Most athletes on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) go out of their way to dismiss the likelihood that the treatment will enhance their athletic performance in any way whatsoever. They emphasis that their circulating levels of testosterone remain within the normal range. Most athletes claim TRT, at best, just makes them feel “normal”. When asked if it unfairly enhances their performance, they deny, deny, deny. Then, there is Quentin “Rampage” Jackson.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mixed martial artist Jackson apparently didn’t get the memo about downplaying the significance of TRT in athletic performance. The anti-doping movement would face a major crisis if a legitimate medical therapy prescribed for a legitimate medical condition was proven to have performance-enhancing effects especially if the therapy involved anabolic steroids.
Jackson raved about the benefits of steroids in an interview with Gary Alexander of “ “. Few athletes have been as honest and candid about their experience with steroids as Jackson was in this interview.
Jackson was prescribed TRT by an “age management doctor” to treat low testosterone levels in the weeks before losing to Ryan Bader at UFC 144 in Saitama, Japan.
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.
I started hitting it up pretty good, I still gotta take care of my knee but I feel like a 25 year old again. My sex life changed, I was back to five times a night like when I was 25, straight up. I got stronger, lifting weights. I was never good at lifting weights but I was doing everything, pull ups and stuff, everything with my top half. I gained a lot of weight but I gained a lot of water as well, I never knew about testosterone putting weight on you like that. I had to cut weight [for the fight] and I cut 22 pounds out of the 30 I needed to cut, I just couldn’t make the rest. I couldn’t make the rest.
Jackson could have bravely been challenging the stigma associated with steroids. But most likely, he truly believed that “testosterone” was not an “anabolic steroid”.
Well to be honest with you I first learned about testosterone… I don’t know about health and drugs and stuff because I don’t really deal with it. 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.’
Of course, testosterone is a powerful anabolic-androgenic steroid. But due to the demonization of steroids in modern society, many individuals have resorted to playing a game of semantics when discussing testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). After all, if steroids are really so evil, how can anyone justify taking them for health reasons? Of course, the easiest solution, albeit quite disingenuous, is to pretend that “testosterone” isn’t really an anabolic steroid.
It is difficult believe that Jackson was not aware of the controversy he would create by injecting himself, no pun intended, into the conversation regarding testosterone replacement therapy in mixed martial arts (MMA).
For his part, Jackson doesn’t feel he did anything wrong. After all, he was treated for hypogonadism with a legally- and medically-recognized treatment. However, it remains to be seen if Jackson followed the required procedural steps to obtain a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for steroids.
“I feel young again. I’m happy I did the testosterone, I wish I had known about it sooner,” said Jackson.