TRT strikes again. Nate Marquardt and his manager, Lex McMahon, revealed on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani today that high testosterone levels on the day of weigh-ins were the reason the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission removed Nate Marquardt from the main event of UFC on Versus 4. As the commission already noted, Marquardt disclosed the issue several weeks out from fight time and requested a therapeutic use exemption. He would have been granted the exemption, but his testosterone had to be within the normal range on the day of the weigh-ins. Marquardt explained that his level was only slightly above the ceiling the day of weigh-ins and was well within normal range on fight day, but since he didn’t meet the commission’s requirement by the deadline, he was unable to get clearance to fight.
To make a long story short, Marquardt began Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) last August, at his primary doctor’s recommendation, when he first noticed a change in his health. He claims he disclosed for all his subsequent fights and did meet all the necessary requirements to fight at UFC Fight Night 22 in Texas, UFC 122 in Germany and UFC 128 in New Jersey, although issues did arise in New Jersey. Marquardt stated that the New Jersey commission wasn’t initially satisfied with the paperwork his doctor submitted, but he was eventually approved for the use exemption and fought. Maruqardt was off the therapy for several weeks after UFC 128, but his health started to deteriorate again during his UFC on Versus 4 training camp, so he went back on the therapy which consisted of three injections over a span of two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, a blood test revealed that Nate’s testosterone levels were too high, so he immediately stopped the therapy two weeks out from the fight. His levels continuously dropped each day, but didn’t fall within range by the deadline. Marquardt explained that his need for the therapy had nothing to do with his weight loss, however, one of the doctor’s at the venue did tell him that more extreme weight cut did result in a higher testosterone concentration due to the added dehydration he was experiencing in his attempt to make the 170 lbs. weight limit. Marquardt was unable to release the exact numbers due to his pending suspension with the PSAC, but his manager did state that once he was re-hydrated the morning of the fight, his testosterone levels had fallen by “more than half” and well within the required range.
Marquardt is unsure what caused his low testosterone condition, but did mention that he took over-the-counter Andro supplements (which are now illegal) for several years earlier in his career before he was made aware that they were a banned substance. Marquardt doesn’t know if that’s what caused his condition, but said he never would have taken them and put his health in jeopardy if he knew they were dangerous.
As of now, Marquardt is still under suspension with the PSAC, but now that he has met their requirements, the commission is expected to meet later this week to decide if they will lift the suspension.
Both Marquardt and McMahon are unsure if the UFC will ever have him back at this point, but that is certainly what they are hoping for, despite a great interest from a number of other promotions in signing Nate. Marquardt came across as very open, honest and remorseful in the interview and even came to tears on a few occasions. He took full responsibility for the situation and didn’t try to make excuses.
It remains to be seen if Dana White will reconsider Marquardt’s permanent firing from the UFC now that he has “manned up,” but it does seem unfair to fire Nate for his testosterone issues when he properly disclosed his condition with the UFC and the PSAC six weeks out from the fight while Chael Sonnen is allowed to keep his job after failing to properly disclose his condition with the CSAC. I don’t know if Nate would have slipped it by the commission at least long enough to get past weigh-ins and get in the cage Sunday night if he didn’t disclose, but permanently firing him for attempting to follow the right protocols, yet coming up short doesn’t exactly send the right message to the fighters. Looking at these two cases, at least on the surface, asking for forgiveness resulted in a better standing with Dana White and the UFC for Sonnen than asking permission did for Marquardt.
Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog
Update: MMA Fighting’s Mike Chiappetta has a more detailed account of Marquardt’s interview if you’re so inclined.
On another note, Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren has already called Nate out.
Update: MMA Junkie has more details on the issues Nate Marquardt encountered with the NJACB earlier this year at UFC 128. It’s all very confusing, but the gist of it is the NJACB allowed Marquardt to fight provided that he take blood tests before and after the fight and fell within the normal range. Well, it turns out he didn’t pass one of the tests following the fight and the NJACB denied his use exemption after he had already fought.
More than a month before he fought Dan Miller at UFC 128, Nate Marquardt went to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board and applied for a therapeutic use exemption to be allowed to continue prescribed testosterone as recommended by his personal doctor.
Marquardt received approval from the commission overseeing the pay-per-view event, but only on the condition that he submit to a series of tests both before and after the fight that would ensure his hormone levels were within a range accepted by the commission’s rules. After the fight, he was placed on an indefinite suspension to ensure he continued to meet the requirements.
When one of those tests came back beyond the commission’s acceptable limits for the hormone, the NJSACB denied Marquardt’s application for an exemption. As it happened, the denial arrived the day before the weigh-ins for his next fight, a headlining bout opposite Rick Story at UFC on Versus 4.
“This exemption denial along with the test results were then immediately forwarded to the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission for their review and analysis,” NJSACB legal counsel Nick Lembo today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
If you’re wondering why they allowed him to fight in the first place, you’re not the only one. All New Jersey’s Nick Lembo would say is they issued him a license “because he was going through the process.” It’s unknown if the denial, which was learned of the day before the UFC on Versus 4 weigh-ins, factored into the PSAC’s decision to pull Marquardt from the card.
I also recommend reading Dave Meltzer’s report on the situation which includes some interesting quotes from the NSAC’s Keith Kizer on TRT. I wish I could lay this all out better for you, but after reading all the new reports, I’m suddenly confused about the chronology of the events starting with UFC 128. There’s either some conflicting details or I’m not smart enough to connect the dots. Either way, it’s not clicking for me.
As for Dana White, the only comment he’s had on the story today is the following response on Twitter to someone telling him he needs to give Nate a second chance.