Post-TRT: How Have The Fighters Fared?

As most of us are aware, NSAC (Nevada State Athletic Commission) and the UFC put an end to the use of TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) by fighters on February 27th 2014. Up to that point many fighters, UFC and otherwise had been given TUEs (Therapeutic Use Exemptions) in the state of Nevada, to Japan and even down to Australia. With the UFC’s tendency to follow the NSAC policies, up to that point it had also allowed fighters to use TRT in places not governed by an Athletic Commission, such as Brazil. Since the ban fighters coming off TRT have been involved in 15 fights , here we will take a closer look at how the fighters have actually fared.

This is a comprehensive list of former TRT users that are currently still active.

Just to clarify what each criteria means:

  • TUE Since: Year when the fighter has had an exemption for the use of TRT. 
  • Record Under TRT: The fighters record while on the treatment.
  • Record post-TRT: For fighters who were on the treatment then off again before the ban.
  • Record Since TRT Ban: The fighters record since February 27th 2014.
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Vitor Belfort

TUE since: Disputed claims since before the Anderson Silva fight in 2011, officially since 2012

Record Under TRT: 5-2 / 3-0

Record Since TRT Ban: 0-0

Belfort has been the main protagonist in the whole TRT ordeal since he publicly admitted to using TRT back in January 2013. He has posted a good record since then going 3-0 with 3 finishes. Since the ban on TRT Belfort has yet to fight having tested above the limit allowed for testosterone in a random test back on February 7th 2013. He would later go one to release a statement relating to that failed test which you can read here. Belfort is now rescheduled to face Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman at UFC 187 in May of this year.

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Todd Duffee

TUE since: 2010
Record Under TRT: 0-1
Record Post-TRT: 3-1
Record since TRT Ban: 1-0

Surprisingly Todd Duffee had a TUE from NSAC back in 2010 at the ripe old age of 24. He explained on The MMA Hour that he was on it for 1 fight against Mike Russow. Duffee had said that he was scared into using TRT by his doctor but after researching up about it he realised that his doctor had just been pushing TRT in his clinic so Duffee then took himself off of the treatment. Since then Duffee has had a tough time battling Parsonage-Turner Syndrome before making his comeback late in 2014 and picking up a win over Anthony Hamilton.

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Dennis Hallman

TUE since: 2009
Record Under TRT: 6-2
Record Since TRT Ban: 0-2*

Hallman has been a public advocate for the use or TRT. His stance on the subject has brought him to verbal blows with Bas Rutten on InsideMMA as well as giving his input to many MMA media sites. Hallman is very knowledgeable on the subject matter and he explains it very well when asked about it (as can be seen here). Since the ban Hallman has lost in WSOF to Jon Fitch and a fight in Russia to Michael Tsarev. After digging a little it’s still unclear to me whether TRT is legal or banned in competitive sports in Russia so there is a little asterisk next to one of Hallman’s losses as he may have actually been on TRT for the Tsarev fight.

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Dan Henderson

TUE Since: 2007
Record Under TRT: 8-6
Record Since TRT Ban: 1-2

Dan Henderson was a long time user of TRT having had an exemption since 2007. Some of Henderson’s best wins came during this time having beat Wandelei Silva, Rich Franklin, Michael Bisping, Fedor Emelianenko and Shogun Rua during that period. Since Henderson came off of TRT he has garnered a 1-2 record. That, along with the fact that he is 44 years old and has now lost 5 of his last 6 make his current situation look rather bleak in terms of challenging the elite again. Henderson will always be a big name but I feel the time would be right for him to bow out gracefully with his legend status and health still relatively intact.

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Rampage Jackson

TUE Since: 2012
Record Under TRT: 2-2
Record Since TRT Ban
: 1-0

Rampage started using TRT for the Bader fight in 2012 through to when he beat Christian M’Pumbu back in Febraury 2014. Since coming off of TRT Rampage has gone on to defeat “King” Mo Lawal before eventually re-signing with the UFC. Rampage has looked good outside of the organisation and will be hoping to keep his current form going when he takes on Fabio Maldonado in what will surely be a Fight of the Night contender at UFC 186 in April.

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Nate Marquardt

TUE Since: 2011
Record Under TRT: 1-0
Record Post-TRT: 2-4
Record since TRT ban: 1-1

Nate Marquardt was given a TUE back in 2011 for his fight against Dan Miller. Marquardt would go on to stop using the treatment after that fight where he stated smarter training and getting his allergies and sleep apnea under control has helped him put TRT in the rear view mirror. After the Miller fight Marquardt would go on to win the Strikeforce Welterweight Title against Tyron Woodley before going on a poor 1-4 run with fights at Welterweight and more recently back at Middleweight .

