With testosterone replacement therapy quickly becoming one of the hottest issues in mixed martial arts, it's no surprise that it was a main topic of conversation when Dr. Johnny Benjamin, a frequent contributor to MMA Junkie, did an interview with Bloody Elbow's Stephie Daniels.
When asked if a fighter like Frank Mir, a 33-year-old former UFC heavyweight champion, could require TRT due to natural circumstances, Benjamin got straight to the point with his answer:
"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."
Shortly after Mir's UFC 146 loss to reigning heavyweight title-holder Junior dos Santos, it was revealed that the challenger used TRT for the bout.
Also worth mentioning is that Mir passed all of the drug tests issued by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the event.
Inevitably, Daniels than asked Benjamin, a member of the Association of Boxing Commissions MMA Medical Advisory Panel, about Chael Sonnen's claim that he uses TRT due to hypogonadism.
Benjamin briefly explains what hypogonadism is and why he does not believe that Sonnen actually suffers from the condition, instead rationalizing that Sonnen needs TRT from steroid use in the past.
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.
Benjamin furthers his argument by stating that steroid use typically damages hormone-producing glands for life.
That's the thing that people don't appreciate. If you use steroids, it can harm your testes in a fashion that's permanent. When these guys use steroids to compete, guess what? They're more than likely going to need steroids for the rest of their lives just to be normal, because now they've destroyed or significantly injured their hormone producing glands, your testes, and they're never going to work correctly again.
Fans and analysts alike have questioned the legitimacy of Sonnen's TRT use after he tested positive for an elevated testosterone to epitestosterone ratio of 16.9 to 1 after his UFC 117 middleweight title fight with Anderson Silva.
Mir's TRT use is also interesting given that JDS's original UFC 146 opponent, Alistair Overeem, was pulled from the bout and subsequently suspended by the NSAC for a 14 to 1 T/E ratio.
UPDATE: Fellow Bleacher Report MMA Featured Columnist Matt Roth points out that Dr. Benjamin's opinion has been disputed by professional fighters in the past.