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Keith Kizer: Rampage’s testosterone cheerleading has led to more TUE requests

By Zach Arnold | March 21, 2012

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I wanted to give Josh Gross credit for the excellent radio show he recorded this week about the issue of testosterone in MMA. He interviewed a lot of people for the show, including George Dodd of the CSAC, Keith Kizer of the NSAC, and Dr. Margaret Goodman of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Marc Ratner, according to Josh, reportedly declined to be interviewed on the topic. That’s no surprise given what a hot potato issue the T deal is right now in MMA. And, right on cue, UFC announced Chael Sonnen (a poster boy for testosterone usage) against Anderson Silva this Summer in Rio at a soccer stadium… an event under UFC ‘regulation.’ So, just like Rampage Jackson was (allegedly) using testosterone at the UFC Japan show, Chael will be doing his testosterone dealio for the Brazil fight.

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again – the T issue is a loser for promoters but it’s an even bigger loser for the fighters. It stinks. People don’t need to go through the complex spin to know that testosterone is the base chemical of steroids. The three primary ways MMA fighters can damage their endocrine system:

  1. Previous anabolic steroid usage, resulting in low levels and using TRT is basically double-dipping.
  2. Severe/bad weight cutting.
  3. Concussions/head trauma, leading to a decrease in one’s production of testosterone.

If you have suffered so much head trauma that your body can’t produce testosterone any longer, you shouldn’t be given a Therapeutic Use Exemption for testosterone usage so that you can repeat the vicious cycle and suffer from more head trauma. You shouldn’t be licensed to fight if you’re at that physical stage as a fighter.

As for anabolic steroid users or those who made bad decisions regarding weight cutting, having guys like Ken Shamrock or Rampage or Sonnen as the face of testosterone usage isn’t going to help your cause.

Josh opened up his radio show with this monologue:

“Should he be able to feel 25 years old when he’s 33? Is that OK? When you watch athletes compete and, all of a sudden, being an old man doesn’t mean you’re an old man any more? You know, there was something really cool about the idea of seeing a veteran athlete still able to do his thing later in life against younger guys and… not because he was taking something or she was taking something that allowed them to do that but simply because they were capable of it, because they had another dimension in the game that made them special and this levels the playing field. This makes everybody special. This means if you get the creaking pains in your elbows and your knees are bugging you, maybe you can’t train as hard as you used to, all of a sudden you have access to this because you’re diagnosed with low Testosterone, isn’t that just a normal part of life? Aren’t we all having low testosterone as we get older? I think I do. Does that entitle me to take this stuff simply because it’s a natural course of life? I don’t know, it’s an interesting question. It’s a medical question. It’s a moral question. It’s one that I think has many sides & many angles to, not the least of which is ‘fair play’ which I think in my mind is paramount. Is it fair? It is a backdoor to cheating? How do you differentiate the two? I’m not sure.

“I mean, look, Dan Henderson has done amazing things in his career later in life. Would he have been able to do those things without TRT? Probably not. Does it make it OK? I guess, I don’t know, I mean I think that’s something that each individual person as they watch these athletes compete have to make the determination on and whether you’re fine with that. I think judging by the reaction from most people to Performance Enhancing Drugs, most people don’t give a damn, they don’t care. I do. I think some people do and the issues of ‘fair play,’ again, linger as we discuss this.”

There’s a difference between someone who is not a fighter who is using TRT as opposed to active fighters who are using it and getting into a cage to pummel someone with four ounce gloves. How hard is this to understand? It’s not your God-given right to have a fight license.

Of the three major interviews that Josh did for his show, I would say that Mr. Dodd was thorough but cautious & politically safe. Keith Kizer was over-the-top in assuredness and stepped in it a couple of times. Dr. Goodman came off as reasonable and educated on the issue of drug usage in combat sports. She’s been able to work out a deal to have VADA drug testing Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson for their upcoming boxing fight. She reportedly contacted UFC about having VADA drug test a fighter but has not supposedly been granted permission from the UFC for said fighter to get drug tested by VADA & the regulatory body overseeing that fighter’s upcoming bout.

Regarding the upcoming April 9th hearing in Sacramento about public comment on TUEs for testosterone usage, Mr. Dodd said that fighters who want to apply for a TUE would have to do so in a public hearing where the public can show up and comment on said matter. At the public hearing, a TUE request would require a four-month review period with a six-person medical panel. Even if a fighter already has a testosterone TUE in another state, they will have to underdog a separate California-only medical review.

The major weakness in this process, of course, is that any promoter with a big name fighter that’s using testosterone can simply go to a foreign country and ‘regulate’ their own show or go to a state with a weak athletic commission or no athletic commission at all. When asked by Josh if promoters should be at fault if something goes awry on the T issue, Mr. Dodd said that the blame ultimately ‘falls back on the individual themselves.’

