Is Money A Bigger Performance Enhancer Than TRT?

Is Money A Bigger Performance Enhancer Than TRT?


As always and in the wake of another Vitor Belfort victory, there is much discussion about TRT and its use. Many claim it to be an unfair advantage, while others argue that it’s acceptable under regulation and as long as it falls within sanctioned levels.

However, is TRT the only performance enhancer which could be considered? To the point, is money a performance enhancer?

The reality of MMA and in particular The UFC is that the better a fighter does and the more popular he / she becomes the more money they make. The more money they make, the more money they can invest into their training. The better the training becomes, the better the performances become and so the cycle continues.

Georges St-Pierre is one of the best examples of money as a performance advantage. Rush has become a millionaire many times over, since becoming Welterweight Champion and is renowned for sparing no expense on his training. He has the cash and determination to hop on plane and fly anywhere, to train with anyone he wants. He has the cash to have others hop on planes and come to him, to train him. He has all the money in the world for sparring partners, trainers, massage and physiotherapists and any other performance amenity that he wishes, including bringing him his meals.  

As Nick Diaz said, by virtually all other fighters’ standards he’s “pampered”. Not in the sense that he has it easy per se, but rather that his accrued wealth had made it easier for him to train and prepare for fights, by virtue of the fact that he can easily afford all of these amenities and to be honest, it’s a fair enough statement / observation.

So, the question becomes, does a fighter like a GSP or an Anderson Silva, John Jones or any of the fighters who are truly doing well financially within The UFC with their win money, PPV money, endorsement money and all the other ways they have, can and do make money, do they have a completely unfair advantage over less prosperous or well-to-do fighters?

For example, the ability to train with Roger Gracie prior to a fight vs. training with your local BJJ coach and all because you have the financial means to make it happen…is a performance enhancing advantage. Arguably, a few weeks of a daily dose of Roger Gracie must easily be worth the equivalent of a few vials of testosterone. Of course, the testosterone is probably more readily available, cheaper and easier to get to than Roger. That is if you don’t have the cash. However, if you have the cash it’s completely doable.   

Personally, I believe there is a clear and significant advantage in money as a performance enhancer. However, unlike TRT, accrued wealth cannot be regulated or banned. The inability to do that means that any time a fighter with considerably less money fights an opponent who has considerably more money or is very well-off, that fighter is going to be competing at a disadvantage, at least in terms of their ability to prepare for the fight.

In a world of performance enhancements, cash is king.


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  • IChokePeople

    Agree 100%. Nice article.

  • Bruce Lee

    Interesting perspective.

    I don't know much about care racing but is there not a racing league where all cars have the same specs. More of the emphasis is on driver skill than how much money you can throw at the car.

    That would be the other extreme to what you are saying GSP has done and in a sense is the answer to your statement that money can't be banned. I'm not suggesting a fight organization where everybody works with the same budget but it is interesting in a science fiction kind of way.

    • Bruce Lee

      The center justification of the text is a nice artistic touch LowKick.

    • Brian Cox

      @ Michael

      You raise an interesting question regarding budgets. The only problem with budgets would be, even if you set the budget at 25 or 50 grand…how many fighters other than the top echelon fighters, even have that kind of cash.

      For the record, I am not advocating limiting money. It would be an exercise in futility.

  • Evan Holober

    Fun idea. However, I'd say that the highest paid fighter in MMA history (Brock Lesnar) would make it hard to justify.

    • Brian Cox

      @ Evan
      This is true. Perhaps I should have added the caveat that along with the money, that a fighter has to have the desire and heart to seek out the best in training. I am not left with the impression that Brock ever did that.

  • enjoylife321

    Most of the top fighters who entered the sport became great during the time they had no money. However bringing in guys like Freddie roach as a boxing coach and the worlds best scientists pays dividends.

  • falcon4917

    I would agree more money makes it easier to be successful but it is something that most start of without if you are Anderson Silva you go from nothing to everything. So although money can help, an individual of talent is more likely to be champ than one who gets everything from the get go. A big reason GSP gets money like he does is because he comes from a country where everyone roots for him and they have few others to root for so it all channels to him. If there were 3 other Canadian champs living in different locations and performing in different locations it would hurt GSPs income as he has pretty much cornered the MMA market in Canada. He certainly had to work for it though. Money again though is not like TRT in that you can naturally climb the ladder with determination to get the money but no determination or natural path gives you what TRT does. Sure you can say well if you work hard you could gain what TRT gives you but if you add TRT to that regime it takes you beyond what you can do.

    • falcon4917

      Also GSP likely had a good life and money before he started MMA which is an advantage but it is a natural advantage.

      • Brian Cox

        @ Falcon

        To the best of my knowledge, GSP came from an average middle-class or working-class family. I don't believe he had any real money until he became Champion. That is my understanding of it, at least.

        • falcon4917

          Yes but that level in Canada is far higher than most countries. Also Canada has more opportunity than most countries. A good life I suppose is speculative as my father was making 5 pound an hour back when I was a kid here in Ireland which at the time wasn't bad but In Canada where my mother is from everyone had 2 or 3 cars tv's and big homes with enough money for many extra activities but here in Ireland many here didn't have 1 car and we had no tv and only knew a few people with cars that they used for pleasure. It is GSPs advantage only in comparison to Anderson but certainly not to others like Ricci who is wealthy already.

        • falcon4917

          Don't get me wrong GSP has earned what he has and is not to be compared to a Paris Hilton story of success. I wouldn't cry foul because GSP grew up in a decent home and had a secure background. I don't care if a millionaire gets a shot at the UFC as long as he deserves it.