Frank Mir on TRT, Nate Marquardt off TRT, Legend thinks about it, Confusion ensues
Three letters that continue to make headlines--and it's not MMA.
--The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently revealed that former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, 33, was approved for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone. In other words, Mir is now doing what is known as testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which is supposed to be used to bring abnormally low levels of testosterone back up to normal.
The issue is despite being legal, the fact that TUEs keep popping up in MMA--with fighters that are in their 30s and in Dan Henderson's case, early-40s. Low testosterone at that age range can be attributed to a number of factors, but most likely a history of extensive weight cutting and/or the negative side effects of past steroid use.
As WrestlingObserver.com's Dave Meltzer has noted, Henderson, Shane Roller, and Chael Sonnen, who currently are on TRT, have been cutting weight for two or more decades as wrestlers turned MMA fighters. Former light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, 33, is another wrestler turned fighter, currently on TRT after being approved by the UFC, when the promotion served as its own commission in Japan for UFC 144 in February. Jackson, who is currently rehabilitating two injured knees, has yet to be approved for a TUE in the U.S. Mir on the other hand, is a heavyweight with no wrestling background.
To be fair, Mir, unlike Sonnen, has never tested positive and from the get-go informed the NSAC on March 27 that he started using the therapy. That's also the same, infamous day six heavyweights competing on the UFC 146 main card were randomly drug tested, including the currently unlicensed Alistair Overeem.
Mir passed all his tests and came into his UFC 146 title fight against champion Junior dos Santos at normal testosterone levels. The issue isn't whether TRT is illegal. It isn't, but it's availability could open the floodgates for more fighters to get on the therapy and with more fighters on it, the greater chance of abuse. After all, higher than allowed levels of testosterone during training is technically performance enhancing. Of course, there's the issue of "Well, if you have a health issue that doesn't allow you to fight, maybe you shouldn't fight--considering it isn't a birthright or anything." And there's the old saying "one person [in this case a handful of abusers] have to ruin in for everyone else [i.e. people that have valid, legitimate, non-PED related reasons for TRT].
--Now here's some TRT confusion. Former UFC middleweight and current Strikeforce welterweight contender Nate Marquardt, 33, has failed a steroid test in the past. The day before his scheduled UFC on Versus main event with Rick Story, Marquardt was fired because his testosterone levels were higher than the allowable limit. Besides the mind-boggling lack of a one-year suspension from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission (or any commission mind you), Marquardt went on HDNet and MMAFighting.com's The MMA Hour to plead his case.