Luke Rockhold Won't Blame TRT For His Loss to Vitor Belfort

Posted on May 20, 2013, 08:10 AM by Mike Drahota
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UFC Middleweight Luke Rockhold had a harsh awakening in his Octagon debut last Saturday when he was on the wrong end of a Vitor Belfort KO. In the time since Belfort’s victory, many fans and media have started to question whether ‘The Phenom’s’ TRT use is beginning to cloud his legacy as he rides high on the momentum of a late-career surge. But Rockhold isn’t going to be one to start making excuses, telling MMA Junkie that he felt good before and during the fight:

"I mean it's hard to say what went wrong. I was feeling good. I was finding my timing. I felt like I was controlling things, and then he landed a spinning heel kick to my head."

"I felt good. I saw his punches. I saw everything. I was landing some shots. I felt like I was starting to control things, and then I got caught. It happens."

It seems like Rockhold has a good attitude about the loss, noting that he just got caught with the wrong shot. While several are quick to cite TRT use as a motivating factor for the stunning knockout, Rockhold is surprisingly one that will not use that excuse:

"TRT had nothing to do with that kick. I lost to one of the best guys in the world, and it was something pretty spectacular. I don't know what to really think about anything right now. I just want to get back and fight and beat someone up. That's what I'm focused on. Good job by Vitor. What can I say?"

So Rockhold is looking to get back to fighting soon, eager to prove he belongs with the top rungs of the UFC 185 lb. division. His loss to Belfort is a setback for sure, but he seems to be taking it in some sort of stride rather than letting it consume him. Meanwhile, the endless debate over TRT will rage on. Could Belfort have beaten Rockhold without using it?


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  • enjoylife321
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    Well first of all, its TRT that helps Vitor get out of bed and train each day.

    There is no way he could train and compete at the level he does without TRT. Vitor's body is broken without TRT....Vitor talks about god giving him a new motivation but what he is really talking about is a needle loaded with TRT.

    I think its time to get tough on the issue and simply ban TRT. What is the worst case scenario. We lose a few guys on TRT and then make room for some younger lions who are clean. We would lose Chael, Vitor, rank Mir and a few others. No big deal....The sport can survive without them...Keep the competition fair and save the TRT for when you are retired

    Reply 11 months ago
  • HunterB
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    Much more than a few others.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • grandslam
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    I am sure you feel the same way about Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen and the rest of the gang!

    Reply 11 months ago
  • thexperience1
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    Yes and what do you do when your body is "broken" as you say? Like with any other condition, you will take supplements to get your levels back to normal. When diabetes have low blood sugar they take insulin. When you got low iron, you take an iron supplement. When u got low testosterone levels u get f*cking TRT. As long as the levels are kept at the AVERAGE levels, there is NO physical advantage! All the fighters on TRT get tested throughout training camp all the way to the fight and after. The level of ignorance is astonishing when it comes to TRT. Educate yourself before you start unleashing unfounded nonsense.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • jmedno5891
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    What you do when your body is broken is Retire, not take a substance that will let you continue punishing your body past it's time. If he wants to take TRT out of the sport to feel better in his day to day life that is another story, but leave the fighting to the young bucks who can still handle it without having to take some injections just to be able to hang with the rest of them.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Evan Holober
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    the experience1-

    Again, somebody else that should take their own advice:

    -Vitor Belfort is on testosterone injections because he abused performance enhancing drugs for most likely more than a decade. Not only that, but insulin/Iron/anyother terrible comparison you try to make give no performance enhancing attributes.

    -There is no way to tell if Vitor's levels are AVERAGE (yay caps!). He does not get his blood tested after weekly injections. In his last two fights he hasn't even had to get blood tested period. He's not licensed to fight in the US right now, and he won't ever be again according to Keith Kizer of the NSAC.

    -Take a look at the pictures of Vitor Belfort in his fights with Anderson SIlva and Rich Franklin than compare them to his recent fights with Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold. If you don't see in PHYSICAL ADVANTAGES (Yay more caps!), than you're either blind, stupid, or lying.

    -You are correct, the level of ignorance when it comes to TRT is astonishing. The problem is you, and people like you who are providing that ignorance though.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    @experience....Dana has publicly stated that regular testing is not happening and that the system needs to be fixed. Take a look at the physique of Vitor Belfort and tell me that its all natural. The proof is in the pudding. The issue is with regulation.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • thexperience1
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    As matter of fact Vitor "HAS" been tested after injections. He's not licensed to fight in the US right now but the UFC orders independent testing where needed as in Vitor's case! Which brings me back to your ignorance and unfounded nonsense.

