Chael Sonnen may have brought the controversial Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) into the limelight, but he certainly isn’t the only fighter who has used the treatment. In fact, unlike Sonnen, both Dan Henderson and Todd Duffee actually had TRT approved by the NSAC in past fights. From The Wrestling Observer (subscription required) via BE:
In Nevada, it has only been approved for two fighters, Dan Henderson and Todd Duffee (before the Mike Russow fight on 5/29). The stories about Randy Couture linked to TRT in Nevada and having an exemption is an urban myth. Couture’s name has been linked with it since 2007 when Joe Rogan, in an ESPN interview, when talking about Couture, made a mention of how with things like hormone replacement therapy, athletes are now able to compete at an older age than in the past. It should be noted that it is not believed Duffee’s being let go by UFC after this loss had anything to do with this treatment. Henderson has been tested after all of his fights in Nevada and always fell beneath the 6-to-1 ratio. Duffee was blood tested leading to the Russow fight, but was not tested after the fight because he lost. Nevada usually tests winners and some losers at random, but not all losers are tested under the guise that if you lost, you didn’t score an unfair win. Duffee was not in a title match or a main event where both fighters would automatically be tested. Only one fighter in California has ever been approved for testosterone replacement therapy, although the commission would not give his name.
Of course, a fighter only undergoes TRT because they have low levels of testosterone in the first place. Here’s MMA Junkie’s Dr. Johnny Benjamin explaining what causes low testosterone levels. Guess what the biggest reason is? Steroids!
Some common reasons for significantly low testosterone levels in an otherwise healthy young man are pituitary-gland issues, primary gonadal issues and/or side effects of anabolic steroid use. As an FYI, pituitary dysfunction was ruled out in Sonnen’s case.
So, that leaves two likely choices – with one being far more likely than the other.
…Sonnen was evaluated and treated by his local family practice doctor (Dr. Mark Czarnecki, D.O.) in Dallas, Ore. After doing background research, I have no reason to believe that Dr. Czarnecki is not a fine, board-certified family-practice doctor of osteopathy. But a fellowship-trained expert in endocrinology he is not (and absolutely no disrespect is intended).
When Dr. Czarnecki was questioned during the hearing, he said that he was unaware of any drugs that could cause the condition for which he had diagnosed and was treating Sonnen. Sadly, by his own admission, this physician was unaware that testicular atrophy and subsequent low testosterone are common and widely known side effects of anabolic-steroid use.
So does that mean Sonnen, Henderson, Duffee and whoever else is undergoing TRT is/were on steroids? Not necessarily, it’s impossible to know for sure with the information at hand, but chances are at least some of them are.
Image via Sherdog