Many fighters have publicly stated their opinion on the subject in recent months, and UFC president Dana White has chimed in on the subject a few times, however he has mostly given a cookie-cutter answer. In a UFC 148 pre-fight interview with ESPN reporter Todd Grisham, though, White stated that if it were up to him, TRT would be illegal for fighters competing in MMA.
Read White's conversation with Grisham below.
Grisham: "If Dan Henderson wins his fight against Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen wins on Saturday, two of your biggest faces, your champions will be on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), how does that sit with you?"The statement from White is extremely interesting. It is pretty clear he is not trying to cover up the issue of TRT in MMA. If he was, he could have easily answered 'no' to Grisham's final question.
White: "The bottom line is, the way that this TRT works, it's absolutely 100 percent legal with the - let me explain one more thing."
Grisham: "The public still thinks it's cheating."
White: "I know. We're regulated by the government. We're really the only sport that's actually regulated by the government and the government allows these guys to do this TRT. And basically over the next 10 years, sports science keeps getting better and better and better and the way that TRT works is as we get older your testosterone level drops, and this (TRT) is to replace it. The problem with it is, you got guys going 'well if this much is good, this (more) must be great. That's the problem and you will find guys that cheat even with the stuff that's legal.
"That's what we're trying to - you make a good point and Anderson Silva said it at the press conference the other day. Anderson Silva, the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world has broke every record in the UFC and is the greatest fighter ever in mixed martial arts. He's 38 years old, people don't realize that, he's not 28, he's 38, and he's not doing testosterone replacement therapy. This guy comes in 100 percent natural and he beats everybody. And something should be said for that, I don't disagree. You know the guys who are using testosterone replacement therapy going up against a guy who isn't, and this guy's still the greatest in the world. So to me, the bottom line is you don't need that junk. If you don't abuse stuff earlier in your career, you'll never need to use that kind of junk."
Grisham: "So if it were up to you, it would be illegal? If you were making the call?"
A number of the UFC biggest stars including Henderson, Sonnen, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Frank Mir are on TRT and White essentially implies the these athletes wouldn't need to be on TRT is they hadn't abused substances earlier in their career. While there is no proof of substance abuse for fighters currently requiring TRT and every case involving TRT needs examined on an individual basis, many in the MMA community share White's sentiment.
While White has no official power when it comes to actually outlawing TRT from the sport (that duty lays in the hands of the Athletic Commissions), he comments are very telling of the overall skepticism regarding the subject.
Many fans are against fighters receiving therapeutic use exemptions for TRT, and White's recent comments only add fuel to the fire for those who believe TRT shouldn't be allowed for MMA fighters.
Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com, wrote this article. You can follow me on Twitter at @FightCoveMike.