Dennis Hallman – fighting hair-arrow dude Brian Ebersole this weekend at UFC 133 – is another UFC fighter getting TRT. He explains his situation, perhaps in the hope that he’ll get a public pass like Dan Henderson rather than a flaming fail like Nate Marquardt:

“People say ‘This guy got busted for steroid, he’s not going to be able to produce his own testosterone now.’ We have another steroid called cortisol. People go into the doctor all the time to get cortisone shots. You think that their body stops producing cortisol because they got a cortisone shot? Obviously not. It only takes a simple guy and a simple analogy to figure that out.”

Hallman credits Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) with his career resurgence. He was diagnosed with Celiac Disease last year and the HRT treatment has made it possible for him to train harder and better than ever before. His body, he explains, didn’t have the correct amount of cortisol, which is what feeds your adrenal gland. It made training next to impossible. He just couldn’t recover quickly enough to reach his maximum potential. Some are skeptical, after all Hallman did fail a 2007 drug test after a Strikeforce fight, popping hot for Drostanolone and Nandrolone. He contends, however, that he’s found a legal and ethical way to beat the same issues in his body, the kind of issues that might drive a fighter to try illegal steroids.

“My body doesn’t produce its own testosterone or cortisol, several hormones. Testosterone is just one of them. So I’m on HRT right now,” Hallman said. “There’s a difference between being on it and abusing it. I take 75 milligrams a week of testosterone. Taking 75 milligrams a week, it’s not going to take your level, even if you have normal levels of testosterone, over the limit anyway. That’s my situation with HRT. I have to have it to keep my levels from dropping dangerously low. If that happens I would be at risk for diseases like osteoporosis.”

I don’t get Hallman’s cortisol example. Just because cortisol shots may not effect future production of cortisol, it doesn’t mean that years of ‘unauthorized hormone replacement therapy’ (aka juicing with various stacks o’ steroids) couldn’t throw your hormone production into disarray. It’s a well known medical fact that steroids do this – something a simple analogy about cortisol doesn’t clear in my mind.

Now I’m not a doctor (even though I perform andrological experiments on myself most nights) so I can’t say anything about Celiac disease. It’s perfectly possible that past steroid use didn’t cause it. There’s also science that backs up our old pal Nate Marquardt’s assessment that hormone production can get messed up by concussions, which would certainly explain why so many MMA fighters seem to be needing this stuff lately.

It’s all so murky, which is why we need smart people in lab coats overseeing this stuff. Until then though, us bloggers just have to keep harping on all examples until regulation is good enough that we don’t just have to trust fighters on their word that their usage is legit.