While Mr. Dodd’s interview was measured in tone and balanced in perspective, the same could not be said for Mr. Kizer. He went after critics of fighters getting TRT TUEs by talking about ‘silly articles’ discussing the testosterone issue in MMA and how easy it is for guys to use T/do TRT. Newsflash: Guys are using T while fighting on overseas MMA shows and right now there’s a lot of them. Hence, why Rampage’s interview in Fighters Only has fighters ready to get in on the T action.

Kizer tried to put over the TUE standards of the Nevada AC by saying it’s WADA + additional standards. He labeled it ‘a platinum standard on top of the gold standard.” He blamed ‘silly articles’ claiming T is easy to get permission to use along with Rampage’s interview for the new-found requests he’s gotten over the last couple of weeks to apply for testosterone TUEs.

And then Mr. Kizer proceeded to take a swipe at WADA & USADA in regards to their tough stance against drug usage in MMA & how other regulatory bodies are or are not performing to the level of regulation that they currently are functioning at.

“But WADA, who I have great respect for, their attitude is — if you don’t agree with us 100% of the time, then you don’t care. And USADA kind of has the same attitude and that’s just not true.”

So, he’s managed to take a swipe at me and at people like Travis Tygart right out of the box.

When discussing the issue of ‘the fine line’ regarding TUEs for testosterone, he preached about how fighters have “basic human rights” that shouldn’t be violated. That was just the start of the absurdity. He admitted during the interview that Rampage’s interview with Fighters Only (release the recorded audio, jokers) has resulted in the following:

“We probably had about, maybe, a couple of handful of athletes over the years ask for it and, like I said, I’ve had three guys who competed on it, so not much… but I have a feeling, like I said, from the recent influx of people e-mailing me or calling me and wanting to know, ‘well, what’s the procedure, my doctor says I have this issue,’ and, okay, well, if that’s true, you’re going to have to jump through all these hoops. I mean, again, we require what WADA requires and then some additional things. So, I’m not sure how you can get more serious than that? But on the flip side, too, I don’t want it to be a scarlet letter, you know. I mean, that seems to be the attitude. You see some people, even some people that have medical degrees make comments like, ‘well, they should not allow any TRT exemptions.’ Really? Really? That’s about the most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever heard in my life! That’s one thing.”

The influx comment is in response to Rampage. So, Kizer basically kills any of his other points in terms of defending the usage of T by MMA fighters by pointing out the blatantly obvious — that Rampage has opened the floodgates for T usage and since UFC allegedly let him fight while using T in Japan, what’s to stop dozens of fighters from now fighting on T during UFC ‘regulated’ events in foreign countries?

If you’re an active fighter and you need TRT to function, you shouldn’t be in the cage or the ring. If you’re not active, that’s a different story. If you need testosterone to function as a fighter, something is seriously wrong. (More on this later.)

This whole ‘scarlet letter’ labeling is a pathetic attempt at sympathetic sophistry. Victor Conte said it best – only 2% of adult males have a legitimate problem with low testosterone levels. Starting at the age of 30, your T level decreases by 1% each year. And yet we’re supposed to believe that a bunch of big-name MMA fighters suffer from supposedly low testosterone levels due to natural circumstances?

BTW, the ‘medical degrees’ swipe by Kizer is about Dr. Margaret Goodman. So, he’s gone after me, Travis Tygart, and Dr. Goodman without using names. Which side would you rather be on for this issue?

“Forget about the athletic part of view. Look at what harm can come, especially of a man … where they have this testosterone deficiency and, again, it’s not just that you’re low-normal, you’ve got to be below normal and look at the medical consequences, the dire medical consequences of leaving that untreated. That’s the starting point of all TUEs, including for TRT, is the damage done if a person doesn’t get the treatment. And, again, they don’t necessarily get the treatment they want. Sometimes you have to if there’s another medication that can treat it just as well but wouldn’t lead to any concerns either from an undue risk standpoint or advantage standpoint for competition, you’d have to use that medication instead. It may not apply to TRT so much as it does it to maybe other things, other conditions you’d have or you might use a non-anabolic medications like Adderall for example.

As I said up above, if you need testosterone so badly to function as a human being, chances are there’s a lot more wrong with you medically-speaking that should keep you out of a cage.

But, anyways, that’s the starting point of all. So, just to say, ‘well, the easy thing to do is just not allow it all.’ That is very irresponsible to say because it puts these athletes at almost a subhuman level that they don’t deserve to get proper medical treatment, even if it can be done in a fair & legitimate manner. So, that’s kind of where my starting point is and that of the commission. But, again, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to get. It’s not easy to get. Most people are turned down because in some cases they’re not even trying to game to the system. They just think, ‘hey, I’m at 300 ng on my testosterone level.’ Well, that may be low-normal but it’s not 148 ng. You’re not going to get a TRT exemption.”

Utter political BS. TRT is the easiest way for anabolic steroid users to continue using drugs *and* get a chance to double-dip. If you need TRT due to concussion damage, you shouldn’t be fighting anyways.

