Debate grows on testosterone therapy

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Updated on December 12th, 2017
Reading Time: 2 minutes

There is a growing debate in mixed martial arts about the usage of testosterone replacement therapy.

The debate over the controversial therapy is in the spotlight this week because former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson of Temecula is fighting former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in the co-main event of UFC 157 on Saturday night at Honda Center on pay-per-view.

Dan Henderson celebrates a victory in 2011. He will fight former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in the co-main event of UFC 157 on Saturday night at Honda Center.



Henderson, 42, a two-time Olympian in wrestling who has been fighting professionally for 16 years, has had a therapeutic exemption from the commission to be on TRT for the past five years. The purpose of a medically administered TRT regimen is to allow patients with hypogonadism to maintain testosterone levels within a range that is normal for an adult male.

Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, Chael Sonnen, Shane Roller and Todd Duffee have all obtained therapeutic-use exemptions from commissions. The potential for abuse seems obvious.

"It was my doctor's recommendation basically," Henderson said. "Before I did anything, I called up the commission and made sure it is OK. This was a long time ago. They said, 'Yeah, no problem.' I would welcome random drug testing for that and for everything. I think that would really bring up the sport a lot. When people look at it, it leaves a bad taste in their mouth until the UFC really implements random drug testing."

UFC president Dana White believes there are fighters who are abusing TRT.

"I think that Testosterone Replacement Therapy has become a way to cheat," White said. "Any good thing that comes ... sports science has figured out a way for a guy whose testosterone has been going down as he gets older to bring it up to normal levels. What you are going to do is you are going to get guys that go, 'Well, if I can get this much and that brings me up to normal levels and that's great, how much is this (expletive) much going to do for me?' You know what I mean?

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Debate grows on testosterone therapy

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