The use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in mixed martial arts has drawn quite a bit of controversy since the treatment first became prominent. Aging fighters have used TRT as a way to level the playing field with their younger, more naturally testosterone-driven counterparts while many still believe that TRT use is unnatural and that it should be viewed no differently than the use of performance enhancing drugs.
One of the most notable TRT recipients in recent years has been former two-time Pride and Strikeforce Champion Dan Handerson. Now in his early forties, “Hendo” has been one-of-many fighters using TRT and although he has come under less scrutiny for it than, say, Vitor Belfort, the issue is always debated.
Recently, however, word broke that Henderson halted his TRT use for his fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 161 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. As the drug test results for the event came back, it was revealed that no fighters were granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) including Henderson, who had not submitted a request for exemption.
Hendo spoke to MMA Junkie on the issue, and why he decided against moving forward with a request to use TRT in his bout with Evans, which he lost via decision:
“It didn’t look like they would approve it, so I just quit taking the testosterone. I stopped about six to eight weeks out. I was told by my doctor that wouldn’t be a problem at all. I wasn’t using that much, anyway.
I guess they won’t approve it unless you can prove a physical problem with your body that would explain why you need it other than just testing low for testosterone,” Henderson said. “You have to give them a reason why your body has a physical ailment, such as your pituitary gland or something. That wasn’t my case. They weren’t going to approve me, so I didn’t even apply for it. After they spoke with my doctor, I just withdrew my application.
I didn’t feel too big of a difference,” Henderson said. “I was a little tired here and there, but that’s not too different from all my other training camps. My last couple camps, I’ve been having some problems with my chest, some asthma. As a kid, I had exercise-induced asthma, and I felt the testosterone made a difference there. But who knows?
It’s hard to tell. I never noticed a huge difference. I just know my doctor says it’s healthier for me. I know I was getting sick less often when taking TRT, and I seemed to have more energy.”
Henderson has said he would like to fight again in December, though he has no official fight booked for either UFC on FOX 9 on Dec. 14 or UFC 168 on Dec. 28. What are your thoughts on this tidbit, Penn Nation? Should Henderson be granted exemption for TRT use, or is this a step in the right direction to stop TRT use altogether?Tags: Dan Henderson, hendo, Rashad Evans, TRT, TUE, ufc, UFC 161