I will not make the blanket statement that all TRT users in MMA are steroid users, however.

Take note at the end when Kizer is talking about testosterone levels.

“The normal levels do fluctuate and I’m just going to use, you know, it kind of differs. There’s some differing on where it begins and where it ends but just… practically speaking, it’s usually between 300 ng and 1200 ng. So, if you’re between 300 ng and 1200 ng, you’re normal, you know? Now, some guys might be at 1000 ng and some guys might be at 300 or 302 or 350 but they’re all normal, you know, and again, yeah, the odds are that people at the 350 or 400 ng level are probably older than the guys in the 800 ng or 900 ng level but they’re all normal.

This is important to note because Rampage has claimed in multiple interviews that his T level was at 420 ng and that his ‘age management doctor’ told him it was ‘very, very low.’ Rampage then claimed that his doctor raised it up to 600 ng but wouldn’t go to 800 ng because he would ‘get into trouble.’ Just by supposedly increasing from 420 ng to 600 ng, Rampage gained 15 pounds of muscle easily as he put it. So, you mean to tell me that if someone comes in and has a level of 300 ng but ends up going to, say, 1000 ng that somehow it’s OK because it’s not 1200 ng? This is crazy.

So, by Kizer’s definition, Rampage being at 420 ng wouldn’t be considered a ‘very, very low’ level after all.

But if you do fall below normal and it’s an ongoing issue, you may have to for your own sake, again, forget about athletics, for your own sake to live a healthy life and not have these complications either currently or later in life, you may have to get some kind of treatment and it may include TRT. There’s other less invasive programs, medical programs that they may try on you first before you go to the level of TRT but, you know, even then you can’t then say, “OK, now I can be as high as I want.’ We still expect the athlete to be somewhere in the mid-range, even if they are on TRT but they come back us and say the high level is 1200 ng and they come to us and they’re 1250 ng, you’re not fighting, you’re not getting the exemption. Your doctor’s over treating you purposely or non-purposely and there’s definitely a line there. I mean, there have been several athletes that we’ve popped in the last 12 months or so with elevated testosterone T/E ratios and they’re sitting on the suspension sidelines for quite a while here. So, there’s definitely a before and a after, you know, before you have to below normal, not just low-normal, and after you can’t be above-normal. And, again, maybe it’s a good thing that there’s such a wide range of normal between 300 ng and 1200 ng roughly that it gives the doctor the ability to fine-tune it. So, again, there’s no unfair advantage in the fighter taking it nor an undue risk to him taking it. If he’s got too much in his system, there’s going to be, we don’t want them to end up like Lyle Alzedo.”

After airing Kizer’s interview on his show, Josh interviewed Dr. Margaret Goodman. Just like another famous Goodman in Vegas is getting ready to set the Nevada AC director straight on drug testing, Doc MG had a rebuttal of her own.

“What are they treating with testosterone replacement therapy? They’re treating a hypogonadism. They’re treating a condition that’s obviously in of itself can be very serious and can cause a whole host of medical conditions. So, number one, obviously you want to know whether someone has it or not and if they do have it, how long ago was it diagnosed and what kind of symptoms did they have as a result of it? You know, the symptoms that are a result of that can be very disabling and it’s not like these guys are in an age group where they should be developing this to some extent just by being a little bit older. It’s very, very unlikely for them to have it in most of the age groups that these guys are supposedly being diagnosed with it.

Memo to Nevada AC: You wouldn’t have a rush of fighters contacting you about testosterone usage if there already was a natural problem. Predictably, the sniffing started once Rampage opened his mouth and created an even bigger mess than there already is for drug usage in MMA.

And Dr. Goodman is right — why are all these muscular guys, who go on fitness magazine covers and flex, crying hypogonadism? Funny how that works.

“So, let’s say, play devil’s advocate, that they really do have this problem and if they do, you know, what are the symptoms that they had along with it and were those in and of themselves something that should have disqualified them from competing? So, I think it’s something that has to be diagnosed over time. Obviously, the athletic commissions are faced with a difficult issue.

“It’s going to take a great deal of time to diagnose and you need extensive documentation and once you have the documentation you’ll see how many symptoms these individuals could have had and that needs to be documented and proven before you even say whether or not they’re being adequately treated.

Nate Marquardt last year brought up the issue of concussions as possibly leading to his decreased T levels. How often is that a valid reason for T usage in MMA?

“For example, we know that head trauma, getting hit in the head can cause problems with the pituitary gland in the brain that will cause a whole host of hormonal issues and can lead to the need for testosterone replacement therapy. But that’s super, super rare and most individuals that would have developed Hypopituitarism or this kind of glandular problem, that gland controls a lot of different hormones in the body besides affecting testosterone you would have expected that they would have had evidence of other chronic neurological problems maybe related to getting hit in the head before that would be an issue. So, I think that’s pretty rare. I know that there has been some studies that have looked to see that there’s been problems with the pituitary associated with brain injury but I would have expected, like I said, other neurological problems.”

