In a great piece of investigative journalism, ESPN has tackled the issue of testosterone replacement therapy – an issue that has begun to plague our sport. The following quote tells you all you need to know about the tone of the piece:
Exemptions for testosterone use — a substance banned in sports as a performance enhancer — are being handed out at exceedingly high rates in the ever-popular combat sport of mixed martial arts, with state athletic commissions routinely granting allowances based solely on low lab values and diagnoses of hypogonadism, an “Outside the Lines” investigation has found. A major known cause of acquired hypogonadism: prior use of anabolic steroids.
The article goes on to compare the testosterone usage exemptions granted in MMA versus the number granted in other sports.
And of course, no article on TRT would be complete with some sweet quotes from Mr. TRT himself, Vitor Belfort.
Belfort, who tested positive for the anabolic steroid 4-Hydroxytestosterone in 2006, cast himself as the most transparent, drug-tested athlete in the sport. “I am telling you, many fighters [are] out there doing drugs, enhancement drugs,” he said. “And they don’t get tested for it. They don’t get tested in camp. I do. … Other people do TRT and they never go public. I am not ashamed. I am very loyal to my principles. And that is what I do.”
“We have, like, tons of fighters with TRT,” Belfort said. “It looks like just me. … I feel condemned right now. And I am doing everything legal.”
The piece is well worth the read, and as an added bonus, there’s a link to a page listing 15 MMA fighters who’ve been granted TRT exemptions. Oddly enough, Belfort isn’t counted twice.