Lavar Johnson's last few appearances in the Ultimate Fighting Championship were nothing much to write home about.
Two consecutive losses—a first-round submission to Stefan Struve followed by one of the most boring heavyweight battles in recent memory against Brendan Schaub—spelled the end of Johnson's UFC run. Afterwards, the California State Athletic Commission revealed that Johnson had tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. He was suspended for nine months, a penalty that was reduced to six months upon appeal.
Johnson told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour that he was taking testosterone, but did not disclose it to the commission.
What happened was basically I was on TRT, I just didn’t disclose it to the athletic commission. It was my mistake. I was taking such little amounts; me and my doctor didn’t think anything was going to pop up, like it’s no big deal. I guess any time you’re taking any kind of testosterone it’s going to show on the test. So that’s basically what I got popped for.
Johnson makes it all sound so very nonchalant, as if shooting testosterone into your body is the most normal thing in the world. Let's continue with Johnson's statement and dissect the most interesting bit:
You know, if you take steroids they’ll suspend you for a year. I wasn’t taking steroids.
Johnson was, in fact, taking steroids.
Call it testosterone replacement therapy all you want, and perhaps you're one of the few people out of the dozens who claim they need TRT in order to function that actually needs it. But at the end of the day, you are injecting yourself with pure, unadulterated testosterone. Not only is it a steroid, but it's one of the most powerful ones on the market.
I was prescribed [TRT] by a doctor. They suspended me for nine months, and I ended up showing them my prescription from my doctor and everything. They ended up reducing it to six months. That was it. Unfortunately I got released from the UFC, and messed up the good opportunity. But Bellator, they believe in me, and they are going to give the opportunity and chance to showcase my skills.
If Johnson was indeed prescribed testosterone replacement therapy by his doctor—and getting a doctor to approve you for a treatment regimen these days seems about as difficult as walking into his office and saying "Hey, I'm a professional fighter and I have low testosterone"—then it boggles my mind that he thought he'd get away with not notifying an athletic commission. Or the UFC. Or anyone involved with the fight game for that matter.
After all, Chael Sonnen used the same trick back when he was famously busted for elevated testosterone. The whole "not notifying the commission" trick didn't work back then, and so I cannot fathom what made Johnson believe it would work now.
As the famous Spanish philosopher George Santayana once said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
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