Dr. Goodman made a closing observation about an obvious elephant in the room on the T issue.

“What boxers are asking for TUEs for testosterone? I don’t know, I’ve never heard of any, and obviously I’m not totally in the know here but I would be curious to know if it’s all MMA fighters. If it’s all MMA fighters, what does that tell you? I mean, that’s kind of an interesting fact in and of itself. I’m just concerned that this is coming up more and more often. I don’t want to see it be made into an excuse for usage of these substances and it just isn’t a way that they’re cheating. I tend to agree with the people from WADA that have spoken out on this in the past, not obviously in relation to combat sports but have talked about this relation to the Olympics when these TUEs are given for testosterone it’s almost unheard of. So, with all the thousands of athletes that they deal with, it should be really unheard of in MMA and boxing.”

I’ve been asked repeatedly why I think the usage of T will explode as a mainstream issue in the future in MMA. It’s simple — it’s a numbers game. If Fighter A gets crippled at the hands of Fighter B (who’s using the magic T) and it happens in, say, New Jersey, then the promoter can shift the political blame onto the AC. But if Fighter A dies at the hands of Fighter B, a well-known T user, on foreign soil under ‘UFC regulation’, then all of a sudden you will see an outcry in the media. It will be combustible and given how Fox has already been reportedly toning down Joe Rogan’s act, it would be the kind of nightmare that they simply would not want to deal with.

So, people should be cleaning up this mess now and being proactive instead of reactive when it’s too late. Watching ACs and promoters acquiesce in giving muscular fighters TUEs for T is like watching an oncoming car wreck. You know what the end result is going to be but the participants involved are turning a blind eye.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 67 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

67 Responses to “Keith Kizer: Rampage’s testosterone cheerleading has led to more TUE requests”

  1. Jason Harris says:

    “If you’re an active fighter and you need TRT to function, you shouldn’t be in the cage or the ring.”

    And yet again, somehow the fact that it’s testosterone sets this legal medical treatment apart from the various other legal medal treatments that are allowed and OK and not the subject of a few articles a week on this site.

    Replace TRT in your statement with:
    ACL replacement
    cadaver skin in your face
    bones shaved from your forehead
    steel plates on your broken bones
    anti depressants

    I could go on all day, but basically this argument:
    “if you have -medical problem- to the point where you need -treatment- for it, going into a combat sport and putting your body through enormous physical strain is just going to make you worse!”

    Yep. It’s taxing on the body to be a professional athlete in a combat sport. You change the symptom and the treatment in that sentence to anything you’d like and it doesn’t get any less true. But if I say it about lasik eye surgery everyone casts it out as ridiculous, but honestly, it’s not. As fans, why do we feel we’re more qualified than medical professionals to make the determination about what medical procedures are OK and which ones aren’t?

    Various doctors worked with various governing and sanctioning bodies and determined that TUE for TRT is applicable in some situations. No matter how much completely untrained people yell “TRT = TESTOSTERONE = STEROIDS = BAD”, it doesn’t make them more qualified than the people actually making the decisions.

    You have written every one of these articles with the baseline assumption that every single fighter was juicing so hardcore that they can’t make testosterone anymore so now they’re all cheating. When you have that guilty until proven innocent attitude, it gets pretty impossible to disprove or argue because you only want evidence that fits your preconceived notion and that’s all you choose to focus on.

    This whole “someone is going to die because a guy who doesn’t have low testosterone ripped his head off!” is completely hyperbolic and ridiculous. By your reasoning, Rampage should have literally ripped Ryan Bader in half because his years of steroids combined with TRT now has turned him into a superhuman monster.

    • Wonderjudas says:

      “Replace TRT in your statement with:
      ACL replacement
      cadaver skin in your face
      bones shaved from your forehead
      steel plates on your broken bones
      anti depressants”

      None of these give you more power to rip someone’s head off.

      “As fans, why do we feel we’re more qualified than medical professionals to make the determination about what medical procedures are OK and which ones aren’t?”

      Sweeping statement a go-go. Which fans are you talking about? Zach is a journalist who’s done a tonne of research and has well-argued points, not just random opinions.

      “You have written every one of these articles with the baseline assumption that every single fighter was juicing so hardcore that they can’t make testosterone anymore so now they’re all cheating.”

      Another sweeping statement. I’ve read all of the articles in this series and have never forged this idea. Zach has argued against the usage of TRT by some fighters and has argued that those specific fighters shouldn’t be allowed to fight. If you insist on claiming that Zach has argued against against the entire crop of fighters, please cite your sources and prove your point.

      “By your reasoning, Rampage should have literally ripped Ryan Bader in half because his years of steroids combined with TRT now has turned him into a superhuman monster.”

      Straw man.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        I wouldn’t call it a strawman argument at all.

        TRT, Lasik, & ACL Surgery all get your body back to the “normal” levels.

