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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has dropped a bombshell about how he got himself through training to fight Ryan Bader at UFC 144 with an injured knee, telling Fighter's Only that he was administered injections of testosterone by his doctor.
"I hurt this knee back in college, I hurt it before I fought Rashad and so I knew it was the same injury," Rampage said of the injury suffered in this particular camp. "A lot of fights when I am injured I don't tell anybody but the UFC knew this time because my doctor works for the UFC. It's good that the UFC knew because they look after you, they take care of you even if its just in training. Pride didn't do that.
"I told my doctor not to tell the UFC but he told them anyway," Jackson continued. "I don't like the UFC to know sometimes because I think sometimes got big mouths and then sometimes my opponent knows. That's why Rashad was punching me in my knee. That injury I kept quiet... it was a stupid move to punch me in my knee, it didn't hurt, but if you're fighting a good wrestler you need good knees so you can wrestle."
"I almost pulled out but then I went to see the doctor and he told me to talk to an age-management doctor. So I went and talked to them and they tested me and said my testosterone was low; they prescribed me testosterone, to bring my testosterone levels back up to levels where I can be like... so that I am the same as young people, like when I was 25, and it would help build my knee up. I hurt my knee like a month ago and I only did three shots of testosterone but it put a lot of weight on me, a lot of muscle on me but it healed me knee up good enough to where I could fight."
"It was hard for me to train, it takes time to heal, I couldn't do certain things, but this was my first time ever using testosterone. I took what the doctor prescribed to me and I went to the pharmacy... I gave myself small doses and that shit immediately changed me, that's why I am saying now I am not going to retire. I am not gonna retire no time soon, its just unfortunate that I got this injury."
What Jackson is admitting to here is essentially what many believe performance enhancing drugs are used for in competition: recovery. He was advised by a doctor to see an age specialist, not because of a testosterone deficiency issue at the time, but because he was going to pull out of a fight because of an injury. Jackson is going with what the doctor is telling him, but that doesn't necessarily make it better.
"I don't know about health and drugs and stuff because I don't really deal with it," Jackson said. "I was never really big into it. So I was like 'testosterone? No I'm not going to do that, that's like steroids' but then the doctor is like 'no, steroids is stuff mixed with testosterone or other stuff, you can get steroids that do all types of things. Steroids for your cardio, for your muscles. Testosterone is all natural, its what your body produces.'
"He was saying its like age management, it will turn back the clock and help heal you up," Jackson said. "So I talked to my team and I really wanted to fight in Japan - cause you know I did all this stuff to fight in Japan and not in Chicago - and so I couldn't give up and miss Japan. Everyone knows I love Japanese fans, they helped me become the fighter that I am, they gave me the energy and stuff. It was a hard decision but I was like 'you know what, I am gonna do it. It will make me young and help me fight longer, which I want to.'
"So I spoke to the UFC and they were like 'yeah, a lot of fighters are probably doing it but not telling anyone.' Me, I keep it real, I am not doing anything wrong. Its legal and I am not abusing it and I am not going over certain levels. From what I learned about it, when I got tested my levels my levels were really low and the doctor was telling me that athletes can burn testosterone."
Penick's Analysis: I have a feeling this is going to blow up over the next few days. TRT has already been a hot-button issue, with many less than accepting of the "low testosterone" excuse. Here we have Jackson laying out a scenario with a doctor setting him up to get testosterone to help heal from an injury, which is what many feel is the performance enhancing benefit from these drugs. Whether he was drug tested by the UFC is going to be the next interesting situation, because if they knew he was taking testosterone but didn't test him for it that's not going to look very good. Additionally, if he's going to continue fighting and using testosterone, he's going to need to get a therapeutic use exemption ahead of time, and we'll see going forward whether or not he knows that's the case. If not, we could eventually see Jackson be the next fighter busted for testosterone after Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt. More on this as it comes this week.
[Rampage Jackson art by Cory Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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