TRT Might Be Legal, but It Is Still Cheating

Written by Dr. Michael White, Published on June 12th, 2012
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Lately, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has taken on its own identity in the debate about legality of performance-enhancing drug use in the sport of MMA. While proponents of TRT have reasoned their way to keeping it legal within MMA, this doesnt mean it isnt cheating.

By this point, getting into the details about TRT, its effects and necessities, the problems with fighters and those who have used the therapy would be redundant; those things can be found readily online (I recommend Mike Chiapettas write-up as a starting point). What needs to be addressed, however, is MMAs acceptance of cheating as a result.

Weve found ourselves at a crossroads. One way runs the credibility of athletes, the competition that pits the skill and intellect of an individual against that of another in order to determine whose combination of mind, body and soul is superior.

In the process, we appreciate the aesthetics of this combination like a well-played game of chess and delight in a humans ability to set in motion a series of choices and chance that ultimately determines victory.

Along the other way runs the credibility of the sport itself, that thing that makes competition worthwhile. Its the reason we become fans in the first place, why most of us chose to follow mixed martial arts as the ultimate competition to test certain characteristics and help us understand the scope of human strength.

And so the balance of these is what we must reconsider when examining TRT and our acceptance of it.

TRT absolutely changes the natural makeup of the fighters, regardless of the means by which those fighters have arrived to any physical composition. The therapy can keep great fighters at the top of their game, i.e. at the level of performance that made them great; it can also make great fighters even better.

Like all great advancements in science, we all deal with the burden of knowledge. This is why applied ethics is such a crucial and integral part of a variety of curricula outside of philosophy. There is an ethics of business, marketing, engineering and, yes, sport.

Nevertheless, Ill move beyond the classroom discussions of the ethics of sport to speak directly to the problems of TRT in MMA. While its legal for a number of very valid reasons, it is still cheating. TRT allows an athlete to gain an advantage in competition they couldnt have had otherwise.

Hear me out: While I argue that TRT is definitely cheating, I argue concurrently that it is cheating only as a therapy.

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TRT Might Be Legal, but It Is Still Cheating

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