    Sure, he looks in top shape these days. He's also at a much better camp. Yes, the TRT treatment probably has him fully energized now and able to train harder. This does not prove his testosterone are boosted above average.

    and yes the low levels of testosterone are probably caused by PED abuse in the past but that is irrelevant. Right now the focus should be on his current testosterone levels. As long as they are at an average level and don't give him an advantage over his opponent, there should not be a problem. Whatever the f*ck he used to get his levels to that average is irrelevant as long as it's legal, which it is!

    The problem is not and has never been TRT, it's TRT abuse and as long as there is no test result showing Vitor or any other fighter abuses the treatment and TRT is legal, this argument is a waste of precious time.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Evan Holober
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    -Vitor Belfort has said he is tested weekly. He has never actually been tested over that period of time by a governing body, or a contracting company. So that isn't any where close to a "matter of fact".

    -The UFC orders independent testing for fights that happen overseas. They have never inacted a policy where they blood test certain fighters because they are on the treatment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    -Yes, a treatment that has him looking stronger, hungrier, faster, and better by injecting testosterone in to his body weekly (with no oversight but a test on fight night). That's not fishy at all.

    "and yes the low levels of testosterone are probably caused by PED abuse in the past but that is irrelevant."

    This is probably the worst poing from anybody that shares this opinion. Him abusing his body from steroid usage over his career is exactly that, caused by him. He should be the last person given testosterone injections as the result of cheating for multiple years. Especially when those injections are for the most part unregulated.

    -There is no way to tell if TRT is being abused. He is not blood tested weekly. He is not even blood tested on the night of the fight in most cases.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Michael Stephensen
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    Evan, for shame. There is no need to criticize The Experience1, stick to the topic.

    What TE1 said is perfectly correct, there is no advantage if the levels are kept average. Test weekly. That is a simple concept. TE1's concept is correct and it is not his fault that no international fighting body is managing the issue. The UFC certainly could and should. It is in their best interest to prevent a scandal.

    Insulin is a great comparison by the way. If you compare untreated low insulin (type one diabetic) versus treated there is a big advantage in taking the insulin. You could not compete without it. When the analogy is made it is comparing insulin to low testosterone versus appropriate levels (non-cheating replacement). You are correct that the analogy doesn't work if we consider taking extra for an advantage but it works fine in appropriate use.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    @Evan....I'm pretty sure it was you who put up some before and after pictures of Vitor Belfort? One of those pictures showed a normal human being, the other was a picture what I believed to be of some muscled up cyborg...

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Evan Holober
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    enjoy- its possible. I still remember seeing him for the Franklin fight and being blown away by the lack of muscular look on his body. Then I distinctly remember him in the AJ fight, and saying to myself "ah, he's probably back on something again".

    The change is crazy. I'm not sure if its on Overeem to Ubereem level change crazy, but its close.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Evan Holober
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    Bullshit Michael. If he wants to say something along the lines of "educate yourself" than claim Vitor is tested enough to say that he definitely isn't abusing I'll call him on it. I'll also call him on his own lack of knowledge on the situation.

    "What TE1 said is perfectly correct, there is no advantage if the levels are kept average."

    And this is where your giving him his argument. He's saying that the levels are being kept average. With each injection in each week of his training. He's also claiming that the UFC has steps in place to testo fighters on TRT, which they do not.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Michael Stephensen
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    Yikes! What I'm trying to say is the concept of Testosterone replacement to proper levels with proper testing is valid. The problem lies not in the use but in the abuse.

    It's like use and abuse here on LowKick. Proper use is fine. Abusive criticism is inappropriate and spoils it for everybody ;-)

    BTW, I can't speak to Vitor's use / abuse. I don't know enough about it. If the UFC allows use of T and doesn't test they are very foolish - I do understand they provide health care to their fighters. At any rate, I would be very curious to see any evidence that the UFC does or does not test their fighters on Testosterone.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Evan Holober
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    It's valid now. In MMA it might not be valid for that much longer, and I can't say I'd have a problem with that.

    The UFC made a big point a few months back saying that TRT was a problem, and be very hard to use according to standards of testing. They still have implemented nothing, and have coincidentally booked Vitor in two fights in Brazil (knowing that Vegas and a few other cities won't sanction his use).

