Dr. Benjamin's controversial comments on Mir, Sonnen, Diaz, and Overeem

by Steph Daniels | source: bloodyelbow.com

Stephie Daniels conducted a extensive interview with Dr. Johnny Benjamin on PEDs and safety in mixed martial arts. Dr. Benjamin offered point-blank, even incendiary responses on Chael Sonnen, Alistair Overeem, the NSAC, and others.

Excerpts appear below:

Stephie Daniels: Frank Mir is only 33. Is he really old enough to require TRT naturally?

Dr. Johnny 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?

DJB: 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.

Stephie Daniels: What are your thoughts on Alistair Overeem?

DJB: The one thing that I always harp about, and it always ends up making me eat humble pie, is that you can't look at a person and tell if they're on steroids, but with him, you could look at him and say something funny.

Stephie Daniels: Do you feel that marijuana is a PED?

DJB: Not at all. I don't smoke, I don't grow, I don't sell, I don't do any of that, but it's clearly not a PED, unless you're in a pie eating contest.

Stephie Daniels: Do you feel that Nick Diaz' punishment was a little harsh?

DJB: Nick Diaz got thrown under the bus. I mean, his punishment was harsh, but his lawyers didn't do him any favors either. Between Nick and his lawyer, they did a terrible job [laughs]. If you try to go in there and try to show them up and show how their system is screwed up, yeah, that's not likely to go over very well.

Read entire interview...
Read part I of the interview...

Dr. Benjamin has a history of controversial essays.

In 2008 he questioned Pat Miletich fighting Thomas Denny, noting of himself that he is "a pretty fair, fellowship-trained spine surgeon." Benjamin asked rhetorically "Isn't this the same Pat Miletich who retired because of a serious neck injury – then underwent surgery to address a herniated disk in his neck? Same guy, right?" He then went on to say Miletich's "safety is very open for debate."

The problem is that Pat Miletich had not, in fact, undergone surgery.

As Miletich reported via Twitter, the column cost him $4,000.

@DrJCBenjamin wrote I shouldn't fight after neck surgery. Thr was no surgery n cost me 4k 4 extra tests 2 fight.

Miletich knocked Denny out early in the 2nd round.

His 2009 remarks that women should not fight five-round championship fights due to the dangers of fatigue struck many as lurching somewhere between paternalistic and ludicrous.

In 2010 he accused the UFC and ProElite of 'promotional lynching' for putting Kimbo Slice in the limelight. Given that the 'lynching' made Slice a millionaire (his TapouT contract alone was 50k/month) and that actual lynching kills people, the word choice was profoundly unfortunate.

In 2011 Dr. Benjamin said UFC marketing appeals to racism.

Part of the popularity of the UFC seems to be related to the domination of the white male wrestler.  I think it may be seen as one of the last sporting bastions of white male superiority.

Simply put.  The UFC/MMA ,in large part, appeals to a young, white male demographic because young, white males are very good at it.  They can cheer for their own, drink with their own and feel good about it when their guy wins.

Do I think that the UFC and/or Dana White are racists?

Nope...not at all.

Does Dana understand his fan base (for better or worse) and markets to them like any successful businessperson...even if it appeals a deep-seated human deficiency?

Yes sir!

Now in 2012, Dr. Benjamin has directly implied Frank Mir wrecked his body with past steroid abuse.

"How many people who never wrecked their bodies with past steroid use, naturally need TRT at 33? Less than one or two percent," he wrote of Mir. However, setting aside the growing evidence of  a tie between head trauma and low testosterone levels, given that far less than 1% of the 15,000 registered fighters in the sport have received a TUE (the number is close to .1%) the remarks by a respected MD seem ill-thought through and unfair, even reckless.

Dr. Johnny Benjamin's focus on MMA is generally informed, useful, and widely appreciated, but at times the straight shooting edges into something else, and that serves no one.


tags: UFC   Chael Sonnen (detail)  Nick Diaz (detail)  Alistair Overeem (detail)  Frank Mir (detail)  


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Recent Comments »

SmackyBear site profile image  

6/29/12 11:22 PM by SmackyBear

You can't possibly be this obtuse. You didn't remember what was said, constantly misquoted it and heard it misquoted. That reinforced your erroneous belief. Now that you've seen what was actually said, your ego won't let you admit you were wrong, so you're interpreting the original statement so it means exactly what you thought he originally said. There's no debating this when direct evidence isn't proof to you.And none of this is a smokescreen. I made a post about how the doctor is constantly making misstatements on the subject of TRT, doping and T:E ratios, and he shouldn't be interviewed on things like this.You asked why, and said everything in the interview was correct, even though I was making a larger point about his ignorance, and not just talking about the interview.Then I pointed out that even in just this interview, he spread false information about hypogonadism, and for some reason I don't understand you kept trying to defend him even though he's clearly wrong about the definition of hypogonadism, by making claims that the doctor never actually made.My overall point, was that the doctor knows nothing of substance on the issue of doping and endocrinology. I provided studies published in respected sources that completely contradict information he presented as medical fact.

bhealthy site profile image  

6/29/12 7:37 PM by bhealthy


bhealthy site profile image  

6/29/12 7:36 PM by bhealthy

^^^^are you saying that subject 'C' is NOT a young mr. sonnen??

UGCTT_LnPninja site profile image  

6/29/12 3:18 PM by UGCTT_LnPninja

 ^^^^^^^ Do you think those people could compete at a National level in wrestling?

UGCTT_LnPninja site profile image  

6/29/12 3:17 PM by UGCTT_LnPninja

It can certainly be froma very young age. Even IF we say Chael's claim was that he didn't go through puberty until early adulthood, that would still mean that he wrerstled in HS and college without ever going through puberty.  As graphic as it is, here is how young people who REALLY "never went through puberty" look:  

MattyECB site profile image  

6/29/12 2:59 PM by MattyECB

I feel like Chael just spoke half-assedly when he said he never went through puberty - wasn't he also making a ton of testicle jokes to smoke bomb around the same time? I personally think the whole thing is an excuse, but until he's interviewed and really held to the fire to get some straight answers, I don't really consider myself even remotely aware of his condition.

MattyECB site profile image  

6/29/12 2:57 PM by MattyECB

Edited for retardation

MattyECB site profile image  

6/29/12 2:55 PM by MattyECB

How the fuck does no one know that concussions are a major cause of testosterone drops. Sherdog, which is an abortion of a site as far as I'm concerned, actually ran a great article on it rt when Chael first got busted. Theres a ton of medical evidence and it's a rising concern. Hypo gonadism also doesn't necessarily occur from birth unless I"m mistaken so this doctor is a pretty big fuck to claim these things so adamantly and without any admission of grey area

bhealthy site profile image  

6/29/12 2:51 PM by bhealthy

Frankenphael is definitely the UFC-brand's Ivan Drago at this point, but he is NOT the only one.

HexRei site profile image  

6/29/12 1:01 PM by HexRei

You mean the video where he says "i don't want them to say why are you on testosterone, and I have to relive my youth and not going through puberty and being teased". Um, ya. He said he didn't go through puberty, and is directly linking it to his current reasons for needing testosterone therapy. But bottomline, this is just fucking smokescreening. What the doctor was talking about is the fact that Chael could not have accomplished all these athletic achievements if he had hypogonadism for his whole life. Once again, stop nitpicking Dr Benjamin's statement. He was right about Chael.