage whatsoever.

rockwell site profile image  

7/4/13 7:05 PM by rockwell

We don't have evidence since if someone chooses to ABUSE a TUE for the purpose of performance enhancement they will not be caught unless they don't reduce their exogenous testosterone intake before testing.Regardless, it's not a choice that a fighter should be allowed to make as it could cause direct harm to an opponent if they did so.

orcus site profile image  

7/4/13 1:00 PM by orcus

"You aren't aware that testosterone is a performance enhancing drug?" Sure. What does that have to do with anything? As far as I know we're not talking about guys with normal testosterone levels taking synthetic test to boost themselves to superhuman levels. Support for the argument would mean things like having some vague idea of what the test levels are of guys with TRT TUEs, and what the test levels are of their opponents without TRT TUEs. And then some vague idea of what the degree of difference between those levels, if any, would mean in terms of actual real-world performance like recovery ability, endurance, muscle growth, etc. If there is no reason to think guys with TRT TUEs have significantly higher levels of test than their opponents do, or at least no reason to think their levels are enough higher to result in signficantly enhanced performance, then there is no support for the argument. "I mean noone starts level anyway, genetics can be a bitch to some and.wonderful to others." Yep. "Your asked if there's support, not if there is proof. Obviously two different standards." Poor choice of words then. What's the support? Do we have any reason to think TRT users have enough higher levels of test than their opponents to give them a noticeable advantage in any area?

Devlin site profile image  

7/4/13 12:04 PM by Devlin

Very little academically from what i can find.Plenty to suggest it gives huge advantages compaired with if the same person was not on trt, its impossible to say if its a fair advantage or not, its all a matter of perspective.I mean noone starts level anyway, genetics can be a bitch to some and.wonderful to others.

Tiresias site profile image  

7/3/13 12:08 AM by Tiresias

Your asked if there's support, not if there is proof. Obviously two different standards. As I said, I am not advocating a particular view. Though I realize you are so relentlessly partisan about everything that you have no choice but to attack the anti-TRT view as if your life depends on it.

rockwell site profile image  

7/2/13 11:41 PM by rockwell

You aren't aware that testosterone is a performance enhancing drug? You should do some research.



 

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