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The big transcript: Nate Marquardt’s interview with Ariel Helwani

By Zach Arnold | June 30, 2011

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The following is a transcript of the first 36 minutes of last Tuesday’s interview that Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com conducted with Nate Marquardt and his manager, Lex McMahon. The first 36 minutes of the interview cover all of the pertinent medical issues at stake. You can listen to the full hour-long interview by clicking right here.

If this transcript is used for legal purposes, it is highly recommended that the text of this transcript be double-checked for 100% accuracy. Any minor errors done in this transcript should be alerted to me for correction.

ARIEL HELWANI: “Obviously, like I said, it’s been a very tough stretch for you and I think because we haven’t heard from you, let’s work backwards and let’s ask the question that everyone wants to know right off the top. Why weren’t you medically cleared to fight?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “I was not medically cleared to fight because of the situation that basically I’ve been dealing with since August of last year. 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 and… 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. At that point, 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.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Who’s he?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “My doctor.”

LEX MCMAHON: “His primary care physician. He had two doctors that recommended that Nate resume or begin HRT, one was an endocrinologist which he was required to go and see by the New Jersey ACB. The second doctor was his primary care physician who had been involved in the treatment process from the onset, he was the one that initiated it and then once the endocrinologist had recommended it, he supported that recommendation and initiated treatment.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “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.”

LEX MARQUARDT: “But it’s important to note that as soon as Nate was recommended to come off treatment, he did come off treatment and did not take any subsequent treatment even to this day and that will be important as he kind of lays out the chronology of the levels where they were at a high point and as they decreased up until our most recent announcement when we found last night (for testing).”

NATE MARQUARDT: “So, yeah, I mean, you know… we knew that I had to be within range and, uh, you know, obviously I should have requested a testing earlier, you know, but that’s one of the biggest mistakes I made was not, not, you know, requesting blood tests earlier from my doctor. So, when we took the blood test after two weeks of treatment, it was high, so the week of the fight, uh, I requested several tests. Each test showed that the levels were going down and the last test or not the last test but I took a test on weigh-in day and it was still above the range that the athletic commission was going to let me fight…”

LEX MCMAHON: “But in close proximity and had been trending down significantly throughout the week.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Okay.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “And obviously, you know, I wasn’t at that point I was told that I didn’t get to fight and that, um, you know, that I was put on suspension. The day of the fight, uh, I woke up, went and took another test, uh, that test came back well within ranges, um, as I did another test yesterday with one of the doctors from the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission. I did another test with him and it had gone down even more, so… and, uh… you know, I mean, uh… ”

LEX MCMAHON: “What’s important to note is that throughout this process, it’s not like Nate did something and didn’t communicate. It’s actually exactly the opposite. Throughout the process, Nate was aware of what his requirements here, he proactively communicated to the appropriate, uh, bodies what he was doing, you know, before he was asked for test data where he was in terms of meeting the compliance with the New Jersey ACB, we were providing information to those bodies. So, Nate was hiding nothing. This is a young man that made every effort to comply. He got caught in a difficult situation in terms of the timing and a new treatment being suggested by his health care provider. When he found out that the tests were high after that point, we ran out of time. And it’s very unfortunate.”

Indefinite suspension lifted?

NATE MARQUARDT: “And we talked to Greg Sirb, who’s the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission. He basically said at this point it looks like I’ve met all requirements for my suspension to be lifted.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “You talked to him (Monday)?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “(Tuesday).”

LEX MCMAHON: “We’ve spoken with him throughout this process.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Right. So, you talked to him on (Tuesday) and he said that you have met the requirements because your levels are now within that range that’s acceptable to fight?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Correct.”

LEX MCMAHON: “And what I think is really significant, Ariel, is to understand the time frame that we’re talking about here. Saturday, this past Saturday…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Right.”

LEX MCMAHON: “Nate was notified that he would be placed under suspension… Just over 72 hours later, he’s told that it appears that he’s met all of the requirements to be removed from suspension. The, uh… that actually occurred prior to us getting the actual notification in written format from the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission. So, that’s how fast this has moved. If he were hiding something, if there was anything untoward going on here, there’s no way that the commission would be making that statement.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So, as of right now, you are no longer suspended?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Well, the, we talked to Greg Sirb and said that’s what it looks like, they’re going to have a board meeting sometime this week with the doctors and whoever else (on) the athletic commission and they’re going to rule and he said at this point that’s what it appears.”

When the TRT program started

ARIEL HELWANI: “Now, there’s obviously a lot to digest here and the casual MMA fan might not know what a lot of these things mean. So, I just want to now take a step back and start, you say that this started in August, correct, of last year?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Correct, yes.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Why did you have low testosterone? I hear about this a lot in sports, obviously, why did your doctor say that your testosterone was low and that you needed to go and do this treatment?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Well, first, I had the symptoms and…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “You were sluggish?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Sluggish and memory and irritable and all that stuff. ‘Why’ is, you know, one of the questions I wanted an answer to because I want to fix it and so we did all kinds of other tests, back to last year, all the way through this year. We did an MRI, a brain scan to make sure my pituitary was functioning correctly or at least like wasn’t traumatized from a concussion or something, that I didn’t have a tumor. We’ve, uh, you know, we’ve ran all kind of blood tests to see to make sure my other hormones are working correctly, uh, and um, you know, we’ve ran tests to see if I have Mono. The endocrinologist I saw, uh, told me it could be a Mono-like virus that’s causing this that could run its course and, you know, so that’s why one of the reasons, you know, I Need to go back to him a couple of times a year and see if, you know, if there’s something that I can go off treatment, basically.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So, as of right now, you do not know exactly why, you don’t know if it’s because you are a fighter and, like you said, I know James Toney had a situation where they said his pituitary gland was messed up and he had to go on it, but there have been fighters who have tested for high testosterone and we don’t really know why do they do. Is that something that you did yourself earlier in your life? You know, guys who have not… have been suspended, who have not been (licensed) because of their testosterone levels being too high. But we don’t know why this happens? Why does this happen to a person? Because…”

NATE MARQUARDT: “You’re saying, why do you have low testosterone?”

