Nate Marquardt fails medicals due to Hormone Replacement Therapy

Nate Marquardt (31-10-2) was scheduled to headline this past Sunday’s “UFC Live 4” event against Rick Story (13-4). As Joe Rogan began to announce the weigh-ins on Saturday, he first revealed there had been a change in plans, Marquardt had failed his pre-fight medicals, and would not be allowed to compete.

UFC President Dana White later confirmed the news Marquardt had failed his medicals, but also added the rather shocking news that he had subsequently been released from the UFC. He also said Marquardt needed to “man up” and explain to the fans what happened.

During today’s episode of “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani, Marquardt came clean.

Nate said he had been dealing with an issue since August of last year where he began to feel weak and lethargic. After consulting with a physician, it was decided he would go on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) which would help his body produce testosterone.

Marquardt said New Jersey gave him a therapeutic use exemption against Dan Miller for his bout in March. However, after the bout, the athletic commission wanted him to come off the medication for eight weeks and run their own tests to see if he in fact really needed the treatment. According to Marquardt, even the commission’s doctors felt he needed to be on HRT.

Because Marquardt had been off the medication for a total of 10-11 weeks, and his fight with Story was just three weeks away, he said his doctor wanted to give him a higher than normal dose to get him back where he needed to be. At this point the doctor gave him three separate testosterone injections.

We know what happened next. Come fight time, his testosterone levels were too high and he was not allowed to fight.

Marquardt’s management said his fighter’s testosterone levels would have been at a normal level by Sunday, had the commission tested him the morning of the fights. However, they are not blaming the commission and seem to be taking full responsibility for the matter.

As far as being released from the UFC, Marquardt said he was half expecting it, “I messed up. I was main event. All the responsibility is on me at that point.”

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  • Dana thinks Sonnen is being treat unfairly and cuts Marquardt right away… hmm…

  • It’s really strange. According to them everything was known, very transparent, but just didn’t meet the levels. It’s partly the doctor’s fault for giving him the elevated testosterone injections, it’s partly Nate’s fault. As far as getting fired, I’m torn… on one hand it jus doesn’t seem that serious, on the other hand the UFC probably spent a lot of money promoting Nate for the fight.

  • Yea….Sonnen didn’t screw up a main event either though…both Marquardt and Sonnen has holes in their stories IMO…

    I think Nate will fight in the UFC again…provided he not start losing to scrubs.

  • lisa webb

    @Kelvin Hunt: What holes do you think are in Marquardt’s story?

  • Rebs

    This is just a way to get him to come back under the strikeforce banner (will be run as seperate entities)-DW after UFC purchased Strikeforce”

    THen he can claim the belt that Diaz left behind and they will have a named fighter in strikeforce that fans will want to watch with the belt. Then if he continues to win he can come back to the UFC vacating the title to challenge who ever at that point has it or maybe they will try a unification match, because that day is coming when he knows he needs to produce ratings, and the only ratings beast he has is recovering from Diver Tick.

  • @Lisa

    -If they were so transparent…why was everything so last minute?

    -Why would it even get to the point where he’s having to take tests the day before and day of the weigh in’s..obviously increasing the dosage that close to the fight wasn’t smart.

    -Also..I find it odd that a top tier athlete in his prime needs HRT…trust that they are doctors in MMA just like their on doctors with NFL players that ‘prescribe’ stuff…

  • notwatchinufc

    So steroids are legal in the ufc? Same bs as Sonnen. There is a common reason for low testosterone in young athletes. Prior steroids use. I’m through with the ufc and mma in general.

  • @notwatchinufc…guess you won’t be watching the NFL, MLB, or most other major sports then…lol..PED’s are everywhere and athletes are using them.

  • Mark


    If you watched the broadcast, they explained that he was off the treatment as requested by the commission to have his blood tested. Levels were low again and he was allowed to go back but tried actual testosterone injections rather than the previous treatment (was recommended to do the injections by the doctor who was not a specialist).

    Then found out the levels weren’t dropping as quick as expected during the week before the fight. Its also believed that the weight cut (water weight) also increased the concentration in the readings. Blood is made up of blood cells and blood plasma(water) and by cutting weight the amount of circulating water in his body and blood decreases. I guess the doctors told him during the tests that cutting the water helped keep the concentration levels of the testosterone reading high as it was circulating in a lower amount of water.

    Apparently on Sunday in the morning they did another test to see, and he was in normal levels because Nate had already begun drinking fluids and eating normally again. But by that point the commission had already said he couldn’t fight because the decision was made the night before prior to the weigh ins.

