clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ESPN's 'Outside the Lines' looks at high TRT use in MMA

ESPN's show 'Outside The Lines' looks deeper into the use of TRT in the sport of MMA, which dwarfs the usage in other sports.

While exemptions for TRT have been on the minds and tongues of MMA fans and media for years, it has largely been ignored outside the sheltered realm of the sport. ESPN has decided to take it mainstream with a thorough look at the use of TRT in MMA in an episode of 'Outside The Lines', which you can view above.

The accompanying article is exhaustive in its research, and looks at the highest profile guys on TRT (Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen) while including conversations with fighters that have been at the wrong end of it, like Michael Bisping. There are a few seemingly damning statements in there regarding the UFC's role in getting guys onto TRT, like this passage:

In the wake of the recommendation as well as in anticipation of Belfort's application, the Nevada commission plans to review its TRT policy in a regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, raising the possibility it could decide to eliminate testosterone exemptions. UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta responded, saying the promoter would continue to defer to the judgment of athletic commissions with regard to TRT.

But, although the state athletic commissions and not the UFC ultimately grant exemptions, the MMA promotional giant has at times played a role in leading fighters down a path to TRT. Belfort volunteered that it was a "UFC doctor" who started his testosterone regimen in 2011 -- similar to a 2012 claim by Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who said a UFC doctor referred him to an age-management specialist. Sources also told "Outside the Lines" that the UFC encouraged heavyweight Roy "Big Country" Nelson to see a doctor about TRT, although he eventually opted not to after having lab work done in 2010. Nelson declined multiple interview requests for this story.

The whole thing is worth a read, especially the comparison in TRT TUE's to other sports. There is also information from a smattering of doctors throughout the article, and you can probably guess what they think about the whole idea of TRT.