Steroids in MMA
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Dan Henderson Talks Openly About His TRT Exemption; Says Stricter Testing is Needed of Approved Fighters

(Hendo’s friends knew something was wrong with him, but it took a doctor to figure out his T levels were really low.)

Rumor had it for a while that Dan Henderson was one of the fighters with an approved testosterone replacement therapy exemption, but until now there was no concrete evidence that he was in the same company as Chael Sonnen, Todd Duffee, Nate Marquardt and Dennis Hallman (who we know about). It’s not that he was hiding it, it’s just that no one asked.

In an interview Hendo did with ESPN this week, the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion ,who revealed that he has been using TRT since 2007, spoke openly and candidly about the reason he required the therapeutic exemption and the effect it has on his health. Among other things, Henderson called for stricter year-round testing  for anyone who requires hormone replacement to ensure that he or she isn’t upping their dosages to give them an edge in the off-season.

“My levels were so low they were off the charts. I was always tired and getting sick a lot. I couldn’t even tell you [how to abuse it],” he explained to Brett Okamoto. “I’ve never gone above normal ranges. All I know is that I’m not as tired and I don’t get as sick as I used to.”

According to Hendo, if patients are receiving proper treatment from a reputable physician their levels should never jump above the normal acceptable range. In order to make sure he never test hight, he says that he constantly monitors his own levels on his own dime, which is commendable and creates transparency when dealing with commissions.

“I always do it on my own just to cover my own ass. The only time people get monitored now is at the fights,” Henderson said. “I think it might be good to have stricter monitoring where people are getting tested throughout the year.”

Most commissions accept HRT exemptions if there is documented proof from a physician (some require an edocrinologist’s sign-off). The Nevada State Athletic Commission adopted a two-strike rule from WADA which states it will not approve an exemption if a fighter has been caught using steroids or testosterone illegally in the past as it is likely abuse caused their present condition, meaning Marquardt will be SOL when applying for a license in Vegas.

NSAC executive director Keith Kizer says that he sees no issue in the approval of fighters who legitimately need to use TRT as long as they are not using it to gain an advantage.

“You don’t want to stop an athlete from doing it if he’s got a legitimate chemical deficiency,” Kizer said. “In situations where they need it to live a healthy, long life, maybe have kids, whatever, you don’t want to take that away. But, it is fair that the burden falls on them to prove they need it and that they are following it.”




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Rocco77- September 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm
Oh and one more thing, you do still have to be in the "normal" range for a human to pass these tests. The problem with "normal" is that it varies.

The scale of "normal" for testosterone is ~325 - 850 dcl's on an overall testosterone rating. Most healthy and normal males should be around 450-600 (meaning they have normal sex drive, normal metabolism, normal mood etc) . Some men (probably most pro NFL players lets say) might naturally be around 850 - 900 giving them the extra speed, strenght and healing properties they need. They just have good genes to be strong. There are freaks of nature that are hovering around 1000+ naturally It does happen.

Anyhow the point is, if a fighter has some sort of defficiency and his levels are now 225 (Poor healing ability in the muscles, losing his reaction time, no sex drive, poor sleep, poor mood. fat gain) and he is on TRT to be at lets say 500 then there really isn't a issue that he is getting an edge in performance. The real issue here is how they got this low T rating and if its going against nature to be taking it. I mean maybe the moral question of natural ability and an athletes longevity is the larger issue here.
Rocco77- September 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm
This is a real touchy subject. One of the main problems is that people don't understand what exactly is the difference between steroid abuse and TRT. Of course I am not saying that TRT is fair play exactly, but I am saying that things are not so black and white as people like to assume.

My opinion really is that if you are suffering from low T naturally then you probably shouldn't be fighting. Some guys are just born very kind of soft, non competitive, quiet, docile etc. and well these guys are born with different genes than let's say the loud, rambunctious, competitive, stronger willed kid. The coming adulthood combined with upbringing etc will probably push these kids, turned teens, turned adults through different experiences in life. Which kind of supports my next point though, and that is people like Henderson and Sonnen would not be at their level now if they had been suffering from naturally having low T. Starting in HS they were good athletes. You don't get to a high level of even HS wrestling with low T (let alone the Olympics or being an All-American in college) To me this means one of a few things.

1) Either its time to retire when your hormones drop and your body is telling you to slow down

2) One or all of the guys mentioned in this discussion have "juiced" before and lowered their own natural levels (which could take several horrible months to come back to normal again) or more than like my last opinion

3) And most sympathetic stance: is that these things do happen sometimes. Fighters get into ruts, get injuries, get sick and their hormones drop. A professional fighter becomes a well oiled machine and while I am not fully justifying TRT, I can understand that after a bad injury and lay off, entering a new camp, stress from life, training, media , can really get you down and can create HUGE lulls in testosterone production, that really can create a bad bad physical and mental state for a fighter. In these times I can understand, that stepping up to your job, might require getting an extra boost to even get up and get going in the mornings.
AndyInflammatory- July 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm
That and all the steroids ingested willy-nilly during his glory days in Pride no doubt shut his natural receptors down like Rupert Murdoch shuts down newspapers.

