Listening to “Beatdown” with TJ De Santis and Muhammed Lawal, I found De Santis’ view of TRT to be contrary to his own previous thoughts on steroids in MMA. I’ve heard De Santis claim in the past that if a fighter doesn’t test positive for the commission, he’s fine with whatever they take in training, yet on “Beatdown,” he claimed that if a fighter needs TRT they shouldn’t be fighting. Why the rage against a medical condition opposed to blatant cheaters? -- Jace from Seattle
TJ De Santis, Sherdog Radio Network program director:, First, let me say that Mo was a fantastic guest host, and I can’t wait to get him back on the air for more debating.
Jace, you are correct in pointing out that my feelings on testosterone replacement therapy are a bit contrary to my thoughts on athlete’s usage of performance-enhancing drugs. Let me take a moment to explain why I feel the way I do.
Steroids and other performance enhancers are banned from active competition. If we have learned anything from any sport, though, it’s that athletes will do anything they can to get an advantage. I think that mixed martial artists who aren’t using steroids are in the minority. I have let go of my childhood beliefs that everything we see in sports is natural; it's not, and since I left that moral high ground when it comes to sports, I’ve found I tend to enjoy them more.
So why am I so against TRT? Simple; it’s legalized cheating. At least the other athletes that I assume are using something that an athletic commission deems illegal are forced to be sly about it. Those athletes are forced to test and “play the game” of proving that they’re clean come fight time. The fighters and athletes getting therapeutic use exemptions, however, have “Get out of Jail Free” cards.
Yes, these fighters are subjected to tests that make sure their testosterone levels are that of a normal human being. However, ask any of these fighters who are on testosterone replacement therapy and you’ll hear things like, “I feel like I am 25 again.” If a fighter is 35 and he says since getting TRT that he feels like he's 25, how is that not performance enhancing? I am 28 and if someone said I could take something that would make me feel 10 years younger, I’d do it, too. I am not even punching people in the head for a living.
Supporters of fighters getting TRT point out that you can prolong a man’s career with the regimen, allowing fighters to compete at a high level in to their late 30s and early 40s. That’s garbage: fighters and athletes shouldn’t be hitting their peak at 38. Sports, in general, are a young man’s game. There is a reason athletes like Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Thome and Brett Favre are iconic. Defying Father Time is one of sport’s most incredible stories. I may have left the moral high ground, but I still like accomplishments like that to mean something. A 40-something fighter excelling in the UFC should be a testament to the athlete, not his doctor.
Can I say all those athletes I mentioned were all 100 percent clean? Nope, but I bet you Ripken didn’t get a doctor’s note saying it was OK to cheat.
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