Healthy Dennis Hallman Ready for Brian Ebersole, Responds to “Ignorant” HRT Critics
By Kelsey Mowatt
When Dennis Hallman signed the dotted line to face fellow veteran Brian Ebersole at this Saturday’s UFC 133 card, the accomplished welterweight likely never imagined that he would be front and center in the ongoing debate regarding hormone replacement therapy as fight day approaches. Of course, due to the fact that Hallman credits HRT for alleviating his symptoms from Celiac Disease and turning him into a completely new fighter, it’s another fight the 35 year-old is willing to take.
Since Nate Marquardt cited HRT as the causal factor behind the medical suspension that prevented him from fighting at the June 26th, UFC Live on Versus 4 card, some observers have been vocal arguing that the treatments are a form of cheating or required as a result of prior steroid abuse.
“Those comments are ignorant statements from people who hear something, maybe from a media source or a little clip of something, and then form an opinion without doing any research or being educated,” Hallman told FCF, while discussing the ongoing debate surrounding HRT in MMA.
Hallman reports that for nearly his entire career he felt fatigued constantly, before it was finally determined last year that he was allergic to wheat. As a result of his symptoms, his body wasn’t producing enough testosterone and other hormones to help him recover from the rigours of training and fighting.
“People that are on HRT know that it’s a very complicated process,” said Hallman. “I have to get tested every six to eight weeks, all the time, for the rest of my life, so that my levels are where they need to be.”
“Medical issues are personal,” Hallman added. “I don’t have a problem talking about it because I don’t care what people think, I don’t form my persona based on how people view me. But for people to say testosterone therapy should be banned no matter what’s wrong with you, well, I can’t help the fact that I’m allergic to wheat, didn’t know for 34 years and damaged my intestines to the point where I’m not producing testosterone and all sorts of things in my body…Does this mean because of my illness I shouldn’t be able to fight?”
Not only is Hallman (50-13-2) feeling much healthier these days due to HRT, the experienced vet is coming off victories over Ben Saunders and Karo Parisyan in his last two Octagon outings, to rebound from his stoppage loss to John Howard in December, 2009. A win over another established vet like Ebersole at UFC 133, would only heighten the attention Hallman has been receiving due to his recent success.
“Being on the main card always means that they want to market the winner,” said Hallman, whose last run in the UFC ended in 2004. “I have to seize the moment, seize the opportunity and perform at a high level.”
“I’m not looking past him at all, but if you win three in a row, and you’re on the main card, then hopefully a high ranking guy is next,” Hallman added. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in that kind of position so that’s really important to me.”
In Ebersole (47-14-1), Hallman will face one of the welterweight division’s more experienced fighters, who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Chris Lytle at UFC 127 in February. The 30 year-old-veteran is riding an eight fight win streak.
“I see me being able to control the position and the pace of the fight,” Hallman said while discussing how he sees his bout with Ebersole unfolding. “That’s what I’m looking to do, and if I can impose my will on him then I’ll be victorious. Obviously I’m here because I believe that’s something I can do and I believe that’s what will happen.”
UFC 133 will take place Saturday, August 6th and will be hosted by Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.