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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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    Saturday, February 15, 2014

    No Holds Barred: Dr. Nicholas Rizzo on Testosterone Replacement Therapy in MMA and Boxing 




    On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Dr. Nicholas Rizzo.

    Dr. Rizzo is a board-certified internist, a former wrestler and wrestling coach, a ringside physician for professional boxing and MMA events, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Ringside Physicians.

    On January 27, 2014, the Association of Ringside Physicians issued a statement which said "the Association of Ringside Physicians supports the general elimination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy."

    We spoke with Dr, Rizzo by phone Wednesday about this issue.

    Here is the body of that statement:

    "The ARP Releases a Consensus Statement on Therapeutic Use Exemptions for Testosterone Replacement Therapy in Professional Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts.

    "The Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP), an international, non-profit organization dedicated to the health and safety of the boxer and mixed martial arts athlete, has released a consensus statement on therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy in professional combat sport athletes, as follows:

    "'The incidence of hypogonadism requiring the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in professional athletes is extraordinarily rare. Accordingly, the use of an anabolic steroid such as testosterone in a professional boxer or mixed martial artist is rarely justified. Steroid use of any type, including unmerited testosterone, significantly increases the safety and health risk to combat sports athletes and their opponents. TRT in a combat sports athlete may also create an unfair advantage contradictory to the integrity of sport. Consequently, the Association of Ringside Physicians supports the general elimination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy.'

    "For more about the ARP, visit their website at www.associationofringsidephysicians.org."

    Besides discussing the many reasons for this position, Dr. Rizzo noted in this interview: "There's some report that just came out that states that long-term testosterone replacement therapy may be associated with heart disease. Now, it's a preliminary report, the jury's still out, the concrete data's not in. But anytime you're introducing something artificial, you need to weigh the risks and benefits. And one of the caveats of medicine is 'Primum non nocere,' which is Latin for 'First, do no harm.'"

    While he is not entirely opposed to granting therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy, he believes that the actual number of professional athletes who require this and who would not be given an unfair advantage by this is quite small. "You can count them on one hand on a national level," he said.

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