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Was Nate Marquardt Wrongly Released by the UFC?

After a whirlwind of events this past weekend took UFC veteran Nate Marquardt from headliner status on Sunday night’s UFC on Versus 4 card to being unemployed, the longtime middleweight contender joined MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani for an interview on today’s edition of The MMA Hour. Yet while the fighter and his manager Lex McMahon both shed light on the situation, the clarity surrounding Marquardt’s release seems hazier than ever.

Speculation ran rampant this weekend as no known information was shared regarding Marquardt’s suspension and subsequent release (HIPAA laws prevented the commission and promotion from commenting publicly). And while many years have passed since his 2005 suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for testing positive for anabolic steroids (a controversy which the fighter still maintains was due to an over-the-counter supplement), the news was made that much more dramatic considering the fighter’s subsequent decision to maintain silent until today’s interview.

Citing an ongoing difficulty with hormone levels following months of testosterone replacement therapy, the fighter and his manager revealed that despite being entirely “transparent” regarding the process with the commission and the UFC, that it was a prescribed double dosage mere weeks prior to the fight which eventually led to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission’s decision to disapprove clearance for the fighter.

Despite the fighter’s apparent willingness to disclose information during the interview, his emotions overcame him at times as he held back tears on multiple occasions, somewhat vaguely citing that he knew he could have taken better precautions to ensure that such an issue hadn’t arisen. Claiming that subsequent tests over the rest of the weekend showed far reduced testosterone levels — a reflection of re-hydrating following to his pre-fight weight cut — the duo further revealed that the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission will be reconvening with the new evidence to follow up on his current suspension. Yet with all of this new information in hand, the interview was still foggy in terms of why the UFC and Dana White were so immediate in making the decision to cut the veteran.

Explaining his stance at the UFC on Versus 4 pre-fight show, White bit into the fighter over the weekend, “Bottom line is, what Nate Marquardt did is bad enough to be cut from the UFC… I’m disgusted with him. He has no business fighting in the UFC.” Though known for his history of hastily remarking on any number of situations, when adding everything up it still seems as though the whole story is not yet on the table. If Marquardt’s telling the truth, and has been since first starting his hormone treatments, then why has he been made out to be such a villain over an issue which appears largely the fault of a doctor’s prescription. Chael Sonnen’s own controversy surrounding elevated testosterone levels following last year’s bout with Anderson Silva was dealt with in a much different manner by the UFC, which suggests that there’s something else which contributed to the snap-decision for the fighter’s release. On the flip side, despite repeating that they wouldn’t share certain details (such as his actual testosterone levels) until the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission made their decision on the matter, there still seemed a sense of secrecy which the fighter appeared burdened by throughout the show.

Despite the newly released information, Nate Marquardt’s story with the UFC may still be far from over. But until more information is released the question remains: did Nate Marquardt deserve to be released considering what we now know?


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