Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) changed the mixed martial arts (MMA) landscape last month with its landmark ruling on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), effectively banning any and all therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) for the controversial treatment.
While many fans (and fighters) hailed the decision as a knockdown in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), other competitors are stuck between a rock and a hard place. That includes former middleweight number one contender Chael Sonnen, who is not using TRT to compete exceptionally, but rather to live normally.
From his conversation with Yahoo! Sports:
"It puts me in a spot, because medically, I do need testosterone. I have to look at this carefully, but they made no bones about it: It's out. We all have to deal with that, whether we like it or not. The best way to describe is that it is a completely terrible, horrible feeling. This is a medicine and it's medicine I need to live normally on a day-to-day basis. People say it is a performance enhancer, and there are a lot of things guys can take to enhance performance. But testosterone is more than a performance enhancer for me. It is a life enhancer. My life is better. My attitude is better. I have more energy. I need less sleep. It makes me feel better in many different regards. It makes me a better husband and a better neighbor and a better pet owner. I understand the abuse, but this is a medicine that helps people with a problem."
Sonnen's pet kitten "Fluffy" appears to be the forgotten victim in TRT-Gate.
"The American Gangster" -- who fights Wanderlei Silva in May -- is not the first fighter to voice his concern over the new ruling, which also affects athletes competing in Brazil. Longtime friend and training partner Dan Henderson, like Sonnen, is not a Johnny-come-lately in the TRT world.
And also like Sonnen, uses his treatment to improve his quality of life.
Unfortunately, everyone has been too busy piling on Vitor Belfort -- perhaps unfairly -- to consider the other side of the argument, which does present problems for a whole host of current fighters who take TRT to
prevent lactating to live normally.