        Shaving your bones or putting steel plates in your body is far more extreme then TRT is.

        • Norm says:

          I’d argue LASIK has the ability to exceed limits of “normal” vision.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Valid point.

          I just think that people automatically categorize certain things as good or bad because of what is already accepted in sports.

          To me Tommy John Surgery is far worse then any TRT and yet nobody blinks an eye when at least a few pitchers a year get the surgery done.

          TRT, if properly implemented is not a problem. But it’s extremely expense to curb abuse, which is why I think it should be illegal. Plus a lot of times it is used for athletes who have already juiced in the past and now their bodies have a deficiency because of it.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I’m curious to your thoughts – other than golf what sport does exceeding the normal limits of distance vision actually give you any sort of advantage?

      • maer says:


        “…what sport does exceeding the normal limits of distance vision actually give you any sort of advantage?”

    • I agree with these points. Zach, I really think you’re going overboard with the issue of banning TRT from the sport. It won’t happen. Legally, it could open up a whole new can of worms that the athletic commissions don’t want to deal with.

  2. fd says:

    “Newsflash: Guys are using T while fighting on overseas MMA shows and right now there’s a lot of them.”

    Really? How many? And who?

    “Nate Marquardt last year brought up the issue of concussions as possibly leading to his decreased T levels. How often is that a valid reason for T usage in MMA?”

    Nate Marquardt popped positive for nandralone the first time he fought in a tested fed. You don’t have to go looking for reasons for him to have hormone imbalances when there’s documented ones in his history. He shouldn’t have even been issued a provisional TUE, and to the credit of the NJSAC they required him to undergo regular out of competition testing, and immediately yanked his TUE when he was found to be abusing it.

  3. Steve4192 says:

    “Marc Ratner, according to Josh, reportedly declined to be interviewed on the topic. That’s no surprise given what a hot potato issue the T deal is right now in MMA”

    That’s one way of looking at it. Another way, that is closer to reality IMO, is that Ratner turned down the interview because Gross is persona non grata at Zuffa. When was the last time ANYONE in the Zuffa front office spoke to Josh Gross?

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Bellator got a little over 100,000 viewers last Friday. The UFC got about 1.1 Million viewers. Both were down because of the NCAA Tournament, but I think we can take a few things from these ratings.

    1) There is a natural dip in viewership for a Friday Night TUF crowd. Looks to be a few 100,000….

    2) Bellator has built zero momentum. I know they are on MTV 2, but you would think that by the 6th season they would have built a little bit of a fanbase that would translate week to week. That doesn’t seem to be the case. I highly doubt SpikeTV will change that.

    3) The new TUF format is different, but not much better. Still too low a level of fighter for my tastes. I’ve given up already.

    4) The new Bellator graphics appear to be better, but their telecasts still feel difficult to get through. The pacing is bad, the lighting is depressing, the commentators are 3rd rate, and the fights themselves are not that interesting outside of a few really nice finishes.

    Right now the UFC is setting up a nice line-up through July…. Some nice looking cards (minus that horrible UFC 145 PPV). I think it’s obvious that Bellator & TUF just aren’t the same as good quality MMA….

  5. Beau Dure says:

    I’d still like to see Don Catlin quoted more often. I remember he said he’d only seen a couple of TRT TUEs, and one was for a guy who had a horrible accident involving his testicles.

    In the general sense, Kizer has a point about WADA and USADA. WADA was run for many years by Canadian Dick Pound, who had all sorts of ridiculous agendas at play. WADA also will blindly prosecute athletes to the max for simple errors or substances that are dubiously included in the World Anti-Doping Code. See the Alain Baxter, Zach Lund and Torri Edwards cases.

    But in this specific sense, I think the fight industry needs to listen to Goldman, Catlin et al.

    • Jonathan Snowden says:

      You realize that Eddie Goldman is a crazy person right? This is your spokesman? Yikes.

    • Megatherium says:

      Dick Pound’s “ridiculous agendas” was rooting out cheaters.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Agreed. The issue is that he’s an ego maniac and attention whore, so people try to dismiss many of his very good agendas/points because of it.

        The guy was on the IOC and was at one point considered a candidiate to lead the IOC, he’s hardly a crack-pot.

  6. Norm says:

    Zach, you keep saying testosterone is the base of steroids. If you are going to take such a self-righteous/gloating stance on the issue, atleast do some rudimentary biochem research before making inaccurate claims.

    Testosterone is the base for ANABOLIC steroids, but there are other types of hormones that fall under that group as well such as corticosteroids (cortisone) which don’t have properties related to anabolic steroids. Hell, Vitamin D is considered a steroid.

    You also keeping bring up the hypothetical of a fighter getting maimed by another fighter on roids (god forbid it happens on a UFC regulated show…gasp). There are a few assumption here that off base.

    First, are steroids some newfound drug that athletes have just started using? You don’t think boxers were not using them when they were legal prior to the 90’s?

