Penick's Take
PENICK: UFC should respond to Rampage Jackson's TRT use and comments before Shogun bout
Mar 14, 2012 - 2:00:40 PM

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Almost immediately after reports came out of the UFC wanting to put Quinton "Rampage" Jackson against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in his final UFC bout this summer, Jackson himself said the fight isn't on just yet.

"Yo guys not sure who I'm fighting yet but I hope it is Shogun cause he always come [to] fight," Rampage wrote. "Just got my MRI today, [and] I'm feeling great now."

With the UFC heading to Brazil this summer, a Shogun-Rampage bout in Shogun's home country could certainly make for a big fight; and the UFC is clearly pushing Rampage into a corner by saying it's the fight they're going to make. If Rampage doesn't then agree to the fight, it will reflect very poorly on him considering the myriad of complaints he's had in the last two weeks, as well as his previous desire to face Shogun.

However, the continued issue of his testosterone use is going to be followed for whenever this fight happens, and especially if it takes place in Brazil.

He's already said that the TRT has brought his levels back to when he was a 25-year-old. That's not the intention of true testosterone replacement therapy. The intent is to get levels back to normal for your age. At 33, Rampage having low testosterone is already sketchy - and the fact that he was diagnosed and prescribed treatment by an age doctor and not an endocrinologist over a period of months even more so - but even if it was a legitimate diagnosis, the treatment should bring him back to the levels of a 33-year-old.

Instead, Rampage has talked about how the treatment helped him heal from a knee injury faster, and then he dropped one of the most ridiculous lines ever on Twitter last night in response to a fan.

Asked "What are your plans after your [sic] done fighting?", Rampage responded, "Now with the TRT I got 10 more years!"

With a more than controversial treatment that already looks like a loophole to use performance enhancers in training, Rampage says he's got another ten years. Right now he is being completely ignorant to the realities of his situation, and every word that comes out of his mouth makes this worse and worse.

One of the main components of the "performance enhancement" aspect of steroids or testosterone treatments is giving the user the ability to recover faster. That's what he's using this for. He's using TRT to recover from injuries despite not being properly diagnosed under acceptable methods, or getting a therapeutic exemption for his use.

That last fact is one that makes the UFC look very bad, because they were the regulatory body for his last fight. Dana White always points to the athletic commissions as the ones to ask about TUEs and TRT, yet they were the overseers of this event in Japan, and if they knew Jackson was on testosterone, did they check his levels at all? Were they monitoring anything with that?

If they have this fight in Brazil, will they allow him to use TRT knowing what he's said in this last month? Will they test him and monitor his levels to make sure they're acceptable? Will there be any discipline if he's over any limits?

These are all legitimate questions that will and should be asked if the UFC puts this fight on in Brazil. And if they go unanswered, or if Rampage is allowed to be on TRT without it being thoroughly checked out, they'll have no legs to stand on in their supposed stance against PEDs.

However, there is another potential situation we could see, as Zach Arnold at lays out. What if the UFC tells Rampage he can't be on TRT for this fight? What if they don't grant him a therapeutic use exemption? And if he takes it anyway, they could absolutely suspend him and fine him as well. Or, they could put the fight on in a state where the commission has been hearing all of this, and if he doesn't get a therapeutic use exemption after all this discussion then the fight will either be called off or he'll run the risk of testing positive elsewhere.

All of this is to say, Jackson's tirades on Twitter have reflected more than poorly on both him and the UFC, and if the UFC wants to continue to maintain a stance that they're against PED use, they need to make an example out of Jackson. It's clear that his TRT treatment is being used for performance enhancing purposes in his recovery, whether he's cognizant of that fact or not is irrelevant.

He's willfully ignorant to it because his doctors are the ones that prescribed it, and because he's not taking something from a back alley or from a shady gym rat he doesn't think it's cheating. Well, based on the rules as they're set, it absolutely is. Until he's examined thoroughly and determined to need this therapy legitimately, and not to bring his levels to that of a 25-year-old or to help him heal faster, that's precisely what it is.

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