Retired former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin has never been shy about giving his honest take on things. In an excellent recent interview with the Boston Herald, Griffin talks about when he knew it was time to hang his gloves up as well as his take on some performance-enhancing drugs, like testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
As for TRT, which was recently effectively banned in MMA, Griffin says that he underwent the treatment even though he knew there were serious health risks associated with use. "I mean, you now, there's a chance [you can] enlarge your heart, enlarge your prostate, lose your prostate, not be able to [perform sexually] after 50. So I took that into advisement in doing that," Griffin explained.
Griffin went on to say that, as a professional athlete trying to become as good as he could, he found those risks acceptable.
"To me, being a better fighter was worth it," he said.
"It was worth even shortening your lifespan to be good at something."
As for knowing when to retire, Griffin said he understood that it was time to walk away when he stopped improving in the gym. "Not doing what you were able to do the year before," he said when citing a big factor in deciding it was time to retire.
"And [when] it's not fun. It was so fun, 2006, 2007, 2008. I went into the gym and I felt like I was winning in the gym, which is important for an athlete. And, two, I was getting better. Like even when Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell would beat me up in practice, I know I'd gotten better. I was getting worse at the end. That ride up is much better than the ride down."
Griffin has advice for other athletes on how to avoid a decline. "Don't be 37," he said, simply.
"That's the age when professional athletes, for the most part, start to fall apart. Even the phenomenal ones like Chuck and Anderson. At 37, you start to lose a little bit of it."