Roy Nelson: TRT ban just put fighters using it ‘back in the closet’

TRT users Roy Nelson is staring straight into your soul 

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Roy Nelson is a full-time fighter competing in the UFC’s heavyweight division and has a bout coming up next week against former champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t trying to broaden his horizons with a second job when the Nevada State Athletic Commission was searching for an executive director.

Following former director Keith Kizer stepping down to take a new position within the state government, the Nevada commission opened up the job application process to anybody willing to take a shot at landing the job with one of the most prestigious governing bodies in combat sports.

Nelson, a life long resident of Las Vegas, took the opportunity to apply and said at the time he was very serious about landing the job. Unfortunately, the commission recently narrowed down their selection field to just a few candidates and Nelson’s name was left off the list.

But leave it to Nelson to turn a negative into a positive because he sees action in motion in the commission already following the recent ban on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and this happened just weeks after he applied for a job there. 


If you were going to juice, you’re going to juice anyways. Now, maybe it’s just not regulated

— Roy Nelson on the TRT ban

"I’m always interested in furthering and making our sport better," Nelson said about the commission job when speaking to FOX Sports. "But at the same time, I applied for the state athletic commission job and the next thing you know there’s a TRT ban.  So maybe sometimes I don’t have to be the executive director to get things moving along over there."

Nelson has been one of the most outspoken fighters on the UFC roster to ask for tougher and more stringent drug testing in mixed martial arts.  He participated in a voluntary program for additional testing prior to his fight against Matt Mitrione in 2012, and Nelson has always tried to fight the battle to get rid of performance enhancing drugs in MMA.

The TRT ban in Nevada appeared to be a popular decision at the time and one that fighters like Nelson would seemingly applaud because it helps rid the sport of a treatment often seen as a loophole for fighters to use a performance enhancer legally as long as it was done under the guidance of an athletic commission. Now that the ban is in effect, no fighter can use TRT while competing in Nevada, but ever the pragmatist, Nelson isn’t sure the new policy will actually have the desired effect of eliminating synthetic testosterone use in the sport.

"All it did was just put everything back on the shelf of what the world was before the TRT, so if you were going to juice, you’re going to juice anyways.  Now, maybe it’s just not regulated," Nelson said.

"It really kind of negates, it adds a little loophole for people that could have already been popped before somewhere else, but all it did was open up the original floodgate where hey we’ve just got to test for it.  Now we just cycle it, when before if you were on TRT and have an exemption they actually tested you a couple of weeks before.  It was actually harder, and more stringent so I would assume people will just go back in the closet."

Nelson fought the good fight for years trying to get stricter drug testing enforced and available for competitors in the UFC and mixed martial arts in general.  While he’s still against fighters using any kind of performance enhancing drugs, it appears the battle weary Nelson is tired of going at it alone, walking up a steep hill of opposition while dragging a boulder on his back.

At this point, Nelson is just ready to get inside the Octagon and compete.  Maybe his opponent is on something illegal, and maybe not, but Nelson’s new philosophy on the subject seems pretty simple and basic.

"If anything some of this stuff should be regulated by the government, but it’s not. An apple should be an apple, but sometimes the apple has to be organic, but it has different chemicals on it from the different pesticides.  You don’t know, so technically you shouldn’t eat or do anything," Nelson said.  "My thing is just like whatever, just fight."