« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 08:50:43 PM »
TRT saga rages on
February, 8, 2013
By Josh Gross
A month ago, prior to knocking out Michael Bisping in Brazil, Vitor Belfort was asked a direct question by ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto: Had the 34-year-old Brazilian ever applied for or considered using testosterone replacement therapy?
Belfort rambled through a winding nonanswer. Something about public and private information that's all so controversial it's not worth saying anything at all. Well, it didn't take a genius to figure out what the deal was because odds are if you're not on TRT, you'd probably say so.
On Wednesday, UFC officials cleared the fog (at least a layer of it) by confirming Belfort was "diagnosed with hypogonadism, or low testosterone" and "had been on medically approved testosterone replacement therapy under the supervision of a medical doctor from the state of Nevada."
In the face of rumors that he either tested positive or was using a therapeutic use exemption for TRT, Belfort's display last weekend in Las Vegas to reporters now borders on ridiculous.
Responding to anyone that might have wondered what was up, Belfort said: "I think people get jealous when a guy of my age is destroying these people getting title shots.Ē
A guy his age -- taking shots. Or rubbing in a cream. Or whatever.
We know now that Belfort -- challenged by anabolic steroid rumors even during his earliest days in the UFC, which were confirmed in 2006 by a nine-month suspension and a $10,000 fine payable to the state of Nevada after too much testosterone was found in his system (he blamed not knowing what a doctor had injected into him) -- is allowed to boost up his levels.
This raises questions.
Should fighters be notified when their opponents have been cleared for testosterone replacement therapy?
For instance, how does a guy who tested positive for steroids remain eligible for a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone?
It turns out this is possible. The Nevada State Athletic Commission, for instance, does not prohibit fighters who tested positive for PEDs from getting a script for testosterone.
"The issue would be if an applicant's condition was caused by PED usage," said NSAC executive director Keith Kizer. "The applicant's burden would be much higher."
One could also say the same about the body responsible for setting and enforcing that burden. It's unclear how it was handled by Zuffa, which essentially ran the event while reportedly showing a new Brazilian athletic commission the ropes.
"The purpose of a medically administered TRT regimen is to allow patients with hypogonadism to maintain testosterone levels within a range that is normal for an adult male," the promotion said in a statement.
The potential for abuse seems obvious, so it's fair to wonder whether or not Belfort was monitored during his camp. It doesn't seem adequate to only test TRT patients around the fight.
What role did the UFC have in monitoring Belfort, particularly for an overseas event in which it essentially acts as a regulator?
Should Michael Bisping, at 33 just a year younger than Belfort, have been notified that his opponent was under the care of a medical doctor for low testosterone? And that this care allowed him to inject testosterone?
As pointed out in different places, three of Bispingís last four losses have come against guys under the TRT therapy.
Does the public have a right to know before the fact? There is wagering happening. I imagine it would be helpful to know which fighters are augmented and which arenít.
TRT isnít going away anytime soon. Itís a fact of life in the UFC, and needs to be managed the right way.