    Second, nearly 100% of combat related deaths are due to some pre-exisiting condition or more commonly due to brain trauma from the dehydration the fighter under went to make weight.

    Finally, you assume steroids turn you into some kind of altered beast instantly capable of killing, when really they are probably more of hinderance than a benefit in a sport like MMA. Excess muscle is a big expense on the body, which can lead to a fighter gassing out faster than normal. If anything, EPO would be significantly more beneficial for MMA than steroids.

    Keep up the good work, gun smoke!

    • 45 Huddle says:

      “Finally, you assume steroids turn you into some kind of altered beast instantly capable of killing, when really they are probably more of hinderance than a benefit in a sport like MMA. Excess muscle is a big expense on the body, which can lead to a fighter gassing out faster than normal. If anything, EPO would be significantly more beneficial for MMA than steroids.”

      I’ve long thought this. I think it adds a certain amount of bulk that actually hurts the athletes.

      Sure it has helped a guy like Alistair Overeem…. But Heavyweight MMA has always been it’s own sort of thing. For the rest of the divisions we are not seeing overly bulked up guys as champions.

      Jones, Silva, & Cruz are lanky for their division. Edgar is small for his division. Aldo isn’t overly bulky. GSP has had to intentionally try and put muscle mass on his body because he is constantly looking like the smaller athlete out there as the sport evolves.

      There is a reason why when a fighter typically pisses hot, more times then not he is the one who lost the fight.

      • edub says:

        Each opinion here from you guys is based around the thought that all steroids do is build muscle.

        It builds your whole body. Conditioning, recovery, functioning muscle, cutting fat, injury recovery, cardio…

        • Norm says:

          I’m fully aware that there are a plethora of uses when it comes to steroids. I was merely highlighting the scenario that Zach focuses on of a roided fighter killing a clean fighter is unlikely. Zach probably has a better chance of getting credentialed at a UFC than of that happening.

        • fd says:

          Recovery and cutting fat, yes, but Hallman (one of the guys with a TRT exemption) has said on Inside MMA that he doesn’t actually take as much T as he’s legally allowed to, because when he gets towards the upper limits it causes his cardio to suffer.

        • edub says:

          Yes, Dennis Hallman, the beacon of truth.

        • fd2 says:

          What motive does Hallman have to lie about the specifics of how much T he’s taking when he’s already legally allowed to do so? What benefit does it do him in any way to claim that taking too much T hurts his cardio?

          I don’t object to assuming that Hallman would lie, but if you’re going to assume he’s lying without any reason whatsoever to do so I’d like to see some reason to think that testosterone DOES help cardio, because I haven’t ever seen that in clinical descriptions.

        • edub says:

          When a person’s been lying his whole career, it’s kinda hard to determine a reason. His whole thought process is defending PED use in MMA now, which could definitely lead to taking some liberties with information.

          As for PED’s in cardio; all you have to do is google steroid to see how many types of PED’s there are in sports (and what they help the body with).

          Or you could just look at cycling.

        • fd says:

          I don’t disagree that there are plenty of PEDs that help cardio, but testosterone is not one of them, and testosterone is the only thing relevant when talking about TUEs, unless somebody manages to get a prescription for EPO.

        • edub says:

          Testosterone is used for many different things besides just bulking up. Saying that it doesn’t help with cardio is not an accurate statement. It all depends on how you train with it.

          EPO’s are the only substance used in Cycling.

        • fd2 says:

          “Saying that it doesn’t help with cardio is not an accurate statement.”

          I’m going to have to ask for a source on this, because I’ve never seen any clinical or even anecdotal evidence that testosterone (straight testosterone, not a testosterone-based compound) can be employed to improve cardio.

        • edub says:

          Where is your research that shows it doesn’t? You know, besides Dennis Hallman.

        • fd says:

          Well, there are plenty of research papers about the effects of testosterone supplementation, and I’ve never read one that mentioned any kind of increase in cardio. You’re the first person I’ve even heard claim it. Which is why I asked for a source.

  7. nottheface says:

    Amazing that so many people view this as a complete non-issue. Even if you think fighters should be completely free to undergo TRT you would think some people would be alarmed at the complete lack of standards. Isn’t a level playing field one of the tenants of “fair play”? That fighters who undergo TRT are supposed to receive a TUE first yet so few have apparently done so? That fighters who have not received a TUE under an athletic commission can be booked for shows where the promotion can determine the testing procedures? That the WADA standards are supposedly the gold standard everyone strives for yet are completely ignored?

    As of the beginning of 2010 only two fighters had a TRT exemption in Nevada, Dan Henderson (who also has one for California) and Todd Duffee. So either everyone else being treated is cheating in Nevada or the UFC was bypassing the commissions they’ve handed authority to on the matter. Neither one seems particular “sporting”.

    • Jason Harris says:

      I 100% agree that it’s an issue that needs to be handled carefully to prevent abuse.

