The idiom “give somebody an inch, and they’ll take a mile” rings true when talking about the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), prescribed synthetic testosterone, in Mixed Martial Arts. Except for that way more than a mile has been taken of the proverbial “rope”.
It’s time to take the rose colored glasses off. Synthetic testosterone is an anabolic steroid, and the majority of MMA fighters that are using TRT are gaining a competitive advantage over those that don’t.
Fighters claim they need TRT due to low testosterone (low T) levels. Aging, medication, P.E.Ds, injury, and disease are the main causes for low T.
The claim is that TRT is a necessity for fighters with low T because they have a “physical disadvantage” against fighters with normal levels of testosterone. So with that basis, does that mean Frankie Edgar should fight on stilts in his fights due to the fact that he is at a physical disadvantage because of his height?
Professional fighting is a privilege, not a right. If a person isn’t physically capable of competing in MMA then they probably shouldn’t. Age is a natural thing, and with age comes the loss of ability.
There is no ethics or sportsmanship involved in trying to stunt aging with synthetic testosterone. Getting up there in age isn’t a quality reason to get TRT. It’s a part of life that TRT users have to accept. There’s a reason Barry Bonds isn’t hitting 40-plus homers a year. It’s age.
Low testosterone is not common at all for men under the age of forty, and there is clearly something awry when there are more than a couple of fighters that are claiming the physical disability.
The only plausible reason for so many fighters having low T is because of past P.E.D. use, and in that case they should not be compensated later in the career for past use of an illegal drug.
The users of TRT can cry gonadism or hyperthyroid as the reason for their deficiency, but that’s not just realistic when a sport like MMA, which has a much smaller talent pool in comparison to the other major sports, is the first sport to ever so many TRT cases.
Performance enhancing drugs need to be eradicated from Mixed Martial Arts. Although it’s not realistic with the drive, or lack thereof, there is from high-ranking officials in the sport, but an unnatural physical advantage makes a dangerous sport even more dangerous.
The argument for the use of TRT is that there is no physical advantage because TRT users have to stay within the legal limits of the testosterone-epistosterone ratio (T/E ratio). While the T/E ratio is measured come fight time, that doesn’t completely prevent a fighter from abusing the synthetic hormone.
It’d be simple for a fighter to raise his T/E ratio to an astronomical rate while training whenever he is not scheduled to be tested, and that is a major competitive disadvantage to other fighters. The reason being is that fighters can do more physically and recover faster with a high testosterone level.
This would benefit that fighter in the long run because the fighter’s body would improve at a faster rate than if he had not abused synthetic testosterone. It’s unfair to his opponent who has been preparing for the fight under normal testosterone levels.
TRT is a legal way for Mixed Martial Artists to use synthetic testosterone as a competitive advantage against “clean” opponents. An inch of rope was given, and more than a mile was taken by MMA fighters. It’s time to ban TRT and rid MMA of any potential negative outcomes from it.
The athletic commissions may have a blind eye towards TRT, but the sport of MMA will probably end up with a black eye whenever a national media outlet exposes the fraudulent loophole that is testosterone replacement therapy.