Dana White: One Shot Of TRT Destroyed Everything For “Bigfoot”

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The past year has been full of top-level MMA fights, so much so that I would venture to say that it’s been the best the young sport has ever seen. However, it’s also been a year that has been marred by numerous drug tests failures, many of them based around the oft-discussed hot topic of TRT.

The therapy has ruined what would have been otherwise great bouts, none more so than the UFC Fight Night 33 classic between Mark Hunt and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. The two sluggers put on a back-and-forth war that was declared a draw, earning both fighters a nice $50,000 for “Fight of the Night.” But “Bigfoot” was soon found to have elevated testosterone levels, resulting in the bout being changed to No-Contest on his record while his bonus money went to Hunt.

It was a horrible end result to a great fight. It also wasn’t “Bigfoot’s” first transgression involving performance-enhancing drugs. True, he does have a pituitary gland condition that required surgery on a cyst that was releasing excess growth hormone into his system, but despite the UFC knowing and approving of him using TRT to correct the issue he still came in high.

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Silva blamed CABMMA head Dr. Marcio Tannure for the inconsistency in treatment, but regardless of who’s to blame he’s suspended for nine months. It’s simply the latest in a long list of similar instances.

UFC president Dana White is not surprisingly sick of it. He spoke up at the UFC 168 pre-fight media scrum to issue a warning to those fighters looking to push the envelope with TRT:

“I told you we test the shit out of these guys that are doing TRT. We gave [Bigfoot] his last test the week of the fight. He was perfect. He took another shot, which put him over.It destroyed everything. Now [Bigfoot doesn’t] get the win money — we were giving both guys show and win money — and [he] won the bonus. Now [he] lost both [his] win money and [his] bonus money. Ouch. So all you guys out there that are on TRT, and it’s legal, you want to fuck around and take that shot after you’ve been tested? There’s the consequences. The consequences could not be worse. Now you’re on suspension for a year, you lost your win and your bonus money, and I’m sure your sponsors aren’t thrilled either.”

When the president puts it like that, the consequences for using TRT in a less-than-exact manner are far from worth it. “Bigfoot” was suspended during his tenure as EliteXC heavyweight champion for using the steroid boldenone, and now he has this instance on his record, as well.

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It can be argued that some of the huge knockouts we’ve witnessed this year wouldn’t have taken place were it not for TRT, but for every example of that there’s another one that saw a TRT-fueled fighter get destroyed. Vitor Belfort would be the obvious, glaring example of the former, while Frank Mir and Chael Sonnen are perfect examples of the latter.

White’s words make sense but they really don’t change anything in the heated and ongoing debate over TRT in MMA. It’s gotten a bit out of hand and fighters truly are playing with fire concerning their livelihood. Many fans and media have called for some kind of system where everybody or nobody is on the therapy.

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That sounds good on paper, but the reality is that would be a very hard system to implement. It can’t be denied that TRT is causing major problems in mixed martial arts and that something needs to be figured out.

Just what the best course of action is remains to be seen, however. What are your ideas for a solution to the widespread controversy?