    Let me ask you this though: I know you give the treatment, and are for its effects on the average person. Should a person who has abused PED's in his lifetime, and is now in need of injections have the choice of still competing when its apparent it gives them an advantage compared to the body that is now destroyed from abuse.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Michael Stephensen
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    Evan, that is a really interesting question. From one guy to another chatting about philosophy my personal opinion would be this: If I could know what was in his hear now I'd decide based on that. If John Doe abused steroids 10 years ago and suppressed his testicles into non-producing little mcnuggets but now truly regretted it and simply wanted to be middle of the range normal (if hypothetically we knew this to be true or we could test weekly to know) then I'd give it. I'm not a revenge / punishment kind of guy. Bring him up to normal (and no more).

    Interestingly I have some fat lazy guys who quite naturally are at the top of the range and some marathoners who are low. It is not the be all and end all.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    Consider Michael that the levels they are allowed to attain are above normal if they for their age. They are based on highest rate of testosterone. Other guys Vitors age will be at a disadvantage if they are not using. IF YOU CANT HANG NATURALLY THEN U ARE DONE. If the stuff didn't have an advantage why are the websites selling it telling you it will deliver great increases in physical abilities and change you.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Michael Stephensen
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    Falcon, there are a hundred websites offering various products that give you an advantage. Virtually none of them actually do though.

    The Endocrine Society's guidelines for testosterone replacement recommend replacement to the middle of the normal age. For a man of Vitor's age this is very reasonable. It is not an advantage at that level.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • SatelliteMan
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    "Normal Testosterone" is a very loose term. Men's testosterone levels vary widely. According to my endocronologist a normal testosterone score is between 250-850 ng/dl. Food for thought.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    So why does Vitor deserve to get some? If it does nothing why do people use it?

    Reply 11 months ago
  • SatelliteMan
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    Keep in mind Keith Pfizer won't even allow Vitor to fight. TRT is a legitimate treatment, but Vitor is clearly abusing it. If you believe Vitor's denial, my good friend I have a bridge to sell you.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Michael Stephensen
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    To your second point SatMan - either you are missing my point or your are not trying very hard. I really haven't spoken to Vitor's use. I am speaking more generally. You can comment on my believing or not believing Vitor's story but I myself have not commented on it.

    What I am saying is this: It is a simple matter. Everybody in the UFC on TRT must report or be kicked out - end of story. Everybody on TRT must be tested weekly and at any other time demanded by the NSAC or the UFC - end of story. In this scenario fair replacement in deficient fighters is not hard to manage. They do have it down to a science (it is a science after all).

    As you point out there is legit use and abuse. I'm for legit use and against abuse.

    Any patient that abused a prescription that I have given is cut off and kicked out of my practice. My patients and I live by those rules - there is no reason that the UFC and their fighters can't.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • SatelliteMan
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    @Michael: My sell you a bridge comment was not directly aimed at you, don't get your undies in a bunch.

    Yes, the average 'suggested' free testosterone level can be 550, but you can test, for example, 650 (same 'suggested' amount as someone far younger than you) and you're still in the 'normal range'. Those numbers are guidelines. You can boost your testosterone by hundreds of ng/dl if you are naturally on the low end, and still pass for normal. Come on you're a doctor, you should know this stuff.

    Look, the UFC allowed Vitor Belfort to fight in Brazil so he can juice up. This has people riled because it's tainting the sport.

    If legitimate testing was financially and logistically possible, as well as infallable. TRT would have a place in MMA.

    As of now TRT should be banned.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • SatelliteMan
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    Suppose you have a pair of 30 year old twin mma fighters:

    Twin A - Perfectly healthy. Produces ~450ng/dl test: considered perfectly normal. Does not require TRT.

    Twin B - Destroyed his nuts with previous steroid abuse, receives exemption for TRT, averages 600 ng/dl testosterone. Still considered normal range.

    Outcome?

    Twin B has been rewarded with almost 50% more testosterone than A thanks to his previous abuse of steroids.

    If Twin A wants to even the playing field, he'll have to sacrifice his nuts and get on TRT.

    Sends a great message.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Michael Stephensen
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    SatMan - the Endocrine Society's guidelines suggest replacing to the middle of the range. The middle of the range doesn't vary widely. The middle of the range you reported, for example, is 550.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • SatelliteMan
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    You are missing the point. Someone who is considered quite healthy might have a testosterone level of 450, cheat, and boost it to 550+ and still be considered normal. You've just allowed someone to boost testosterone by 25%. You're sending the wrong message, and putting clean fighters at a disadvantage. If clean fighters didn't have to sacrifice their nuts I would suggest everyone use it.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    Thats just it, you have to run with what you have not depreciate another fighters natural advantage. Like I've said before, some are born with long limbs and others short. Same goes with testosterone.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    He's just being nice and doesn't want people to think he would look for an excuse. He and others voice it before they fight as after the fight it seems too much like bitter attitude slandering to a loss and people don't like hearing excuses. If he thought TRT has nothing to do with Vitors success he wouldn't have voiced it before their fight.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • MAMBA24ILL
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    Well it's not like he's gonna say "See! I told you so!!" after getting KO'd like that.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • grandslam
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    Dude, give it up now. Stop moaning like a b i t c h.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Evan Holober
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    Take your own advice, and stop looking like a complete fool.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    I think B I T C H S use TRT to become men. Is that why your all for it?

