In recent months, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) has become a hot topic among MMA fans. At UFC 148, Chael Sonnen will face Anderson Silva after having received TRT (and being allowed to do so this time) thanks to a Therapeutic Use Exemption. Frank Mir had a similar TUE when he faced Junior dos Santos in the UFC 146 main event, and UFC 147 main eventer Rich Franklin has recently stated his interest in obtaining a TUE.
This increase in TUE's and TRT brings up an obvious question - is there a link between low testosterone and past steroid use? UFC Interim Welterweight champion Carlos Condit certainly thinks so, as he recently said in a video interview with Gracie Mag:
I think it's a slippery slope, you know what I mean? You let guys start using testosterone and it's ... where does it end? You know what I mean? I wonder, especially for younger guys, I know Frank Mir's a little bit older and of course your testosterone levels kind of dip as you get older, but some of these younger guys, you know, guys maybe in their late twenties and thirties using testosterone replacement therapy, I wonder, I wonder why is there testosterone low in the first place? And I, my theory is they may have been using something in the past, because when you use steroids, your body, after you get off has a hard time bringing yourself up to natural levels. I don't know man. I'm not going to judge anybody, but that's just, that's not ... I got to where I am without ever ever using any performance enhancing drugs.
Related: UFC 148: Nevada Commission Votes To Allow Chael Sonnen To Use Testosterone Replacement Therapy | UFC 146 Drug Tests, TRT And Frank Mir | UFC 147: Rich Franklin Considered Using Testosterone Replacement
Condit is not along in suggesting that steroid use is causing these low testosterone levels. Recently, Bloody Elbow's Steph Daniels spoke to Dr. Johnny Benjamin, who argued that both Sonnen and Mir were former steroid users, drawing a strong rebuttal from UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
Obviously, this is a major issue that impacts MMA today, and with more TUE's being granted, and more fighters looking into them, it's not going away anytime soon. It's interesting to hear the take of a fighter like Condit, especially since he has so vocally been against any kind of performance enhancing drug use in MMA. Let's see if more fighters follow suit and begin discussing this issue publicly.
Full video of the Condit interview, plus Dr. Johnny Benjamin's comments in the full entry.
Here's the full video of Condit talking to Gracie Mag:
And here's a section of the interview with Dr. Benjamin:
Stephie Daniels: Guys that are older, that take TRT to compete on a younger level, Frank Mir is only 33. Is he really old enough to require TRT naturally?
Dr. Benjamin: Let's be honest here. How many people who never wrecked their bodies with past steroid use, naturally need TRT at 33? Less than one or two percent.
Stephie Daniels: What about a case like Chael Sonnen's, where he has stated that hypogonadism is the root of his need for a TUE?
Dr. Benjamin: Was Chael Sonnen a big time collegiate wrestler? Yes he was. I'm going to opine and say to you, there's no way in the world you get to the level of collegiate wrestling that Chael Sonnen was at, with hypogonadism. Let me explain to you why. Hypogonadism means that the testes did not produce enough testosterone for one to normally mature. He wasn't on TRT as a teenager. He became this big, muscled up monster and NCAA wrestler with hypogonadism? Hell no.
The truth of the matter is, you could never get to that level, because you're not going to have the muscle mass and strength to get you there. They're going to run you over. Your body will not allow you to develop enough muscle and strength to compete at your size. If he has hypogonadism, it's from one thing, and one thing only, because he treated himself with steroids in the past, and wrecked his testes. That's it.