The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently banned the use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy in MMA. Now Sports Illustrated's Jeff Wagenheim asks if that should effect the sport's pound for pound rankings.
P4P rankings are theoretic anyway - #9 Ronda Rousey is not going to be fighting #8 Anderson Silva any time soon - so should the lack of TRT going forward effect a theoretical ranking of who is best?
Last week's ruling by the Nevada State Athletic Commission banning testosterone replacement therapy -- and the UFC affirmation that followed -- has turned fighter rankings into a three-card monte game. You see something in a guy, you're sure of it, but now it turns out that maybe you just thought you saw something.
Consider the case of Belfort, the lightning rod in this dark tempest of accusations and excuses. He was scheduled to challenge Chris Weidman for the middleweight championship in May, but in the wake of the NSAC's ruling he pulled out of the fight. Or was yanked out by the UFC -- that's what Belfort later claimed, while insisting that once he's off his testosterone regimen he will take on the winner between Weidman and new challenger Lyoto Machida.
Which begs the question: If Vitor feels up to fighting for the championship without TRT, why was he on it in the first place?
That opens a gateway to an endless stream of unanswerable queries regarding the rankings. If we assume that Belfort is merely trying to deflect attention away from the very real effects of testosterone injections, how retroactively are we supposed to view last week's ruling? Do we look back at Vitor's three 2013 victories -- all spectacular knockouts of Top 10 opponents -- and discount them? If so, to what degree? Or do we just let sleeping foes lie, telling ourselves that Belfort and the other TRT-fueled fighters were following the rules as they stood at the time?
I'm inclined to do the latter, while acknowledging that I'm in effect burying my head in the sand. The way I see it, though, rules do matter. This whole mess is the doing of the athletic commissions and fight promotions. You give a fighter a weapon, and he's going to use it. And besides, everything will sort itself out in the sunny post-TRT times to come. So for now, Vitor and Chael and Hendo and Bigfoot and Mir, you get to keep your spots in these rankings. But we'll be watching.
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What do you think UG? Here is the UFC's top-10 pound for pound rankings:
1. Jon Jones
2. Jose Aldo
3. Renan Barao
4. Cain Velasquez
5. Chris Weidman
6. Demetrious Johnson
7. Anthony Pettis
8. Anderson Silva
9. Ronda Rousey
10. Johny Hendricks
11. Vitor Belfort
12. Benson Henderson
13. Gilbert Melendez
14. Alexander Gustafsson
15. Urijah Faber
Would you move Belfort because he can no longer boost his testosterone level?
And what does it mean that of the big names on TRT, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Frank Mir, Antonio Silva, Chael Sonnen, none are in the top 10?