On the heels of yesterday’s news with Nate Marquardt, NSAC executive director Keith Kizer sat down with TapouT TV’s Mike Straka to talk about the complex and controversial topics of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) in MMA. Kizer isn’t familiar enough with Marquardt’s case to comment on it, but he does do a good job of explaining the intricacies of TRT and TUE.
The most interesting point Kizer makes is that there is a fairly reliable way to tell if a fighter’s low testosterone is caused by prior PED use (and if it is, they’re automatically ineligible for a TUE in Nevada). Transcription via Fight Opinion:
“There’s also something that’s checked on, it’s the LH (Luteinizing hormone/lutropin) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) levels that are checked at the same time as the testosterone levels and those two levels have to be normal or better and again the testosterone level has to be low in order to really qualify automatically or that’s not the right word but to qualify normally for such an exemption. Those are the levels that they check. If your LH & FSH levels are low that does indicate that it could be from prior steroids. If those levels are normal or high, odds are really, really, really good that it wasn’t due to prior PED usage because I guess those are the levels that go down due to steroid usage in the past. So, you know, if I get an athlete that the doctors know has explained all that sufficiently, our doctor checks it out and he’s happy with it, the blood tests a low T/E but a normal-to-high LH & FSH and I get the affidavit from the athlete and there’s no other evidence that the athlete used PEDs in the past, they have a very good chance of getting a TUE, they should get a TUE in a case like that and, again, they don’t have to choose between leading a healthy life and leading a life as a professional athlete nor should they. On the other hand, if they’re not entitled a TUE, they don’t meet the burden, then they have two choices — take the drugs and don’t compete or compete but don’t take the drugs. But again, hopefully there’s a situation in legitimate case where the athlete can do because there’s no harm, no foul.”
It’s unknown at this point if Marquardt’s LH & FSH levels were checked and if Marquardt’s over-the-counter andro supplement use caused his low testosterone, although Marquardt admittedly wonders if it did.