Friday, December 10, 2010

The Facts: Chael Sonnen, Prolonged Anabolic Steroid Use, TRT, and Male Hypogonadism

UFC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen has become the center of an intense controversy surrounding performance enhancing drugs. Following his UFC 117 loss to Anderson Silva, Sonnen's pre-fight drug screening showed elevated testosterone levels. His excuse -- testosterone replacement therapy -- a treatment for men with abnormally low testosterone levels.

But his reasons or excuses are not the point of this posting. The purpose here is to explore the possible cause for his low testosterone levels (assuming they were "low" and that his TRT claims aren't a doctor's prescription for a steroid cycle, after all, TRT is for those with low test). First, let's start by being real -- Chael Sonnen is a top contender in a sport that requires unreal strength, sick endurance, and Arnold schwarzenegger-like power. Like other sports -- football, track and field, baseball -- that require similar physical outputs, mixed martial arts exists among a slew of sports in which steroid use is an unwritten requirement. But one of the many unfortunate realities of prolonged steroid use (or "abuse," depending on your stance) is male hypogonadism, otherwise known as ball shrinkage or shutdown. The problem occurs when the body detects a synthetic, foreign testosterone or testosterone derivative, a point which the body starts to decrease or "shut down" its production of the hormone. The results are many -- lowered sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, testicular shrinkage, and infertility -- all symptoms that translate to your girlfriend leaving you at the curb.

For a more refined explanation, we go to Google Health:

"Hypogonadism is when the sex glands produce little or no hormones. In men, these glands (gonads) are the testes; in women, they are the ovaries."


As for steroid induced ball shrinkage, Wikipedia explains:

"An example of acquired hypogonadism is the Anabolic Steroids Induced Hypogonadism (ASIH), and childhood mumps. Additionally, there is some evidence men whose mothers ingested the endocrine disruptor diethylstilbestrol for potential miscarriage may have hypogonadism."


Shutdown is common among post-cycle steroid users. Just go to any bodybuilding chat forum, or type "steroid shutdown" into any internet search engine and you're bound to come across any number of post-cycle remedies for shutdown. Testosterone replacement therapy or hormone replacement therapy is one of the common post-cycle measures that steroid users will take to help return testosterone levels back within normal range.

So what's the point?

Chael Sonnen's media maneuvering has kept us distracted, focusing on the idea that he did inform CSAC of his TRT prior to his bout against Anderson Silva. He's been successful in keeping our attention away from the question of why he even needed TRT in the first place. Realistically, there are only two legitimate reasons why Sonnen would require TRT:
  1. Chael Sonnen is experiencing a genuine case of Andropause (a.k.a. male menopause), lowered testosterone levels due to age. Although possible, at a visibly healthy and vital 33 years old, that should lead folks to suspicion.
  2. Chael has congenital hypogonadism, meaning he was born with it. But if this were the case, Sonnen would probably have a record of TRT spanning his MMA career.
As for the obvious, more logical illegitmate reasonings:
  1. It's likely that Chael Sonnen, as an attempt to get an edge in this strenuous sport, may have cycled anabolic steroids, and as a result he experienced decreased testosterone levels. In order to bring his "test" levels back within normal range, he was prescribed testosterone replacement therapy. But, then again, his post-UFC 117 test levels were above normal -- suspicous yet?
  2. This whole TRT thing is a paid off doctor's mask for an anabolic steroid cycle.
To sum it up, Chael Sonnen is either good at lying and should revisit his career in politics, or he's a legit andropausal male who might either want to add a few doses of viagara to his TRT cycle.

7 comments:

  1. correct - he has no balls

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  2. I agree with this article fully. Silva is a tough dude, and took a beating that night by an otherwise average fighter at best. I really hate the idea of steroid use in any sport and it especially angers me when I see it happening in a sport I really like and respect. I think the organizers at UFC would rather just see this little tidbit be swept under the rug, the only problem with that is it shows the fighters that, if they play their cards right and if they lie their asses off that they can get away with cheating to win. I mean the guys testosterone level was more than 4 times the acceptable level and hes only facing a 6 month suspension.... ridiculous

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  3. He may have had it earlier and not known. Im 21 and I just found out two months ago that my testosterone is low. It tested low twice two weeks apart.I may have to go on replacement therapy. I wasn't even noticing any symptoms and I compete in wrestling and mma.

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