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Rich Franklin 'kicking around' testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) options

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TRT or no TRT, that is the question.

When 37-year-old Rich Franklin steps into the Octagon on June 23, 2012, to face Wanderlei Silva for the second time at UFC 147 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, it will be fight number 35 in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career and number 19 with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

In a career that spans 13 years, Franklin knows all too well that the time will come when he will have to hang up his gloves for good and say farewell to the fight game. After all, slinging leather with guys like Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson would definitely take a toll on anyone's body, young or old.

With the recent testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) craze in MMA today that has worked wonder for fighters such as Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen and Quinton Jackson, just to name a few, Franklin admits he has thought about undergoing the controversial therapy, but states he treads lightly when it comes to actually deciding to go through with it or not.

Appearing on "The MMA Hour" earlier today (June 11, 2012), the former Middleweight champion talked about TRT, as well as admits that retirement could be in the near future.

Check it out:

"I hate quitting more than I hate giving up. I don't like quitting, that's all. I do what I do and I do what I love. About two or three years ago, I started getting asked about retirement and now that I've been asked about it in every single interview since then, I am kind of conditioned to understand that retirement is sometime in the near future. I don't have a date, I don't plan on fighting into my forties, but I do believe that I am one of those people that will wake up one day and say, "you know what? I've had enough and I've done enough and I'm good."

When asked if he ever considered undergoing the controversial testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), "Ace" had this to say:

"Yeah, I've kicked around that idea and everything, and actually I've talked to doctors that work with the UFC and the athletic commission in Nevada and all that kind of stuff. And at 37, my count obviously is not what it was when I was 25, and I'm a candidate for that kind of stuff. I haven't started yet. I'm not sure if that's something I want to do or how I want to approach that, because TRT is, once you start that process it's a permanent fixture. Once you start putting those hormones in your body , those synthetic hormones , then your body is not going to produce its own hormones any more, and so you really have to think carefully. My levels are still decently healthy for a male, but they're not high enough to continue a prolonged career at a top level for many more years."

With a second showdown with "The Axe Murderer" looming, a win over the Brazilian would definitely give Franklin the boost and motivation to hang around the fight game just a little bit longer. A loss, on the other hand, would mark two in a row and push him closer and closer to collecting those 401K checks.

What's your take Maniacs, should Franklin consider undergoing TRT in attempts to prolong his fighting career? Or should he continue doing what he has been doing and just let his body naturally decide when it's time to walk away from the sport, much like Randy Couture chose to do?

Thoughts?