MMA Odds and Ends for Friday: Following TRT Ban, Machida In For Belfort Against Weidman At UFC 173

Lyoto Machida 3 Thursday, February 27 will go down as one of the most important dates in MMA history. Yesterday, the Nevada Athletic Commission outlawed testosterone replacement therapy amongst combat sports athletes, putting an end to the TRT scandal that became a black mark in MMA over the last few years. Soon after the NAC’s decision was announced, the UFC soon followed suit for their self-regulated shows and other commissions followed in the NAC’s footsteps after further, including the Brazilian athletic commission. Because of the ban of TRT, the UFC decided it wasn’t worth risking Vitor Belfort — the poster boy for TRT — testing for too high of levels for his May 24 date against middleweight champion Chris Weidman, and the promotion last night pulled Belfort from the fight in favor of Lyoto Machida, who has a full three-month camp to prepare for the champ. Belfort, meanwhile, tweeted on Friday that the UFC has promised him a title shot against the Weidman/Machida winner once his testosterone levels taper down to within the new NAC limits. What happened yesterday was a landmark for MMA because there’s no doubt in my mind the fighters using TRT over the last few years have been cheating, and yet since the athletic commissions were too naive to think it wasn’t helping them they were allowed to cheat without repercussion. Now, fighters won’t be able to use TRT to help themselves out anymore, and it will (hopefully) lead to a more even playing field. Another thing I think it will lead to is older fighters retiring early. Without TRT, many of them won’t have their “fountain of youth” anymore and the days of fighters like Dan Henderson still competing in UFC main events in 2014 at the age of 43 are likely over. Henderson, by the way, will be on TRT for his fight against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC Fight Night 38 as he had applied for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) before the ban of TRT took place. It will be interesting to see what fighters like Henderson, Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir, Belfort — all known users of TRT — look like without the help of TRT. I’m guessing they won’t look the same, but it remains to be seen how their careers play out going forward. At the end of the day, I’m very happy that there will be no more TRT in MMA, and although I am disappointed the Belfort vs. Weidman matchup won’t happen in May, Weidman vs. Machida is an amazing replacement bout and UFC 173 can’t come soon enough.

Written by Adam Martin.

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