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Bristol Marunde

TUE Since: 2012

Record Under TRT: 0-1

Record Post-TRT: 3-2
Record since TRT ban: 3-0

Marunde applied for his TUE back in 2012 for his Strikeforce bout with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. He would go on to lose that fight and then decide to stop his usage of the treatment. Post-TRT Marunde then went on and lost another 2 under ZUFFA to Clint Hester and Viscardi Andrade respectively before picking up 3 wins in a row back in the regionals.

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Frank Mir

TUE Since: 2012

Record Under TRT: 0-4

Record Since TRT Ban: 1-0

Frank Mir is another in a long list of fighters who were given TUEs back in 2012. Mir explained his decision to take the treatment as more of a personal health choice rather than anything else. Mir found out he had a low testosterone level before the Junior Dos Santos fight at UFC 146 which he went on to attribute to a prolonged career of weight cutting. He had this to say on the matter

the years of weight cutting have taken their toll, the constant dehydrating makes the body lose all that testosterone, that’s medical science fact” . 

How much of that is true is up for discussion as Mir for a longtime in his career was an average sized Heavyweight so probably wasn’t as hard pushed on the weight cuts as he would have us believe. Mir would go on a 0-4 slide during his time on TRT before the ban commenced. He has since won a fight with a recent victory over another former TRT user in Bigfoot Silva.

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Ben Rothwell 

TUE Since: 2013
Record Under TRT: 1-0
Record Since TRT Ban1-0

Rothwell gained a TUE from the state of Wisconsin back in 2013 prior to his fight with Brandon Vera. Rothwell would go on to beat Vera but after the fight he was popped for elevated testosterone levels and subsequently banned for 9 months. The whole situation is somewhat strange due to the fact that he was never banned by the State Athletic Commission but rather his employer the UFC, and what makes it even stranger is the fact that he did have a TUE. The UFC did not reverse the decision over Vera and it declined to comment on the situation in any more detail. Since the ban Rothwell went on and picked up arguably the biggest win of his career when he stopped combat legend Alistair Overeem in the first round. You can read an article about the situation here.

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Bigfoot Silva

TUE Since: 2013
Record Under TRT: 0-0-1
Record Since TRT Ban 0-2

As most fans are well aware Bigfoot, may be the only MMA fighter who is actually has a condition which makes him in need of the treatment. Silva suffers from a condition called Acromegaly, which in laymans terms is a cyst on the pituitary gland which regulates growth hormone, which in turn releases too much into the body. Since the ban Bigfoot has had his hand forced into having surgery to remove the cyst so he can prolong his fighting career. from a medical stand point Silva is well within his rights to continue the treatment as he is actually in need of it but being a fighter has tied his hands somewhat into what he can and can’t do for the sake of his health. Ultimately Bigfoot made the decision he felt was right for him and opted for surgery. Before the ban Bigfoot fought Mark Hunt to a draw in an instant classic at UFC FN 33. He would then go on to be popped for high levels of testosterone after the fight and subsequently banned for 9 months.

Since the ban came into effect Bigfoot has looked even slower than his normal self and has been on the end of 2 extremely quick beatings at the hands of Andre Arlovski and Frank Mir.

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Total Record since the ban was imposed: 9-7*

We are all aware of how TRT effects fighters aesthetically but the records of fighters goes a long way to disprove the theory that as soon as you stop taking it you are doomed. It would be wrong to judge everyone as a generalization. The truth is it affects every single fighter differently. as is described in this article from www.mentalhealthdaily.com,

It is important to keep in mind that many individual factors can influence testosterone levels. Some individuals have a physiology and genetics that allow them to quickly recover from testosterone withdrawal, while others be sensitive to discontinuation. Additionally whether you are taking other medications could have an influence on what you experience during withdrawal.
Your age, whether you engage in physical exercise (e.g. strength training), and your diet can all influence how quickly you recover from withdrawals. The goal when you stop enhancing testosterone production should be to elevate levels through natural means. Someone who engages in activities that are known to boost levels may experience a quicker recovery than someone who doesn’t.

I think this describes pretty accurately what we have seen so far. We have seen guys look very bad such as Bigfoot Silva and we have seen guys pick up the best wins of their careers, like Ben Rothwell. To put all post-TRT fighters in the same category is quite frankly incorrect. Within the last year we have had enough different outcomes in fights to determine that it’s not all black and white.

Maybe, just maybe some of these fighters have something left to offer the sport, TRT or not.

You can read the full article on testosterone withdrawal symptoms here. If you would like to know more about the subject this is a very good informative read.

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Hope you enjoyed the article 🙂

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Written by Ryan Thomas MMA enthusiast/predictor/gambler and writer
  
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