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Midnight Mania! Anderson Silva wishes the UFC would bring Testosterone Replacement Therapy back

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Anderson Silva did an interview in Portuguese (you can turn on English closed captions) in which he said he doesn’t mind the USADA program, but wishes the UFC would reconsider Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) because he says a lot of older athletes need it. Transcription via

“There are some athletes who need to make use of the hormonal replacement,” Silva said. “I think, if USADA regulated that, we’d have the sport at a high level, with athletes who have stopped fighting. Vitor, for example. Even me, though I never had the replacement. But some athletes who really need it, who are older. Dan Henderson, many other athletes who have stopped because of this.”

Silva, who has been suspended twice for Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) use, had a rational-sounding explanation: MMA is an extremely intensive sport. TRT allows fighters to recover faster from the nagging little injuries the training schedule always brings on. Despite his own troubles with USADA, Silva doesn’t have a problem with the organization’s involvement in the sport. He just wishes they were a little more lenient.

“USADA’s entrance in the UFC to control the doping situation, the way I see it, was good,” Silva said. “But, in a certain way, it ends up being a disturbance. Because MMA isn’t a regular sport like all the others. It demands from the athlete fighting training, physical training. There are other countless technical valencies that they have to maintain(like) injuries, etc.

“I’m in favor of doping control, for sure. I think no athlete should or can be, on fight day, taking advantage of some situation. But I think they need to review this. Because there are many injuries, many athletes getting hurt, many fights getting cancelled due to athletes getting injured, etc.

“… For instance, you take a Tylenol, you can get caught in the doping. You take aspirin, you can get caught in the doping. There are many things, many medicines that the athlete uses, that they have to always be policing themselves. … I’m not against USADA; I’m totally in favor, but I think there should be a certain (flexibility) when it comes to what is allowed and what isn’t.”

The problem with Silva’s logic is that even were the UFC to change their policy on TRT, Silva himself probably wouldn’t be eligible to use it. One of the causes of low testosterone is past steroid use. Rewarding a steroid user by allowing them to then take synthetic testosterone isn’t something the UFC seems as... into these days. Technically, Silva could even apply for a TUE now with USADA... but he would still most likely run into trouble with the athletic commissions.

Anderson, who seems to have recorded this interview before his UFC 234 co-main event bout with Israel Adesanya was announced, also went into some detail on the way the UFC matches their legends up with young prospects. He still thinks a rematch with Nick Diaz would be ‘very cool’, and said he has spoken with Diaz about the way the UFC feeds their legends to up-and-comers.

“I think the fight with Nick Diaz would be a very cool fight, very interesting,” Silva said. “Because our last fight, both of us ended up getting caught in the doping, and it was a no-contest. So, actually, the fight didn’t exist. But I think Nick is a guy who has a name, a guy who has a history in this sport. And what we can’t accept is going into the UFC’s game of wanting to use the legends that they have to promote the young guys.

“I’ve talked about this a lot with Nick and with other athletes, as well. We don’t have an issue with fighting any of these kids. We don’t have an issue. We just want to be respected for everything we have built in this sport. Never, in my early trajectory, I never called out anyone. I always let things happen naturally. And I think it can’t be different.

“The UFC has this thing of wanting to promote new talents that don’t have the charisma with the older athletes who have the charisma and who knew how to get the machine working when we were in there. And that’s something that today’s kids can’t do. They go up there, they fight, do good fights. But, once they open their mouths, they only say crap. And they can’t get charisma with the audience. It’s no use being a good fighter and not being charismatic.”

Lacking charisma is not an accusation you can level against Israel Adesanya; perhaps that’s why Silva accepted the bout, widely regarded as an obvious setup for ‘The Last Stylebender’ to build his name by defeating his aging counterpart. Time will tell if Adesanya is able to ‘get the machine working’ as Silva did, and become one of the UFC’s biggest superstars.


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