Recently, the Nevada State Athletic Control Board banned Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) for combat athletes, a move that the UFC has publicly stood behind. The UFC went so far as to re-craft their anticipated UFC 173 main event, replacing known TRT user Vitor Belfort with Lyoto Machida to face UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman. Belfort has not been the most astute in his handling of the situation, and he has gone so far as to say he will be fighting for the title in the next match. Most are saying keep dreaming to Belfort, but what about other known TRT users?
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The Middleweight and Lightheavyweight divisions have several high profile fighters that are known users of TRT besides Belfort, including Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen. Both have been main event fighters for the UFC and are considered draws.
Though Belfort is getting the heat now, it was Sonnen who took the debate public a while back, vehemently stating that he could die without the therapy. Whether that was the doctor telling him, or Sonnen himself, someone was not being quite ethical it seemed.
Henderson was less talkative on the subject, and even reportedly skipped the therapy for one of his recent matches. For Henderson, who is in his 40´s and coming off performances with and without TRT that have been flat, it is known he is at the end of his career. Likely, when he did not apply for his recent fight, Henderson saw the writing on the wall. Henderson has one thing in mind – pull in a last pay check or two with or without TRT. Expect no controversy from Hendo.
But Sonnen – Will he be at risk of death? Unlikely, unless the expected drop off in performance due to no TRT gets him killed in a fight he talked his way into. But his ability to compete among th top guys is gone with it in almost all scenarios.
As for Belfort? Common thinking is he is too mentally weak to compete with out the edge, and that he will be gone soon enough. Desperation for more paychecks will come into play, but I look for Belfort´s career to unravel quickly.