    Sucks all the way around. But seems stupid by Dana to say that Nate will never fight again in UFC. The whole talk before by Dana of saying “Nate should man up and tell the world what happened” makes it sound like he was cheating or something. Christ, Thiago Alves submitted a false urine sample (horse’s piss or something like that) and tried to pass it off as his own.

    You tell me which is worse and who should never fight in UFC.

  • MIKE

    I also require hrt at the age of 29. injections need to be taken weekly to maintain a normal amount. they only last about 3 days before the levels begin to fall. when not taking them i feel extremly lethargic, but also sometimes just after taking them you get whats called a “test flu” and i myself would never risk taking it that close to a fight especially more than needed. he knew the outcome, he knew he would fail. at times i would take more than prescribed to gain extra muscle and weight (makes you put on alot of water weight) i went from 130 to 160 in about 2 mnths by doubling my script. any doctor prescribing test would know the risks, and would not give extra doses in any case because its not good for you,, can cause adrenal damage and even cancer eventually. when my doctor found i was abusing it he nearly cut my script

  • lisa webb

    Because one can’t predict the how the testosterone is going to affect the levels in your body. That is where he was not as responsible as he should have been in the situation. He admitted that there should have been more tests taken in the last 3 weeks. That is where he made a mistake. He should have been getting a blood test every few days. Also, he was under the guidance of a family physician, not an mma doctor. The tests were being reviewed by a licensed family physician. That is acceptable, however, just like he explained, he wishes he had been going to a specialist in that particular discipline. Low testosterone levels have NOTHING to with whether you are a top-tier athlete or not. It is a medial condition. For example, just because I was an athlete or I train everyday, it doesn’t affect when my body decided to go through menopause when it chooses to do so. Many men deal with this issue, but unfortunately, they are prescribed anti-depressants for their lethargy or fatigue. Also, it is very humbling for men to be told that they don’t produce enough testosterone at such a young age. Also,the last minute issue affects the weigh-ins because the body has become completely dehydrated. As you know, you body is mostly composed of water. When you are dehydrated your blood becomes thicker. That means that anything that is going to show up in your blood can be exacerbated. That is another point where he said that he was irresponsible in the situation. Even though he was not allowed to disclose how close his numbers were to being acceptable, they were very close, he stated. I assume that doesn’t mean he was showing a high level of 1500 or 2000+ if the cutoff is around 850. When he was rehydrated by morning, his level was half what it was at weigh-ins. If you understand testosterone levels, which I assume you would being a man, you would have to know that his testosterone was probably way too low by the next morning.

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  • John

    The other fighter should be able to decide whether to take the fight, as in cases where the other fighter comes in overweight. The fighter that failed the medicals should have the option to present the medical information to the other camp to decide if they want to take the fight.

  • @Mark…that was Thiago Silva..not Thiago Alves..

    @Lisa…without typing a novel to reply…that’s the thing…the things that he needed to do were pretty simple and he had time to do them…yet failing to do them is what makes me think there’s a little more to it…

    I mean I like the guy…he’s a great fighter…hope he lands somewhere and fights again…but this whole situation could have EASILY been avoided.

  • lisa webb

    Thank you Mike and Mark. It is nice to see that someone understands the situation from a medical point of view that is prevalent, but not always recognized for what it truly is… being low testosterone. I am so glad you spoke out, Mike. Also, I am sure it has been a rollercoaster ride at times trying to find the right dosage that is supposed to be accurate. It is very frustrating. It is the same thing women deal with when they can’t get their thyroid or their estrogen levels balanced. It is very depressing and the medication (oral or injections ) are almost experimental. I have a male friend that deals with low testosterone, and he is not a competitive athlete which is why I am aware of the issue.
    I do agree, based on what was mentioned above, based on what I know, that he should not have done the injections that close because they are so much more unpredictable and much more potent. That was a poor choice. Not to mention, like I said earlier, I would have had the blood tested more frequently than he did up to the weigh-ins. (He also stated as much). It seems like he was doing everything right, but maybe like most people who haven’t dealt with this situation, or know someone who has dealt with it, he was not aware of or not pushed more to get more blood screenings before the weigh-ins. He also said he regretted that as well, and that he would be seeing someone different. My friend who deals with this did a lot of research on it before he decided to take such a risky therapy. He handles this problem daily, and if he doesn’t feel good, he calls the doctor and asks to have his blood level checked.
    I remember when I first learned of this health issue, I was rather shocked and ignorant of even realizing this existed. I hope more men take the initiative to have their testosterone levels checked to make sure their levels are within normal range. I am saddened to think that men don’t realize they can deal with this situation during their life and then just simply deal with the symptoms (which are similar to depression). We women know that it is part of life when our estrogen levels or thyroid is out of whack…lol. It is just part of life for us! :) I just hoped that people would hear Nate’s explanation and see it as a serious issue rather than a cover-up or a flaw in his efforts to cheat. That is unfortunate.