    Reply 11 months ago
  • griffin
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    maybe because TRT has nothing to do with the skill it took to land that kick.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • grandslam
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    Now that one guy speaking my mind. Thanks Luke but next time please keep your hands up!

    Reply 11 months ago
  • TheRealDeal
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    I'm pretty sure that TRT did not teach Belfort how to throw a lightning fast spinning heel kick.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • azzkika
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    It is a pity TRT is the only agenda since Belfort's win. There were some great performances last weekend, and I'm astounded no one is questioning Brazilian bias in Brazil more. Dunham clearly won that fight by a mile and I do recall one fight with Belfort being taken down repeatedly by Johnson only for the ref to stand it straight back up again every single time he was gaining any advantage. If the post I read the other day is correct (thanks for the informative post btw Bryan), then Belfort does not have a license in America and it is highly doubtful he is not abusing TRT with lax Brazilian licensing.

    Always been a fan of his but now I know he been using steroids most his career and now TRT does ask the question of how good would he be without it.

    I doubt he is alone in MMA and there are likely dozens and dozens of similar stories from the old school, but these new school fighters are for the main part clean and as such should not be pitted against cheats, because that's what they are in my book. Credit to Rockhold for taking defeat graciously, but that doesn't change the fact Belfort would most likely have been unable to pull off that kick without cheating.

    That aside, I wouldn't mind some TRT myself if it prolongs physical conditioning of 20 somethings into middle age.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Evan Holober
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    This is exactly what Luke should be doing. It's not his job to call out the hypocrisy of what's going on with Vitor version 5.0. Its the fans, and the media (which is actually doing a pretty good job of it lately).

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Nor should he. TRT did not kick Luke in the face.

    The best that can be argued is that TRT helps Belfort show up for the fight, which is to say it helps him in his training. It is not some magical potion, that once taken, conveys upon the consumer gifts and powers that they did not have prior.

    If TRT or PEDs of any kind had that kind of a side-effect, everybody on the planet, not just the body-builders, wrestlers and pro-athletes, would be using it. Surely, for example, we would have seen Lance Armstrong and Roger Clemens, spin-kicking their way to Championship glory on the roads of France and baseball fields right-across America, but we did not.

    TRT might help Belfort perform, but it does not provide the skills to do the performance. If it did, then why isn't Chael Sonnen either the 185 or 205 Champ and by way of spinning back-kick? If you cannot execute a move, then the taking of TRT is not going to change that fact.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    As we have seen though two guys of equal skill will be offset by superior strength, stamina and aggression. A spinning heal kick by itself is less quick, powerful and enduring in comparison to heel kicks thrown with TRT no matter how you slice it TRT is a performance booster that makes a fight that might normally be a loss for one fighter turn into a win with the elevated performance.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    But we did not see two fighters of equal skill on Saturday night. We saw one guy who has more than proven his merit @ the highest levels of the sport and another guy, who has not and has / had only recently joined The UFC and when he came up against said proven fighter, he got smoked.

    Luke Rockhold might be a good fighter, but I wouldn't call him a great fighter. I would most certainly call Vitor Belfort a great fighter.

    Again, TRT was not the difference that fight, skill was. That is how I see it, at any rate. If others see it differently, that is fine, but as it's a subjective topic, debating it is pointless. Personally, I'm glad that one of my all time favorite fighters gets to continue on, be (more than relevant) and take very little damage in doing so.

    If people choose to focus on his TRT usage and not enjoy his fights, then it's their loss, because they are very exciting fights. However, if someone's position is so strong as to not allow for his TRT usage, then I can appreciate their position. It's the reason why I think and would advocate for a seniors league / tournament that would allow older fighters to continue on, should they wish. Under this format, fighters like VB would be fighting under that format and be clean of TRT. As this is not apt to happen, I am happy to live with the rules as they stand and under those rules, Belfort is within legal limits. Right or wrong, it-is-what-it-is and we all have to live with it. Fortunately for Belfort fans, it works out to our advantage.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    @Truth....This debate goes around in circles....the only way to fix the problem is for the UFC to beef up their testing and get tough. Dana has recently stated that they have 450 fighters under contract in countries all over the world...he said testing everyone around the world regularly is not practical blah blah blah....
    As far as I am concerned, if anyone wants to use TRT then the financial responsibility should be upon them to submit to regular testing that is overseen by the UFC. There is more than a suspicion of doubt that Vitor is upping his levels during camp then winding back and the argument to support this is;
    1. Previous history of drug abuse
    2. Physique coming into the fight.

