Do you have some questions about UFC fighters with gyno?
In this article, we explain what gyno is, why UFC fighters get gyno, and how they can prevent it, as well as a list of UFC fighters who’ve had gyno and the potential causes behind it.
UFC Gyno: What Is It?
Gynecomastia, commonly referred to as ‘gyno’ in the UFC community, is a medical condition characterized by the enlargement of breast tissue in males. This condition can affect one or both breasts, sometimes unevenly.
It’s important to note that gynecomastia is not merely excess fat from being overweight but involves the actual growth of breast tissue.
In the context of UFC fighters, gyno is often a topic of discussion due to its visibility and how fans expect elite-level fighters to be in the best shape possible.
The condition can be caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. This imbalance can be natural, as seen during puberty, or it can be the result of external factors.
Why Do UFC Fighters Get Gyno?
UFC fighters get gyno primarily due to hormonal disruptions, caused by the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), but they can also experience gyno because of medications, natural hormonal imbalances, and extreme weight fluctuations caused by weight cutting.
Let’s take a look at each of those factors.
1. Hormonal Imbalances Due to Steroids and PEDs
Steroids and PEDs: The most common reason for the development of gyno in UFC fighters is the use of anabolic steroids and other PEDs.
These illegal substances are designed to enhance physical performance, often by increasing muscle mass and strength. However, they can significantly disrupt the body’s natural hormone balance.
Mechanism of Hormonal Disruption: When a fighter takes anabolic steroids, there is an increase in testosterone levels. The body responds to this surge by trying to maintain a hormonal balance.
One way it does this is by converting excess testosterone into estrogen through a process known as aromatization.
Estrogen and Gynecomastia: Estrogen, although typically considered a female hormone, is also present in males and plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions.
However, an elevated level of estrogen relative to testosterone can lead to the development of female characteristics, including the growth of breast tissue, which is what happens in gynecomastia.
Sensitivity to Hormonal Changes: It’s important to note that individuals vary in their sensitivity to hormonal changes.
Some UFC fighters might develop gyno with only a slight increase in estrogen levels, while others may not experience any such effects despite significant hormonal fluctuations.
Other Contributing Factors: While steroids and PEDs are the primary cause, other factors like natural hormonal imbalances, extreme weight fluctuations, and certain medications can also contribute to the development of gynecomastia in UFC fighters.
2. Medications That Can Cause Gyno
Several medications have been linked to the development of gynecomastia. Among these, the following are more likely to be relevant to UFC fighters:
- Anti-Anxiety Medications: Some medications used for anxiety and stress management can lead to hormonal changes that might cause gynecomastia.
- Antibiotics: Certain antibiotics have been associated with hormonal imbalances, although this is relatively rare.
- Ulcer Medications: Medications used to treat ulcers and gastrointestinal issues can sometimes affect hormone levels.
- Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been linked to gynecomastia, though this is not common.
- Heart Medications: Certain heart medications can alter hormone levels, potentially leading to gynecomastia.
Note: While these medications can cause gynecomastia, their use among UFC fighters isn’t necessarily widespread or directly linked to the condition in many cases. Often, these may be used as excuses by fighters when explaining their gyno.
3. Natural Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal fluctuations are a natural part of life, and certain life stages or health conditions can lead to imbalances.
For instance, conditions like hypogonadism (low testosterone) can lead to increased estrogen levels, potentially causing gynecomastia.
However, such natural imbalances are less likely to be the primary cause of gynecomastia in UFC fighters, given their typically robust physical condition, clean diets, and rigorous training.
4. Extreme Weight Fluctuations
UFC fighters often undergo significant weight cuts or gains as part of their training and competition preparation. These rapid changes can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance.
For example, rapid weight loss can lead to a temporary increase in estrogen levels. However, the likelihood of this leading to gynecomastia is generally low, especially in the absence of other contributing factors like steroid use.
In summary, while there are several potential causes of gynecomastia in UFC fighters, the likelihood of natural hormonal imbalances, extreme weight fluctuations, or the use of certain medications being the cause is relatively low compared to the impact of steroids and PEDs.
Many of the UFC fighters with gyno will use the low-chance factors as an excuse to not expose their steroid or PED use.
UFC Fighters With Gyno
The following UFC fighters have had gyno at one point or another:
- Israel Adesanya
- Nasrat Haqparast
- Georges St-Pierre
- Rashad Evans
- T.J. Dillashaw
- Corey Anderson
- Jon Jones
- Josh Emmett
The topic of gynecomastia in the UFC gained significant attention primarily due to Israel Adesanya, a prominent figure in the sport known for his striking skills, lean physique, and now gyno.
Adesanya’s case is particularly intriguing because he doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of a PED user, often characterized by a highly muscular build.
Despite this, Adesanya has displayed gynecomastia in his right pectoral muscle, which he attributed to smoking marijuana.
Georges St-Pierre, widely regarded as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, has also been part of the gynecomastia discussion.
It has been noted that GSP showed concern over his gynecomastia, reportedly squeezing his nipples before removing his shirt, possibly to make the condition less noticeable. Rashad Evans would do the same.
T.J. Dillashaw, a former UFC bantamweight champion, has a history of PED use, having been suspended for EPO (Erythropoietin) use.
Dillashaw’s past with PEDs lends credence to the possibility that his gynecomastia could be linked to steroid or PED use.
How UFC Fighters Prevent Gyno
There are a few strategies that UFC fighters use to prevent gynecomastia. They are:
1. Use of Anti-Estrogens and Aromatase Inhibitors
- Anti-Estrogens: Drugs like tamoxifen are used to block the effects of estrogen in the body. They are often employed by athletes who are using steroids that can convert to estrogen.
- Aromatase Inhibitors: These drugs, such as anastrozole, inhibit the enzyme aromatase, which converts androgens into estrogen. They’re crucial for managing estrogen levels in athletes using testosterone or other androgens.
2. Careful Steroid Selection
Some steroids are more likely to cause gynecomastia due to their propensity to convert into estrogen. Athletes might choose steroids with a lower risk of estrogenic side effects.
For example, steroids like trenbolone, nandrolone, Dianabol (methandrostenolone), and Anadrol (oxymetholone) are known for their potent anabolic effects but also carry a higher risk of causing gynecomastia.
3. Balanced Steroid Cycles
Athletes might plan their steroid cycles carefully to minimize side effects. This includes using lower doses, shorter cycles, or combining steroids with other drugs that mitigate side effects.
4. Regular Monitoring
Regular blood tests to monitor hormone levels can be crucial for athletes using PEDs. This helps in adjusting the dosages of both the PEDs and any accompanying medications to prevent estrogen levels from rising too high.