  • lisa webb

    @Kelvin…I think your first remark assuming there are “holes” in his story make it appear suspect. I think you ought to read my novel (and the other guys’ comments) and understand how the testosterone ( and the lack of testosterone) can affect men’s health. Men need to be aware of this situation. All men are susceptible to this and just because Nate is a top-tier athlete, many people are going to make accusations that he is using it to up his game or there are “holes” in his story that leads one to be suspicious of his usage. If that is not what you are implying, I apologize. I am just not sure why one would say there are “holes” in his story if that is not what you were implying. Why would be negligent in explaining his health issues that cost him his career? Especially why be negligent during that interview when he had informed all the proper people involved?

  • lisa webb

    @notwatchinufc: My friend had never used any steroids prior to having to go through HRT. Therefore, I am not sure one can say that is the only reason men have this issue. I am amazed at the lack of knowledge some men have about their own body, or the amount of knowledge they think they know are factual about steroids. Research is SO important.

  • Twon

    Dana is simply showing the public he doesn’t condone the juice. He has to take that stand. His job is to put out the fires. We all know it’s BS.

  • edub

    This whole situation makes Dana look like a huge hypocrite (if the years of him going back and forth in the media didn’t do that in the first place). He fires Marquardt for messing up a mian event because of bad testosterone levels that were caused by a treatment an athletic commission already new about.

    On the other hand he publicly defends Sonnen when he has never taken responsiblity for his actions, lied to an athletic commission to try to cover his ass, and still has not participated with a commission the way Marquardt did to justify his TRT treatment.

    Definitely going to be tweeting Dana to “man up” and release Sonnen for doing the exact same thing Marguardt did.

  • Hmm…so Marquardt’s hormone levels were above the acceptable limits even after being off HRT for 10 weeks(after UFC 128 fight) according to Junkie…

    Told yall we were not getting all the info from Nate yesterday…

  • I don’t see that from Junkie’s article to be honest K. After he was off for those 10 weeks it was deemed he needed the therapy and that’s when he took 3 shots that put him over the limit. That’s how I read it anyway, unless I’m missing the point.

  • Nah…remember the part where he said they would let him fight if he was off the stuff for 10 weeks after UFC 128….then take the three tests(which New Jersey required)…so I’m taking it as 1 of those three test came back with elevated levels…which is why the NJ commission suspended him and denied his exemption for HRT and then forwarded that info to the Penn commission…so in other words…he didn’t need HRT…although his family doctor who is not a specialist said he did…

    So the Penn commission got this information WHILE Marquardt had elevated levels the days before the fight because of the three injections he family doctor gave him…he couldn’t get his testosterone levels down…so they wouldn’t clear him…

    Make sense?

  • No they weren’t elevated during the 10 weeks. He was fine. However, the doctor “gave him too much” with the 3 testosterone injections just prior to ufc live 4 and he couldn’t get the levels down by then — this is the way i understood it at least.

  • edub

    Jack, that’s exactly the way I took it too. Paired with the fact that by fight day his levels were again 1:1, that makes the most sense.

    “As ordered, Marquardt went off the TRT for eight weeks and took three blood tests to monitor his levels of the hormone. All came back within the acceptable range per the NJSACB’s guidelines on exemptions. When he sought to return to the therapy, however, he did so with his personal doctor, who is not an endocrinologist.”

    This is the statement which I think backs up my opinion the most.

  • Right, edub. The problem lies in this doctor, his methods and practices. Responsibility also of course lies with Marquardt who probably should have spoke up when the doctor wanted to give him the aggressive treatment so close to a fight. However, Nate was working with the commissions on this. But maybe they should reconsider making exemptions for this sort of medication as john and richard talked about on mma outsider. After looking at the whole situation, I really don’t think he should be fired for this reason though. Seems pretty harsh.

  • edub

    Agreed on both points. Prescribing a treatment to up testosterone levels, in a sport that requires testosterone for “beating the shit out of people”, is just insanely shady if you think about it. If you need HRT or TRT to live, good for you. If you need it to compete then IMO you simply shouldn’t be competing anymore.

    Definitely don’t think he should be fired either. Dana always talks about how he doesn’t wanna “overpunish” or “pile on” to anybody’s bad fortune. Seems to me that something like that should apply here.