    For all the people that draw comparisons with Insulin, they are forgetting the physiological differences between the two...You can't abuse insulin with the benefits that TRT will give..Muscle strength, recovery etc...
    Just because belforts doctor tests his levels regularly should not be interpreted as on level everytime.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    The very fact that Vitor is a better skilled fighter makes the scenario even worse that he would get another added benefit.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Maybe the benefit goes to the younger, healthier fighter. Again, it's pretty sad if your opponents use of sanctioned TRT becomes the excuse for a loss, particularly if they are the younger (by 8 years), healthier fighter. One would think, that a fighter would just **** it up and say...I don't give a crap that he's on TRT or anything else, I'm going to kick his ***. That's what Anderson Silva would do. I know that's exactly what I saw Oscar De La Hoya do to a fighter in a ring one night and it was obvious that the fighter was "juiced", as was proven later, when the fighter tested positive for steroids. Regardless, Oscar and his skills beat the crap out of the guy and TKO'd him.

    Again, to me, the problem for Luke was not Belfort being on TRT, but rather, that Luke was in the ring with a vastly more skilled opponent.

    As always, this is simply how I see it.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    Luke is the younger fighter and should have a younger fighters advantages not have them level that portion of the field and have then a guy who gets a bunch more years of experience on top of that leveling of the younger fighters benefits. They are not leveling anything when an older more experienced fighter gets youth back as well.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    The reason Chael isn't champ is because Anderson is lightyears ahead of him in skill and if he was merely a bit better then he might have lost his belt. TRT was Chaels bringing a gun to a knife fight scenario against Anderson and even it wasn't good enough.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Agreed. Silva is light-years better than Sonnen and taking TRT made no difference to Sonnen's skill level. Agreed, TRT did nothing for him, as it has done nothing in his ensuing "Big" fights, because TRT does nothing for skill. It's the same reason why TRT had nothing to do with Belfort's win. Belfort won, because he's more skilled. If Rockhold had been on TRT he still would have lost. I believe regardless of the TRT Belfort would have won. I just don't see it as the be-all-and-end-all of answers to why a fighter wins or loses, as TRT fighters do and have done, both.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
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    TRT made Sonnen perform better than he otherwise would have and still it was not enough. What I am saying is that If it was fair it would have been over far sooner. If TRT made no difference Chael would not have been on it. It's just lucky Silva was lightyears ahead of Silva. Sonnens TRT made all the difference in his fight with Bisping, it saved him from a loss there.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Falcon...I do not see how you can make a declarative statement that it helped him perform better. Truly I do not. It is your belief, that it helped him perform better. It is my belief, it made no difference in his performance in the fight and it certainly made no difference to his skills level.

    In terms of Bisping, Sonnen's wrestling is what beat Bisping, not TRT. That is my view of it. That is my belief.

    Again, I respect your opinion on the subject, but I disagree with it. My opinion is to the contrary.

    For the record, if I could ban it I would. I believe that a fighter like Belfort is so talented, that with proper diet, rest and a less-is-more attitude in terms of his training, combined with enough conditioning to allow him to go 5 rounds and he'd be fine and doing just as well. Truly, I believe most of the benefits from this s**t is in the user's head. It reminds me of that old Star Trek episode, where they give the fake "beauty" pills to the women and then suddenly, they're beautiful again. It was all an illusion.

    The sad part about this is that we end up talking TRT, as opposed to the fight and it was a great fight...if you're a Belfort fan.

    I will state this, however, TRT will not help Belfort in his fight with the winner of Silva / Weidman, regardless of whichever one it is. Silva for his obvious stand-up mastery and Weidman for his incredible wrestling, power, control and ever burgeoning BJJ skills. Either way, VB is going to have a tough, tough, fight on his hands no matter who walks out of The Octagon with The Belt, come July 6th.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
    Cool
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    It is proven to help especially in the later rounds and concerning power delivery. Sonnen may have gassed in R3 if it wern't for TRT.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • falcon4917
    Cool
    Weak
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    I agree that it should be banned and Vitor should find proper nutritional means to improving his game.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • KeyboardStriker
    Cool
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    Funny

    Vitor, Overeem, The Incredible Hulk, and Thing should have a 4 man tourney.

    Reply 11 months ago