Nate Marquardt’s recent dust up with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission over testosterone replacement therapy has put a spotlight on the debate over whether or not TRT exemption is just a loophole which essentially allows PED usage.
Some say that the treatment is necessary for fighters with conditions like hypogonadism to be able to train and compete at the top levels of MMA and, as long as they’re levels fall within the allowable limits come fight time, fighters should be allowed to continue undergoing TRT. Then there are the others, who believe that fighters taking synthetic testosterone are cheating and can manipulate the system by letting their levels spike during training camps, thereby reaching higher-than-normal levels of performance during preparation for the fight, and then letting them fall to within the allowable limit for the pre-fight medicals.
Count Strikeforce middleweight fighter Tim Kennedy among the latter.
“I think it’s cheating,” Kennedy recently told MMAFighting.com. “If you’re having to take testosterone to balance out a medical condition, then you shouldn’t be fighting. I know people will say, ‘Oh, he’s within the normal limits.’ Well, he’s within the normal limits when he’s tested.
“I know I could walk into my doctor and say the exact same thing that everyone else says and get prescription testosterone,” he continued. “Then, when I know my test is coming up, I can reduce my testosterone levels. It’s an advantage, and it’s an unfair advantage.”
The former Green Beret takes issue with unfairness in the sport of MMA in general, pointing to a recent incident where his fellow Ranger Up-sponsored middleweight Jorge Rivera was struck with an illegal blow (knee to the head of a downed opponent) in a fight against Michael Bisping — many saw the illegal knee as having severe effect on Rivera, who eventually lost the bout by TKO — before Bisping launched a spit-laced tirade at Rivera’s corner as an example of what the sport of MMA absolutely does not need.
“It’s not really Bisping specifically, it’s just guys that cheat,” Kennedy said. “It’s not some holier-than-thou thing, like I’m some boy scout who always does the right thing — I don’t. But my sport — mixed martial arts — is based on honor, integrity. Every time guys cheat — whether it’s in the fight or with performance-enhancing drugs — it really disappoints me and embarrasses me. Unfortunately, I think it encourages people, because with a situation like Bisping, not only did he cheat in the fight and then spit in [Rivera’s] corner, then he was rewarded by becoming an Ultimate Fighter coach. That sends the wrong message.”
Kennedy will face Robbie Lawler tonight at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Don’t forget to check back later today for our live coverage of the event.