UFC 169 takes place this weekend, February 1rst, and as from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The event is capped by main and co-main bouts that will see two division champions, Renan Barao and Jose Aldo, confirm and affirm their UFC titles (bantamweight and featherweight, respectively), as they take on challengers Urijah Faber (135 pounds) and Ricardo Lamas (145 pounds).
However and before the two champs take to the Octagon for their ‘win and place’ matches, heavyweights Frank Mir and Alistair Overeem will fight it out in the card’s ‘show’ spot, and in a battle that may well determine which of the two fighters stays in the promotion, and which one gets cut.
In advance of Saturday’s fight between the pair, Mir has today, via a confirmation to MMAjunkie.com, disclosed that he has been granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission (NJSAC). Subsequently, he has been given the sanctioned right to be ‘on’ TRT for his fight with Overeem.
The exemption marks the third time in four fights that the 34 year old fighter has been granted a TUE and as such, it now stands him at two consecutive sanctions in a row.
‘FM’ was first granted a TRT exemption for his May 2012 match and loss to Junior Dos Santos, which transpired in Las Vegas at UFC 146. Subsequent to that, Mir was again given another TUE sanction for his August 2013 fight and immediate fail to Josh Barnett, at last August’s UFC 164 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In both instances Mir was completely outclassed and mauled, and subsequently, demonstrated no advantages to being on TRT. In short, the two fighters that weren’t on TRT blew FM out of the water.
On Saturday night, Mir will once again find himself sanctioned for TRT and once again, up against a fighter that hasn’t been. Of course and that said, fans might not really care that much. As Overeem, himself, has had issues with performance enhancing drugs (PEDs’) in the past, and in the same way that Mir’s previous opponent, Josh Barnett, has had, fans might see the whole thing as a ‘push’ and not particularly care much as too who is and isn’t on TRT.
That said, it keeps the subject of TRT and TUEs’ front-and-center in the news and continues to draw a line under the capricious nature of the UFC’s own policies on TRT use. As fans know, the promotion’s president, Dana White, has been all over the place on this issue and has yet to take a stand that he’s stood by.
Over the course of the last number of years White has gone back and forth on this issue. He has been both for it and against it. He has called it cheating and made note of the fact that if a fighter needs TRT, then perhaps they shouldn’t be fighting anymore. Conversely, he has basked in the success of the UFC’s PED poster child, Vitor Belfort.
To the point, White has kept Belfort fighting in countries or states where TRT, at least as far as Belfort is concerned, isn’t an issue. As such, he’s been able to have his cake and eat it, too. On the one hand he gets to deride TRT and its use, while on the other hand he’s been able to profit enormously from Belfort’s five fight (middleweight-TRT) winning streak. In short, the UFC’s hypocrisy on this issue drips.
As to Mir and his TUE, it would be difficult to know what the argument against it would be.
Yes, he’s been on it twice and to his advantage in training, to be sure. However, when it’s come to an actual fight, Mir has yet to produce a win while on it or even look good in a match. What, if anything, TRT has done for FM might be anyone’s guess. However, what is most certainly clear, is what it hasn’t done for him. It hasn’t made him quicker, faster or more aggressive in the cage, and it certainly hasn’t given him any magical stand-up powers; it hasn’t even allowed him to make it through a fight. In short, TRT has been a complete bust for Frank Mir; as it has been for most that think victory comes by way of a sanctioned needle; Belfort being the biggest exception to the rule.
This Saturday, Mir will once again go to the TRT well and see if he can draw victory from its depths. And once again, Mir, like all the other fighters in the UFC that have been granted TUEs’, will have a chance to prove that it works; that it’s a potion for Octagon success. Sadly, with Vitor Belfort being the only TRT fighter of note that’s garnering any significant victories or title shots, the numbers suggest that Mir is more likely to fail on Saturday night, than succeed. That said, if Mir pulls out the win, perhaps what it will prove is that current sanctioned use trumps past, un-sanctioned, use.