Dan Henderson, a UFC fan favourite and a veteran of Pride has been vocal about his disapproval of the ban. He himself undergoes TRT prior to fighting, though his career seems to be on the decline despite this. One wonders if the new ban will affect his performances still further. Dan suggests that the exemptions are granted in the case of legitimate medical deficiencies. He thinks the UFC and NSAC have taken “the easy way out”. These sound like the words of an ageing fighter trying to hold on to any future hopes of success that he can muster.
But other experts question whether it’s fair to equate the experience of trans women—who were born biologically male—with the experience of intersex women. “These are two different populations that don’t have comparable physiologies, so we can’t extrapolate from one group to the other,” Karkazis says. Yes, some intersex runners have lost speed after medically suppressing their testosterone levels, but Karkazis thinks other factors are at play. Drugs to suppress testosterone have side effects that affect metabolism and hydration, and that could slow an athlete down. A runner’s performance may also take a hit from the psychological toll of being outed to the world as intersex. “I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being,” Semenya wrote in 2010.
2% to 5%, in my opinion, DOES still meet that criteria, and I believe it to be even larger in virilized women with DSDs. However, I don’t know that it will be enough for CAS, given how often they referred to the 10% to 12% male-female difference in their conclusion previously. So, for the reasons outlined above, I think the IAAF have some evidence of advantage, which confirms physiological theory, but I don’t know that it will be enough to clear the bar that was set by the language and phrasing used by CAS in their conclusion in 2015.