Arguably the UFC’s most controversial story of the year finally has an explanation. Former UFC middleweight contender Nate Marquardt said Tuesday on MMAFighting’s “MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani that elevated testosterone levels from hormone replacement therapy were to blame for his removal from UFC on Versus 4 and subsequent firing by UFC President Dana White.
On Saturday, Marquardt was removed from his main event slot against Rick Story, which was set to be his welterweight debut for the promotion and replaced by Charlie Brenneman, who went on to upset Story in the co-main event after Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry was promoted to headline. Withing the hour, White announced on Twitter that Marquardt would no longer be fighting for the UFC and significant speculation has since taken place regarding the reason for Marquardt’s departure.
On Tuesday, Marquardt spoke candidly about the previous week’s activities, inclusing having his license denied by Pennsylvania after his testosterone levels failed to return to normal by Saturday following a recent hormone treatment.
“I was not medically cleared because of a situation I’ve been dealing with since August,” Marquardt said. “Last year, I was feeling sluggish and my memory had gone out the window. I was irritable. I knew something was wrong. I felt like I was over-training when that wasn’t the case.”
Marquardt went on to fight Rousimar Palhares at a UFC Fight Night event in Austin, Texas in September, then challenged Yushin Okami at UFC 122 in Germany for the #1 contender position in the middleweight division in November.
Not until his fight with Dan Miller at UFC 128 in New Jersey in March did Marquardt experience any issues from an athletic commission concerning his medical license.
“I got the fight with Dan Miller in New Jersey, where I applied for a therapeutic use exemption,” said Marquardt. “They came back and said they would let me fight this fight, but they wanted to make sure that I needed the treatment. They said my doctor submitted paperwork that seemed incomplete”
With approval from the New Jersey State Athletic Commission, Marquardt was required to stop undergoing treatments for eight weeks to verify that his regular testosterone were levels were naturally low, thus requiring the medication he was taking. During this eight week window, Marquardt signed to fight Anthony Johnson at UFC on Versus 4 in Pittsburgh on June 26th.
Three weeks before the scheduled fight, Marquardt’s doctor advised he take a testosterone shot to boost his once again low testosterone levels.
Following this shot, Marquardt repeatedly took blood tests to check on his testosterone levels, with each one above the range that Pennsylvania would allow for him to fight. While his levels were decreasing, they were still not within the legal limit.
Once it was obvious that he would not pass the required blood test, the PSAC suspended Marquardt, thus not allowing him to fight the following day. Marquardt stated that a blood test he took the following day when he had been scheduled to fight was indeed within the limits for which he would have been allowed to fight. He hinted that Commissioner Greg Sirb will be lifting his suspension, as he has essentially met all requirements for him to be able to fight.
Speculation arose that the reason for Marquardt’s withdrawal was due to his weight cut to 170 pounds. That was disputed by his own camp immediately, citing a video that NBC Sports had recorded throughout the day of weigh-ins, which showed that Marquardt was already at the weight limit of 171 pounds.
Following his suspension and release from the UFC, will Marquardt abandon the new weight class before his first fights at 170?
“I’ll definitely still be at 170 pounds” Marquardt replied. “If my levels weren’t elevated in the first place, the weight cut wouldn’t have made the test higher. I just want to get past this situation right now, get off suspension, let the dust settle and go from there.”