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Do Muay Thai fighters take steroids?

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Steroids have been present in sport for as long as they've been around, but whereas other combat sports such as MMA & Boxing have strict anti-doping regulations, Muay Thai doesn't have the same stringent testing or rules. It is difficult to know how many Muay Thai fighters do take steroids, but many certainly will to take advantage of the lack of proper drug testing in the sport.

Steroids are frowned upon heavily in combat sports due to the advantages that they offer fighters. A fighter who takes steroids will have several advantages over a fighter who doesn't, which can be extremely dangerous and life threatening in combat sports.

Steroids help to boost strength, muscle and reduce body fat. When taken, they will help fighters to train and perform at a much higher level than if they were not to take steroids. The use of steroids does however have health effects, and alter some of the bodies natural processes.

What steroids do professional fighters take?

Not all steroids are the same, and there are various steroids which professional fighters have taken. We've listed some below.

  • Stanozolol: Stanozolol is a synthetic steroid that is derived from testosterone and has anabolic and androgenic properties. T.J. Dillashaw is a professional fighter who has famously tested positive for Stanozolol.

  • Recombinant Human Erythropoietin: Recombinant Human Erythropoietin boosts exercise performance through increase in oxygen transport capacity following regular administration of EPO but preclinical study results suggest that single high dose of EPO also may improve exercise capacity. Chad Mendez is a fighter who has famously tested positive for Recombinant Human Erythropoietin.

  • Human Growth Hormones: Human growth hormone (hGH) is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It’s important for growth, cell regeneration, and cell reproduction. HGH helps to maintain, build, and repair healthy tissue in the brain and other organs. This hormone can help to speed up healing after an injury and repair muscle tissue after exercise. This helps to build muscle mass, boost metabolism, and burn fat.

  • Clenbuterol: Clenbuterol is an anabolic agent sometimes used for performance-enhancement by athletes to increase lean muscle mass and reduce body fat. Canelo Alvarez is a professional fighter who has famously tested positive for Clenbuterol.

Do Muay Thai fighters get drug tested?

In the majority of Muay Thai fights, fighters do not get tested - including most fights in Thailand.

Drug testing fighters is an expensive process that most Muay Thai organisations can't afford to do. This means that Muay Thai fighters do not get drug tested, allowing fighters to use performance enhancing drugs.

The side effects of taking steroids

There are several different side effects of taking steroids and they widely depend on the different steroids that you are taking, however we have listed some of the most common side effects below.

  • For men, enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia)

  • Increased insulin resistance

  • Anxiety

  • High blood sugar

  • Cardiac arrest


Due to the lack of drug testing in Muay Thai it's unknown exactly how many Muay Thai fighters take steroids, however it's likely that many do to try and gain an advantage in their training and performances.

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