      It is NOT an issue that should be turned into a hyperbolic witch hunt, and articles like this are trying to do exactly that. Statements like “Which side do you want to be on?” and “But if Fighter A dies at the hands of Fighter B, a well-known T user, on foreign soil under ‘UFC regulation’, then all of a sudden you will see an outcry in the media.”

      The entire point of the treatment is to return someone’s testosterone to normal levels, and yet we’re getting articles implying it’s going to turn fighters into superhuman monsters who are going to murder each other with their super strength.

      We’ve gotten half a dozen articles that are unfavorable about Rampage due to his TRT use, on a site that gleefully covered Bob Sapp’s entire Japanese run including fighting guys who weighed 150-200lbs less than him. There’s somewhere where someone could ACTUALLY have gotten hurt by a much much larger fighter using steroids, but I guess it wasn’t important back then.

      TRT is definitely able to be abused and should be regulated as such. How much exactly they are doing to regulate it we don’t know and probably won’t know just like we don’t know about anything else fighters are doing with their doctors and the AC since it’s not the public’s business.

      The implication that everybody is using TRT to turn into superhumans and the incompetent ACs can’t stop them and the UFC is encouraging them is a huge stretch, and seems to be the underlying point of all of these articles. The reason they’re not gaining traction in the rest of the MMA world is it’s just honestly hard to swallow.

      Here’s a fun question, even allowing the mental leap that TRT = STEROIDS = BAD, when’s the last fighter anyone can think of that popped positive for steroids and actually won their fight? Or even looked good in it? Where are these superhuman monsters that are ripping people in half?

      • Chuck says:

        “when’s the last fighter anyone can think of that popped positive for steroids and actually won their fight? Or even looked good in it? Where are these superhuman monsters that are ripping people in half?”

        Mohammad Lawal, when he beat Lorenz Larkin this past January. Recent enough? And Lawal did beat the piss out of Larkin, so that should count, right?

        • The Gaijin says:

          Cris Cyborg?

        • Jason Harris says:

          Doh, Strikeforce’d.

          But my point is that the vast majority of guys who get caught using are not performing well at all. CagePotato did an article about this a few years ago when they still tried (oh hey, it’s still being updated ) and there’s not really a pattern of people having a definitive advantage.

          While I don’t think guys should be allowed to be using PEDs, I think the hyperbole where everyone claims it’s turning people into monsters and killers and someone’s going to die because of it is hollow and there’s a reason fans don’t latch onto it, because they don’t buy it.

        • edub says:

          Might as well add every single Dan Henderson win since 2007, each Chael Sonnen win since his admitted usage, and every Todd Duffee win to that list also.

        • Jason Harris says:

          “every Todd Duffee win”

          Can’t think of one

        • edub says:

          He’s got 8 or 9, and has been on the treatment for close to his entire career.

      • Fishbowl says:

        Thiago silva. He desteoyed vera pretty badly. Granted getting a good night’s sleep would probably achieve the same result.

  8. […] NSAC’s Keith Kizer Talks TRT ( […]

  9. Megatherium says:

    Chael Sonnen looked kind of “superhuman monsterish” against Anderson. In fact, he performed unlike any other fight he had ever been in.

  10. brian g says:

    Zach one more reason for low testosterone is:

    Repeated use of Pain Killers e.g.; Hydro codeine, Morphine, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Methadone, etc. etc.
    Studies show that years of pain pill use such as treatment for chronic pain will cause low testosterone in young males.

    Just one more reason I thought you should know.

    P.S. LONG time reader, please keep up the excellent articles.

  11. The Gaijin says:

    LOLCATS!!!! Thiago Santos just handed Eric Prindle the HW tourney title for Bellator by missing weight for the finals!!!!!

    The HW tourney was a bit of a joke to begin with and now it’s a total mess….so bad. haha

    • 45 Huddle says:

      It doesn’t get much worse then that. Finals ends in a draw, then gets delayed a week, then gets called off. Yikes! Tournaments are bound to get messed up in MMA. The format is just not good for a sport in which it takes months to play out.

      At this point, Bellator should just get rid of their Heavyweight & Light Heavyweight Divisions. They are almost completely vacant of any real talent.

      They should concentrate on Middle, Welter, Light, Feather, Bantam, & 1 Female Division. That’s 6 divisions. Which means they do 5 tournaments per season, and then 1 during their “summer series”. This will mean a fresh title challenger each season will be created.

      Trying to juggle 8 divisions has not worked for them so far.

    • Megatherium says:

      The 265 weight limit for heavyweight sure is curious. What in the world is the point of making a handful of ultra big guys cut weight?

      Move the damned bar for heavyweight down to 230 and create two viable divisions.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Horrible idea. That would split the Heavyweight Division into 2 divisions. Right now there is not enough talent to make that happen. And almost all of the UFC Heavyweights can make 230 pounds, making the unlimited division almost vacant of any sort of credible talent.

