TRT is one of the craziest topics in the MMA verse right now, as it should be. Many see TRT as a golden ticket for aging and steroid-damaged fighters to get the spring in their step back to help prolong their careers, with such fighters as Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson becoming recent examples of fighters who were granted TRT exemptions who have been able to make another go at their MMA careers thanks to testosterone replacement therapy. The thing is, a lot of fans and observers see it for what it is; legalized steroid usage for guys who possibly took steroids in the past which ruined their body’s ability to naturally produce testosterone. There are other cases where activities like extreme weight cutting could effect the body’s ability to produce testosterone, but many believe it to mostly be an issue of steroid usage.
Interestingly enough, TRT talk isn’t that huge in other sports, instead the concentration seems based around Mixed Martial Arts, well, for good reason, says this ESPN article; MMA has a higher percentage of fighters with TRT exemptions than any other sport. According to the ESPN article 15 MMA fighters have been granted exemptions for TRT, which doesn’t sound like a huge number, until you compare it to other sports.
• The International Olympic Committee did not issue a single testosterone exemption for the 2012 London Olympics, which featured 5,892 male athletes.
• The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued one testosterone exemption last year among the thousands of elite-level athletes under its jurisdiction.
• Major League Baseball has issued six exemptions to athletes over the past six seasons — an average of 1,200 players populate its rosters each season.
• National Football League officials say testosterone exemptions are “very rare” and only a “handful” have been issued since 1990. Nearly 2,000 players circulate through rosters each season.
• No pro boxer is known to have had an exemption issued through a state athletic commission, and Nevada officials said they have never even received an application.
Yikes. What’s also interesting to note is that this is only TRT exemptions, it doesn’t account for fighters who take TRT without filing for an exemption or fighters who have tested positive for it and fined in the past.