Nate Marquardt explains failed exam
Nate Marquardt broke his silence Tuesday regarding the failed medical exam that kept him off the main event of last weekend's UFC card in Pittsburgh and led to his dismissal from the organization.
According to Marquardt's management team, the fighter, who was on hormone replacement therapy to address low testosterone levels, failed his medical tests when his testosterone levels exceeded acceptable limits.
The subject has been one of the biggest mysteries in mixed martial arts, as Marquardt was lifted from the card just 24 hours before he was set to compete. In a video posted to his Twitter account, UFC president Dana White subsequently fired the welterweight, who's fought for the organization since 2005.
In a statement released to ESPN.com, Marquardt's management team Alchemist detailed the circumstances leading to his dismissal.
Last August, the 32-year-old fighter was diagnosed with low testosterone levels after feeling "sluggish, lethargic and overtrained." According to Alchemist, Marquardt was placed on hormone replacement therapy at that time and notified the UFC of his treatment.
During the application process for his recent fight at UFC 128 in Newark, N.J., on March 19, the New Jersey athletic commission placed an indefinite suspension on Marquardt beginning immediately after the fight due to incomplete paperwork submitted for his therapeutic exemption.
"I was told the suspension would be lifted once I had been off treatment for at least eight weeks and pending approval from an endocrinologist that the HRT was necessary based off of several blood tests," Marquardt said.
According to the statement, Marquardt fulfilled the requirements laid out by the New Jersey commission and resumed treatment in early June, three weeks before the scheduled main event fight against Rick Story. Due to the timing of the fight, Marquardt underwent a more "aggressive" treatment.
"Nate's primary care physician administered treatment in an effort to get his levels to a point appropriate for someone of his age and within acceptable limits for the fight," Alchemist said.
By the week of the fight, Marquardt's testosterone levels were too high to compete. Although daily tests showed they were trending down, the levels remained above the allowed limit, explaining the failed medicals.
In addition to not being able to compete Sunday, Marquardt received an indefinite suspension by the Pennsylvania athletic commission, which would last until he could prove his testosterone levels had reached acceptable levels.
Marquardt said he reached those levels approximately 72 hours after he was scheduled to fight and his suspension should expire within the week.
"I have shared all test results with the Pennsylvania commission today and was told it appears I have satisfied all requirements to have my suspension lifted within the week," said Marquardt.
The Denver-based fighter and his management team did not address his immediate future in the statement. He was apologetic to his fans and White, who said he was "disgusted" with Marquardt during a pre-fight telecast.
Marquardt accepted full responsibility for the failed medicals, but added it was clearly unintentional.
"I have two children and a third on the way," Marquardt said. "My family was with me in Pittsburgh. I would never intentionally jeopardize my ability to provide for my family."
Marquardt has had issues with athletic commissions in the past. In 2006, the Nevada athletic commission suspended him for five months after he tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone following a unanimous decision win over Ivan Salaverry. The fighter credited that failed test to an over-the-counter supplement.
Since joining the UFC in 2005, Marquardt (31-10-2) has compiled 10 wins. He fought for the middleweight title against Anderson Silva in 2007, losing via first-round TKO. Twice in 2010, he came close to competing for the title again, but fell short in decision losses to Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami.
His fight against Story in Pittsburgh was going to be his first at 170 pounds with the organization.
New Jersey athletic commissioner Aaron Davis told ESPN.com that Marquardt fulfilled the requirements set forth by the commission when he was suspended. The further documentation was a request made by the commission doctors.
"(Marquardt's) forms were complete and his levels were up to our standards, that's why we allowed him to fight," Davis said. "He had to give us the documentation of what his doctors had been doing after. It was something our doctors required."
Brett Okamoto covers mixed martial arts for ESPN.com.