        Then there is that small little thing about how a larger division should only be created if those smaller fighters can’t win due to size. And that has been proven false time and time again. The Brock Lesnar’s of the world are not the norm. Most of the #1 Heavyweights in the world come in around 230 to 245.

        • The Gaijin says:

          I’ve yet to see many guys that are physically limited by having to make 265. No ofighter that is a good or great athlete and is in shape has these issues, the vast majority of the guys that can’t make weight are just not in shape or not eating/dieting properly – they’re fat.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The UFC has 33 guys on their website at Heavyweight. Add in Cormier & Barnett and that is 35.

          Of those guys, 5 to 8 of them should be fighting at Light Heavyweight.

          The 265 limit actually has forced a lot of Heavyweights to stay in better shape instead of just fighting in an unlimited weight division.

          I was very much opposed to the 265 limit when it was first implemented. But it has turned out to be great for the sport.

        • The Gaijin says:

          And flip it – how many guys are being hurt by the “cut” to 265? None.

          How many fighters are being kept out of the UFC (or any other semi-relevant organization) because the 265 limit is not possible for them to make? None.

          In fact, prime example – Mark Hunt’s career has seen a resurgence since he got serious and got himself into decent shape rather than being a 300+lb head-hunting fighter.

        • Megatherium says:

          Ideally, you move the 205 limit back to 200 again and then move 265 all the way south to 225. I’m pretty sure that three legit weight classes would emerge from the current crop of lhw-hws.

          People were against 185 at the time; it turned out ok.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          If you move the limit from 205 to 200, then you are likely going to see about 5 fighters move from Light Heavyweight to Heavyweight…. Giving the UFC a pool of 40 Heavyweights. You can’t split that in half with 2 divisions. 20 isn’t enough to make a legit division long term.

          And plus it still ignores the basic idea that a weight division should only be created if the larger fighters are beating the smaller fighters due to size.

          History has shown us that if you split up the Heavyweight Division, that the smaller portion of the 2 would have the better fighters, making the “SHW” division completely useless overall.

        • Megatherium says:

          Granted the larger SHW division would be a little meager just now, but that still doesn’t explain the need for the dormant 265+ division. Would the NFL product improve if they enforced a weight limit of 265 lbs on lineman? Maybe, but I think they like operating without self imposed barriers and I would like to see big fighters given the same freedom. If Lesnar could have fought at 310 his extra size could have been decisive, we’ll never know.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Almost all of the NFL Lineman could make 265 pounds if their goal was to get slimmer instead of just adding mass.

          It’s extremely extremely rare to see an athlete who can’t make that limit.

  12. edub says:

    Apparently injecting testosterone into your body is the same thing as repairing joints/ligaments/broken bones. Oh yea, and repairing eyesight.

    Gotta love Fight Opinion.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Injecting testosterone into your body to bring it back to “normal” levels really isn’t much different then a lot of other medical practices in sports these days.

      • The Gaijin says:

        Well if we’re being honest there are pretty strict natural limits on bringing yourself back to “normal levels” based on all of the strawman examples people are using as compared to something like TRT.

        TRT is and is inherently open to rampant abuse beyond returning to “natural levels”. All of these other practices have a natural endpoint that cannot be “abused” in a way that this can. In addition, all of these procedures (to my knowledge) have always been considered acceptable while the other has never been.

        • Jason Harris says:

          “all of these procedures (to my knowledge) have always been considered acceptable while the other has never been.”

          This sentence pretty much proves the point I’ve tried to make through all of this. TRT has been introduced as a legal, valid medical procedure and was never illegal, just like Lasik surgery was never illegal. But because of people foaming at the mouth “TRT = STEROIDS = BAD” it’s been given the reputation that it’s just guys doing legal steroids.

        • edub says:

          Because that’s exactly what it is. Guys doing legal steroids.

          Again, fixing ones eyesight is not the same as “balancing” your testosterone level.

      • edub says:

        That’s bullshit.

        Your injecting foreign testosterone into your body. Your body is receiving the benefits of that jump while training, and competing.

  13. […] Fight Opinion’s Zack Arnold continues to tackle the hot potato of TRT exemptions. […]

  14. […] about Dr. Goodman in previous interviews whether or not her name has or hasn’t come up. When Josh Gross interviewed Kizer for his mega-ESPN radio show on the topic of testosterone, Kizer mocked anyone who said that […]

  15. […] One individual who we have had issues with on the testosterone issue is Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. This is a man who, less than two months ago, publicly said that he doesn’t want testosterone usage to become ‘a scarlet letter’ for fighters. He made this comment in response to a question during a major interview on the issue by Josh Gross on ESPN Radio. The question was in relation to the preaching of testosterone usage by UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Take a look at what Keith Kizer said to Josh Gross: […]

  16. […] work in enhancing their performance & increased strength. Keith Kizer can tell you that approving hall passes for testosterone usage should not constitute the scarlet letter treatment, but it’s hard to to make an argument to the public that so many healthy-looking 20, 30, and […]

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