Researchers Find Link between MMA and Low Testosterone in Men
Atlanta, GA – Mixed martial artists have testosterone levels much lower than that of the population at large, according to a report released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control.
The 68-page report, titled “Fighting for their Manhood,” draws largely upon a 2013 study that tracked over 150 athletes from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Out of those fighters, 135 have been diagnosed as having clinically low testosterone and have subsequently gone on medically supervised testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)–an amount the researchers call “statistically significant.”
“The findings contradict what we would naturally assume about fighters,” said Dr. Parvesh Kirwani, the lead author of the report. “Before they begin TRT, their bodies actually produce about as much testosterone as a 75-year-old woman’s does.”
“It’s kind of remarkable that they suffer from this malady and yet are still so muscular and athletic,” Kirwani added.
Testosterone is a hormone produced mainly in the testicles that regulates sexual functions, muscle growth, and the development of typically “male” characteristics, such as aggression and deeper voices.
The findings are especially confusing considering that some of those very qualities–more muscle and aggression, specifically–would logically be beneficial to athletes in a sport like MMA.
“To be honest, I’m puzzled,” Kirwani said. “I don’t see why so many men with clinically low levels of T [testosterone] would be drawn to an activity they by all accounts should fail in.”
Some fighters, however, believe that the fighters weren’t born with low T, but became that way due to the demands of the sport.
“It’s all the weight cutting,” UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell said, with a group of muscle-bound fighters behind him nodding furiously in agreement. “I never had to cut weight, being a heavyweight and all, but you know, it takes a lot out of you just thinking about it.”
Rothwell began TRT last year, a move that he says changed his life.
“Thanks to medical science,” Roswell said, “I went from being fat, slow, and frankly a little feminine to the Nordic god of thunder and virility that you see today.”
Kirwani says he’s not sure whether he buys Rothwell’s theory, as he can’t think of any medical reason as to why weight cutting or anything else for that matter would cause fighters’ testicles to completely shut down and stop functioning.
Yet since he can’t rule anything out, he advises people who are considering taking up the sport to be careful.
“Just to be on the safe side, think twice before you step into the ring if you don’t want to end up a no-testosterone little bitch,” Kirwani said.
According to the report, female UFC fighters do not suffer from the same low testosterone levels.