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

Dan Henderson

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.”