Nate Marquardt, a long-time top contender in the UFC's Middleweight division, was cut from the promotion last year after he received a medical suspension for elevated testosterone : epitestosterone (T:E) ratios before his scheduled bout at UFC On Versus 4. In the aftermath of that fiasco, Marquardt revealed he'd been using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and had gotten a conditional therapeutic use exemption from the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board for his UFC 128 bout with Dan Miller.
It was follow up tests for New Jersey that revealed his elevated T:E ratios and forced the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission to suspend him from UFC on Versus 4. Marquardt was cut from the UFC but his next fight will be under the Zuffa banner. He'll face Tyron Woodley in a Welterweight contest for Strikeforce's vacant 170lb strap at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy in July.
Here's what Marquardt told Ariel Helwani today on the MMA Hour:
"I didn't know if I was going to be able to fulfill my dreams going that route," he said. "I just feel it was so much of a hassle and stress with the commissions and all that, I guess, that the right thing for me to do right now is to choose not to do it. And you know, definitely I've pursued a lot of other stuff to try to help my health and a lot of it's helping. I feel great right now. I'm in really good shape, and that's not something I'm worried about right now."
Ironically it was on the MMA Hour less than a year ago that Marquardt and his manager appeared and made a very strong case that Marquardt had a dangerously low level of testosterone and would require TRT going forward.
Highlights from that conversation as well as my commentary after the jump...
"Last year, in August, I was feeling sluggish, I was feeling horrible, I was uh my memory had gone out the window, I was irritable, and uh I knew something was wrong, I felt like I was over-training when that wasn't the case so... I went to my doctor and he ran a bunch of tests and basically, uh, came back and said that I had low testosterone. He recommended for me to go on Hormone Replacement Therapy and, uh, so immediately I took that information and went to the UFC and basically talked with the people there that know about that, that handle that situation, and figured out what was the plan and at that point I went on treatment. I was on treatment all the way through, uh, to the end of the year to the first of this year, uh, you know it was monitored and everything.
"So I got the fight with Dan Miller, in New Jersey. We applied for the Therapeutic Use Exemption from New Jersey. They came back and said we're going to grant you the, we're going to let you fight this fight, but um... basically we want to make sure that you need this treatment, your doctor submitted some paperwork that seemed incomplete, so we want you to do these tests after the fight, we want you want to go off treatment for 8 weeks, then we want you to take 3 blood tests, then we want an endocrinologist to review those blood tests and basically see if you need to be on treatment. So, you know, I followed all the guidelines that they told me, I went off treatment for 8 weeks, I took the 3 blood tests, uh... I, uh, you know, once the blood tests, one the results came back, the endocrinologist reviewed and wrote out a letter that basically said that, you know, I had low testosterone and that I was a candidate for Hormone Replacement Therapy and, um, and so he recommended me to go back on treatment."
Apparently Nate has now experienced a miracle cure for the dreaded low-testosterone causing syndrome hypogonadism. Either that or he's realized that whatever advantage he gained from using TRT is not worth the risk of failing another drug test.
Marquardt's explanation for failing the urine test last year was that he had gone off TRT to comply with New Jersey's testing requirements for several weeks so his doctor felt he needed a stronger dose before the fight. Here's Marquardt again:
"I went back to my doctor and, um, and he decided that I should go back on treatment, obviously, and at this point I was 3 weeks out from my fight that I was supposed to have with Rick Story. 3 weeks out and... so, he basically said that I needed to go on a more aggressive treatment because of the proximity to the fight because it was so close.
"So, again, three weeks out, um... I got the recommendation. My doctor decided to put me on a new treatment that was more aggressive because it was so close to my fight he said that it wouldn't get basically it wouldn't help me, it wouldn't make me feel better by the time of my fight unless he did a more unless agreement and, uh, so I was on the treatment for two weeks and I took a blood test and, uh, which is normal throughout the treatment you had to take blood tests to make sure you're within normal ranges and that test came back high and, at that point, my doctor said, well, you need to go off treatment and, uh, you know, let's hope your down to normal levels by your fight. And, you know, obviously that was, you know, I was pretty much panicked at that point."
Dana White was very vocal about calling Marquardt a "three time loser" when he was cut from the UFC. Marquardt had previously failed a post fight urine test after a UFC bout against Ivan Salaverry in 2005. On that occasion, Marquardt tested positive for a significant amount of nandrolone metabolite and he served a five month suspension for using steroids. Marquardt blamed over the counter supplements for the 2005 positive test.
Whatever the meaning of all this is, it doesn't make Marquardt or the TUE evaluation process look particularly credible.