Over the last few years, the procedure has become a hot-button subject among promoters, journalists and fighters alike as the debate rages on whether the practice of TRT should be legal and allowed (as it is now, so long as it is approved by an athletic commission) or is essentially legal cheating.
Chael Sonnen is one of the fighters who was at the forefront of the TRT controversy after divulging he was prescribed the therapy by his doctor after they found he had dangerously low levels of testosterone being produced by his body naturally.
He's remained on the treatment for the past several years, and with approval by the athletic commissions, so long as his testosterone levels are within legal limits, he can fight while using TRT.
If there's one person who has no problem speaking out against the use of TRT in MMA it is Sonnen's next opponent, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones.
During a TUF 17 media conference call on Wednesday, when Sonnen stated he would be the best athlete that Jones has ever faced, the champion fired back by saying, “Is that you being in good shape on TRT or off of TRT?”
When pushed on the subject further, Jones didn't back down when speaking about the controversial therapy, pointing towards age catching up to fighters and how TRT is just cheating with a legal name attached to it.
“I think it's terrible. I think it's absolutely terrible if you're going to consider yourself an athlete. TRT would be perfect for Chael Sonnen if he wasn't competing in one of the toughest sports in the world,” Jones stated.
“I think Chael Sonnen made tons of money when he was a young guy, and now he's an older guy. And now just to be able to take a drug and super-enhance yourself back to where you were in your 20′s is bull.”
As men get older, their testosterone levels drop naturally, but TRT has been viewed as a virtual “fountain of youth” for some aging competitors. Fighters like Dan Henderson, Frank Mir and Forrest Griffin have all been granted TRT exemptions by athletic commissions in the couple of years.
Jones isn't a fan of the procedure at all, and says getting older is just part of athletics. You won't be able to do the same things at 35 years of age that you could when you were 25, and that's just a fact.
“Right now I'm 25, I'm sure I'm not as giddy and happy-go-lucky as I was when I was 20, so if I take a drug at my 25-year-old age and have the energy of a 20-year-old, it just wouldn't be fair. Everyone would hate me if I did it, but Chael Sonnen gets to do it? I think it's bull crap,” Jones stated.
Sonnen didn't have much to say in response other than saying, “I don't have any comment.”
Will Sonnen's usage of TRT come up again during the filming of The Ultimate Fighter Season 17? If this is any indicator, Jones has no problem bringing it up and pointing the finger directly at Sonnen.
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- Chael Sonnen