Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and performance enhancing drugs (PED) are two terms that have been unfortunately and constantly linked to mixed martial arts (MMA), seemingly non-stop, for the past year.
It all started when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Chael Sonnen was busted, after his first go-round with Anderson Silva at UFC 117 in Oakland, Calif., on Aug. 7, 2010, for having elevated testosterone levels.
It was at that point it felt like the proverbial dam started to break, and there weren't enough fingers to plug all the holes and keep the water from draining out of the reservoir.
In addition to Sonnen, names like Alistair Overeem, Nate Marquardt, "King Mo" Muhammed Lawal, "Rampage" Quinton Jackson, Forrest Griffin and Frank Mir have all been linked to using TRT, for better or worse.
So, is TRT a necessary tool to aid aging fighters remain relevant? Or is it a device to help mixed martial artists gain an unfair advantage?
After the jump, check out what several UFC fighters had to say on the matter, during a video segment on FUEL TV's "UFC Tonight:"
Former UFC fighter Kenny Florian sat in on a panel with current UFC tough guys Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping and Dominick Cruz, as they took turn offering up their opinions on the current state of affairs in the UFC.
When the topic of TRT in MMA came up, "Ken Flo" was first to speak out on how he feels about the subject:
"Well you know there are two thoughts on this. Either everyone should be able to use this across the board or it should be banned. There are a lot of ways around it. A lot of guys can say their testosterone is low because they are coming off a cycle, but it allows my opponents or their opponents to train much harder than me. If I am drilling more than these guys, that is a lot more training sessions over my opponents. The hardest thing about a fight is being able to get your training in."
Bisping was next to check in, stating an opinion similar to that of Florian. As far as "The Count" is concerned, TRT should be illegal in the sport of MMA, and no one should be able to use it -- period:
"I think it's nonsense. When you are 21 testosterone is flowing at its max and as you get older it lowers and when you're a 40 year old you start slowing down. The whole thing is ridiculous. Nobody should use anything. If you tested them three of four times a year, then you wouldn't be able to cycle and it wouldn't be an issue."
Rashad Evans was the first panelist to flip the script by taking a somewhat opposite stance. "Suga" believes that if everyone is able to get access to TRT, then the playing field is, in fact, even.
Some in the MMA community have pushed for stronger and more serious regulations for TRT. Evans isn't for any of that. He simply feels that the sport should either continue allowing its use or scrap it altogether:
"This is a professional sport, people are going to find a way to get an edge and you're saying it's not fair for everyone across the board, but everyone can get it. People will find it anywhere if they want it. The commission allows four-to-one or six-to-one in some places, so now you have guys coming in with four or six times the advantage. It should be allowed or cut completely."
Finally, Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz chimed in. As a fighter in one of the lighter weight classes, "The Dominator" doesn't see the point in anyone his size using TRT.
With that said, Cruz doesn't think the use of TRT is quite the big deal that some do, citing the fact that PED will only take you so far:
"I am cutting so much weight I can't even think about TRT. I wouldn't make weight if I put anything in me. The other issue is it is a huge help to what you are doing in the sport, but is me adding TRT going to make me from a blue belt to a black belt? No, I still need to know technique. But what it does help is conditioning. But, you can't double the workload if you have something in your system."
Where do you Maniacs weigh in on all this? Is TRT a necessary evil or a poison that needs to be eradicated?