Randy Couture has expressed his support of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for athletes participating in mixed-martial arts (MMA) competition in an interview with Steph Daniels for the ‘Bloody Elbow’ website. The use of TRT in MMA has caused considerable controversy. After all, testosterone is an anabolic steroid and steroids are banned in most sports due to their well-established muscle-building and performance-enhancing effects. Several MMA athletes have admitted using testosterone as part of a medically-supervised treatment for hypogonadism.
Some people in the industry, such as UFC President Dana White and Phil “New York Badass” Baroni support the use of TRT in MMA. But others, such as UFC middleweight Michael Bisping, see it as an excuse to use performance-enhancing steroids or to compensate for the suppression of their own natural testosterone production due to the previous use of illegal anabolic steroids (i.e. anabolic steroid induced hypogonadism [ASIH]).
Randy Couture joins the former group and defends TRT for the sport of MMA. Furthermore, Couture doesn’t believe that an MMA fighter’s low blood testosterone levels (hypogonadism) are necessarily indicative of the previous use of banned anabolic steroids (ASIH).
Couture believes MMA athletes with low testosterone are suffering from exercise-induced hypogonadism that results from the demanding training and competition schedules that “hammers their glands.”
“The thing is, we put our bodies through a very intense regimen to get in shape for these fights, and that is really hard on all your glands,” Couture told Daniels. “That can cause some of the low testosterone in the younger guys, under 35.”
While Couture supports the use of TRT, he admits that TRT has its drawbacks. Couture recognizes that TRT is usually a life-long therapy. Once TRT is administered, as is the case with all anabolic-androgenic steroids, the body suppresses its own endogenous (natural) production of testosterone. Because of the suppression, Couture recommends alternative treatments for hypogonadism.
Conveniently for Couture, his supplement company, Xtreme Couture Athletic Pharmaceuticals (XCAP), just happens to market dietary supplement that can be used instead of TRT. XCAP products supposedly help support and rejuvenate endocrine “glands”.
“There are natural herbs and things. That’s the road I chose when I realized that my glands were fried from the stress of all the workouts. It was to jump start my body’s own production, and not put it in from somewhere else,” said Couture. “That’s where the XCAP program and the supplement line that I use came from… I started using some supplementation to force my body to start to produce it on it’s own, and I’ve been doing that ever since.”
Putting the issue of TRT and the shameless plug for his supplement company aside, Couture claims that he was never troubled by the illegal use of steroids in MMA. If he suspected an opponent used steroids, he ironically saw it as a competitive advantage.
“To be honest, my personal opinion is if I saw a guy that was suspected or rumored to be using steroids, I thought that was an advantage for me. I thought there was a psychological letdown for that guy, because he doubted himself, which is why he was using,” said Couture. “He was more concerned with his appearance and how he looked rather than his technique and skill to win fights… If you’re smart about it, you can exploit both the psychological and physical weakness.”
Daniels, S. (July 16, 2012). One On One With Randy Couture: Part II. Retrieved from http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2012/7/17/3163449/one-on-one-with-randy-couture-discusses-trt-steroids