In the latest chapter of the Testosterone saga in combat sports, ESPN’s Outside the Lines shines a spotlight of the prevalence of TRT in MMA and the questionable grounds for which exemptions are granted by regulatory agencies.
Caught up in the mix again is Belfort who deferred questions relating to his need for TRT to Dr. John Pierce of Las Vegas’ Ageless Forever clinic. Dr. Pierce is quoted as saying that Belfort needs TRT due to hypogonadism and when pressed for a cause of this condition he replied that “more than likely it is secondary to repetitive head trauma over the years“.
This admission opens a new can of worms for Belfort’s upcoming title fight scheduled to take place in Nevada. If Belfort’s hypogonadism is secondary to repetitive trauma the NSAC will need to address whether he is fit to be licensed to compete.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission’s rules require enhanced scrutiny when handing out a licence to a combatant of Belfort’s age. NAC 467.017 requires that applications by combatants 36 and older must be “reviewed by the Chair of the Commission or the Chair’s designee, so that his or her experience and fitness may be considered before the license is issued or renewed.”. The Commission must also specifically be cognizant of previous head trauma when deciding whether to issue a licence with NAC467.017(3) reading “if an applicant for a license to engage in unarmed combat or an unarmed combatant has suffered a serious head injury…the applicant or unarmed combatant must have his or her application for a license or for renewal of a license reviewed by the Commission before a license is issued or renewed.”
If, due to a lifetime in combat sports, Belfort has been exposed to such trauma that he cannot produce healthy testosterone levels without synthetic supplementation the NSAC would be hard pressed to agree that he remains medically fit to continue in the sport. As ESPN’s Mike Fish puts it “medical experts question the logic of allowing someone diagnosed as suffering head trauma to step back in an MMA octagon“. Appreciating that the NSAC exists “to ensure the health and safety of the contestants.” , the Commission will have no choice but to address whether a fighter suffering from ill effects of head trauma remains fit to compete.