Testosterone replacement therapy was once regulated for use among fighters in the UFC. Among those that greatly benefited from it are now retired fighters Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson, who had gotten a second wind in their careers upon taking TRT.
This procedure, however, was banned in 2014 following several controversies. But for fighters like Anderson Silva, TRT can actually be beneficial, as long as it is regulated by USADA.
“There are some athletes who need to make use of the hormonal replacement,” Silva said in an interview with Rap 77 (via MMAjunkie). “I think, if USADA regulated that, we’d have the sport at a high level, with athletes who have stopped fighting. Vitor, for example. Even me, though I never had the replacement. But some athletes who really need it, who are older. Dan Henderson, many other athletes who have stopped because of this.”
With two drug test failures under his name, Silva says he is in full support of USADA’s efforts with the UFC. At the same time, he is requesting for more flexible regulations when it comes to substances that are allowed and prohibited.
“USADA’s entrance in the UFC to control the doping situation, the way I see it, was good,” the former long-time middleweight champion said. “But, in a certain way, it ends up being a disturbance. Because MMA isn’t a regular sport like all the others. It demands from the athlete fighting training, physical training. There are other countless technical valencies that they have to maintain(like) injuries, etc.
“I’m in favor of doping control, for sure. I think no athlete should or can be, on fight day, taking advantage of some situation. But I think they need to review this. Because there are many injuries, many athletes getting hurt, many fights getting cancelled due to athletes getting injured, etc.”
Silva further argued that even some over-the-counter medication can render questionable drug test results.
“For instance, you take a Tylenol, you can get caught in the doping. You take aspirin, you can get caught in the doping. There are many things, many medicines that the athlete uses, that they have to always be policing themselves.
“I’m not against USADA,” he added. “I’m totally in favor, but I think there should be a certain (flexibility) when it comes to what is allowed and what isn’t.”
After serving a one-year suspension due to a failed drug test in 2017 which was later deemed to be from a contaminated supplement, the 43-year-old Silva will make his Octagon return against the undefeated Israel Adesanya at UFC 234 on February 9th in Melbourne, Australia.