The Testosterone Replacement Therapy era will live on in infamy in the history of mixed martial arts. The drug that most fans did not understand, many confused for steroids, and many fighters abused was finally banned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the UFC back in February.
Incredibly, the MMA world is still living with repercussions of TRT as Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, and Dan Henderson all attempted to continue their careers without the drug they once needed to fight. For Sonnen, this led to a failed drug test and retirement due to banned substances he was taking in order for his body to acclimate to fighting without TRT.
One of the many fighters to have been granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for TRT was the original Ultimate Fighter winner and former light heavyweight champion, Forrest Griffin. In a recent interview with the Boston Herald, Griffin spoke candidly about TRT, the risks associated with it, and why it was worth it in the long run:
“I did it, I think it’s great. When it started, I had two problems with steroids. One, they’re illegal and I’m doing illegal drugs. And, two, you’re telling kids, fans, young people that watch the sport you have to do drugs to do this. Well, that’s not true. The best guys don’t do drugs. Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, (Georges St. Pierre), these guys don’t use drugs, they’re naturally athletic. The best guys in any sport don’t use drugs.
It’s the guys on the second tier trying to get to the first tier that use drugs. I mean, I knew what I was doing. I knew that what I was doing is bad for my body in the long run, potentially, and I was doing what the doctor gave me, so it wasn’t crazy.
But I mean, you now, there’s a chance (you can) enlarge your heart, enlarge your prostate, lose your prostate, not be able to (perform sexually) after 50. So I took that into advisement in doing that. But to me, being a better fighter was worth it. It was worth even shortening your lifespan to be good at something.”
The last sentence of the quote is quite jarring, but when you realize that being a professional mixed martial artist inherently requires you to potentially shorten your lifespan in the first place, it has much less of an impact.
Griffin retired from MMA last May when he defeated Tito Ortiz at UFC 148.