Next up on the apology wagon - Banderai Sheelvaaaaah
StinkFacer- July 13, 2011 at 2:16 am
i think that the low testosterone would come from the fact that before being a mixed martial artist, he was probably making weight cuts at a much younger age for the Olympics. Having to do that several times could affect your testosterone levels. You cant say no. No one here is an endocrinologist.
The_Dead_Cow- July 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm
I'm confused. If the commissions allow TRT in the "normal" ranges only just as if one wasn't using it at all, then why would someone who is using it within the "normal" ranges even talk about it? If a fighter kept his testosterone in the normal range, TRT or not, why bother telling the commission? I don't get it.
AndyInflammatory- July 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm
the regulations governing HRT have as many loopholes in them as medicinal marijuana

ask Joe Rogan - he's intimately aware of both sides
WK- July 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm
TRT's not just like a common cold where you drink chicken soup, eat Vit C tabs and sleep will cure it.

So yeah, I agree with most of you: ban people on TRT, or stop cutting weight to get easy fights.
RwilsonR- July 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm
Much like Chael Sonnen said, these athletes are priveleged to fight in this sport as professional athletes, and it is not something they are entitled to. Personally, I believe anybody on TRT should not be allowed to fight, or everybody should get to use the benefits of TRT. If you need to be on it for medical reasons, that is fine, but it should be disqualifying to participate professionally in this sport.
k-onda- July 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm
I've never known anyone with this problem, show me a few professional fighters, and suddenly it's an epidemic - God Damn
AndyInflammatory- July 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm
"Much like creatine,supplimenting testosterone will disable your bodys ability to produce it on its own." - where the hell did you come up with that? Its common knowledge that excess supplemental T causes shrinky-balls, but there's no suggestion that Creatine is affected (considering it's in every steak that you eat)

Y'all need to get schooling.
via. saku buttspank submission- July 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm
K guys, here's the scoop. Much like creatine,supplimenting testosterone will disable your bodys ability to produce it on its own. Figure the rest out on your own. I'm now questioning Hendo and his past wins. If you need TRT, you should'nt be fighting.Bottom fucking line! I wonder if Fedor knows.
Lesnars_tiny_pecker_says- July 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm
Tell any of these boys that, if they need testosterone, just let me know. I am a real man! I sweat that shit out. I will give them my jock and they can simmer it for 15 minutes in some water and it will be enough to cover all the fighters for a year. I got so much of that shit my hair grows hair. I have a man sweater that won't quit. I braid my ass hair! My balls are the size of two computer mice. Now go tell that, HOME BOY!
knucklesamitch- July 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Without TRT, I can't grow a mustache...I've tried. Oh well, off to the doctor!
El Famous Burrito- July 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm
Don Frye told me to say that. Or his mustache did, at least. It must be obeyed.
El Guapo- July 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm
^Not that there's anything wrong with that. If that's what... Y'know.
El Guapo- July 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm
What Get Off Me said. O Chan, too. But not you, Famouso, as some guys look gay with mustaches.
El Famous Burrito- July 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm
If you're feeling less manly, grow a mustache.
O Chan- July 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm
I don't know about you guys, but seeing that picture of Hendo has given me a strong urge to get a Junior Bacon Cheese and a Frosty.
Get Off Me- July 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm
The stress on the body caused by weight cutting is extreme, over time this may lower testosterone in a given individual. I can also come up with about ten other factors that can lower an individuals testosterone as they age as well.
The best way I can put it, testosterone levels are part of your genetics, if you need to supplement to bring them to "normal" or "average" levels, it is like a person who is 5'4" saying he needs to have a surgery to become taller so that he is in the average height range of the end of the day, sport is about natural selection, if you need help to bring your testosterone up, you should not be able to participate at the elite level of the sport.
jgrant- July 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm
I'm willing to bet the fact that Hendo has been wrestling/fighting for so long and cutting weight during that time has definitely affected his body's ability to produce testosterone.
Pen Fifteen- July 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm
I have heard this claim bandied about quite a bit, and I have yet to see any medical evidence to support it. The guy on Sherdog's fistic medicine column recently that there are "many possible reasons" for late-onset hypogonadism, but I have yet to see any elaboration on this that goes beyond hand-waving.
mgunn- July 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm
It opens up such a can of worms... It's really cheating... Like the article said if you took before it can cause it to be low later so you'd need a one-strike you're out policy.

Also, EVERYONE feels tired and fatigued. I suppose EVERYONE should be tested. Oh, and those tests have variability. Yes, that's right, you can take it again and again until you are low ONCE, and then show that to a doctor.

And the "normal" ranges are arbitrary. And actually they vary among different people. It's possible low testosterone is a sign rather than a disease. Body's telling you to rest, but you can cheat and take this artificial stuff and feel great again.

The solution is to ban it entirely. Oh you have this disease? You can't compete then. Discriminatory? Yes, but do we let people in wheelchairs and developmentally disabled people compete? Why not? They'd get killed? Well then so would low testosterone people so don't let them compete.
Mike Russell- July 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm
Weight cutting for prolonged amounts of time will contribute to low test levels.
Get Off Me- July 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Low testosterone also causes loss of conciousness for Bisping.
Bare Grappler- July 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm
I'm just a caveman, but I find it difficult to believe in the sample size of the UFC you have this many guys with such a "syndrome". These guys usually come from some other form of elite athletic competition.

It's like saying, "without HGH I wouldn't be as big and fast as that black guy so it's fair for me to take it to make a fair fight".