Former Pride and Strikeforce champ Dan Henderson has been fighting for the UFC on and off since the late 1990's. He's had a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to use testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) since 2007. Tomorrow at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson 2 he'll get to use it for the last time. The end of Hendo's TRT TUE comes following the Nevada State Athletic Commission's (NSAC) decision to ban TRT which the Brazilian Commission and the UFC have signed off on.
Inside MMA confirmed this was the case on March 14:
Dan Henderson was approved of his TRT exemption before the ban came down.— Inside MMA (@InsideMMAaxstv) March 15, 2014
TRT has been good to Henderson. He scored a dramatic KO upset win over long-time Pride Middleweight (~205lbs) champion Wanderlei Silva to take the title at Pride 33. In the six years he was on TRT, Hendo amassed a record of 8-6 with three losses in his last three fights.
He talked to ESPN's Brett Okamoto in 2011 about his TRT diagnosis and use:
"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]. 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 Henderson's understanding of the treatment, a patient of TRT typically never exceeds "normal" testosterone levels, as was the case with Marquardt in Pennsylvania.
Although he's not officially required to monitor his testosterone levels when not in competition, Henderson says he does to regularly as a precaution.
"I always do it on my own just to cover my own a--," Henderson said.
Henderson did say, however, a little more monitoring from commissions in between fights might discourage the few fighters who have been cleared to use TRT from abusing it.
Even though Henderson monitors his own levels, never, he says, has the commission randomly tested him away from a fight.
"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."
Henderson compared the TRT ban to banning insulin for diabetics in an interview with MMA Fighting:
"Are they going to ban insulin for diabetics and other prescribed medications that get people into normal ranges?" Henderson said to MMAFighting.com. "Seems like they could have easily implemented random drug testing.
"I just think that they took the easy way out," he said. "Instead of trying to get rid of the bigger problem of PEDs, they banned the drugs they had already approved for athletes with chronically low testosterone levels.
"I would love for them to do better. Random, no advance notice drug testing."
Henderson's use of TRT has never been controversial with fans and MMA media, unlike UFC Middleweight contender Vitor Belfort, whose hopes of using TRT for a UFC 173 title fight in Las Vegas (and a potentially failed drug test) precipitated the NSAC ban. Belfort pulled out of that fight following the NSAC's decision, and since he hadn't actually applied for a license to fight in Nevada, only he can reveal the results of the drug test he took.