ARIEL HELWANI: “How does it happen?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “It can be any number of things. It can be genetic. It can be, um, like I said, you might, maybe you have something wrong with your testicles, you can have something wrong with your pituitary, you can have something wrong there’s even something before your pituitary gland that tells your pituitary to make the LH, which tells your testicles to produce testosterone.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Okay. Yeah, I know.”

LEX MCMAHON: “Nate’s not a doctor.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Exactly!”

LEX MCMAHON: “It’s not his responsibility to know why, it’s his responsibility to understand, hey, I’m not feeling right…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Right.”

LEX MCMAHON: “I need to go communicate that to my doctor, who is a trained health care provider, and trust them with suggesting the proper protocol. If that protocol is something that is… will have an impact on my profession as a professional fighter, I need to communicate that to those who are in power, responsible for knowing, the commissions, the promotion, and Nate did that.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “I went to the UFC and the commissions the whole process. But like I said, you know, it’s not my job, I’m not a doctor, but at the same time I have to take responsibility for, you know, I was the one fighting, I’m the one holding together a card, I’m the one on the main event, my doctor wasn’t fighting. I’m the one fighting and… I messed up. There’s things that I should have done that, you know, that I had oversight over and for whatever reason… I have to take responsibility for it, you know.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Absolutely.”

LEX MCMAHON: “Here’s the thing… Nate acknowledges that while there was a medical situation, he was addressing that situation, he was communicating everything the way he should be. At the end of the day, as he just articulated, it’s his responsibility to understand that he has a different level of responsibility to communicate to the promotion, to the commission, to take, uh, responsibility for his own actions and health care. So, he does have a doctor who’s trained and supposed to be providing for him, but for instance, we’ve gone back and looked at this, Nate could have suggested to his doctor, hey, I’ve got a fight coming up, let’s not wait two weeks, we just resumed treatment, please test me immediately and I think that’s part of where the problems occur. You know, and Nate and our camp take full responsibility for that. At no point, I mean this is a good young man, he is one of the best fighters in the world, but he is also one of the best people, universally, everybody in the fight game that has found out and has contacted me, there’s not been one negative comment, it’s been ‘please give Nate our love, please let him know we support him.’ You know, when you get to know him, this is a man who, you know, he has a wife, two daughters, third child on the way… He’s a good guy.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “You know, I had them at the fight, I would never knowingly jeopardize my ability to support them.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Right.”

There are two pages for this article. Underneath the Facebook recommend button, you will see the page numbers (1, 2) to choose from. Use that to view the second half of this transcript.)

Pages: 1 2

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 8 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

8 Responses to “The big transcript: Nate Marquardt’s interview with Ariel Helwani”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    Marquardt is definitely not the brightest bulb in the bunch. Combine that with him just flat out lying during this interview sometimes, and it makes for an interesting combination….

  2. mr. roadblock says:

    Zach thanks for transcribng this.

    I dont have time right now to read page 2 of this excusefest. But how does Helwani not get into Nate’s first failed piss test by the end of page 1?

    That’s the real question people want to know.

    Hey, Nate you got busted using juice like a dummy five years ago. Now it looks like youre trying to do it the sophisticated way. But you screwed up again. Why should anyone trust you?

    • edub says:

      Yep, pretty simple, but I guess Ariel was trying to set him up for it. Or maybe was giving him softballs to see if he would contradict himself in the latter part of the interview (which he kind of does, if only a little).

      Wonder where Nate will go from here. I say go back to 185, head to Bellator, then fight Lombard.

      Rebney could even make a big deal about the UFC keeping SOnnen, and not giving a “second chance” to Nate.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    Dana White was interviewed by Ariel Helwani for the pre UFC 132 build up.

    Great comments on the Marquardt situation.

    He called TRT an “ugly loophole”.

    I was very happy to hear him say that.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      I’m sorry, but in my opinion, that is lip service.

      His own doctors oversaw Marquardt’s TRT usage when he fought in Germany. Why won’t Dr. Jeff Davidson talk to the media?

      • The Gaijin says:

        A million times this, they were extremely aware of this whole thing…they’ve known about it since Texas and allowed it via their “commission” in Germany.

        This blows some serious holes in the “well they’re even supplying their own drug testing on overseas shows!!” arguments. Hell I was applauding them for it, but it too was apparently some bigtime lip service. With the shitty commissions and superficial oversights, they are really about 20% better than PRIDE in its heyday when it comes to governing PED usage (“they” just means North American mma in general, you can’t just lay blame on the UFC here).

  4. [...] the Ugly, Dan Henderson would be considered by many fans to be in the ‘good’ category. (Nate Marquardt & Chael Sonnen would respectively be in the ‘bad’ & ‘ugly’ [...]

  5. [...] Journal of Neurophysiology 64 (1): 133–50. 23.  Helwani, Ariel. “The MMA Hour: Nate Marquardt Reveals Why He Was Released from UFC.” Interview. Video blog post. Mmafighting. N.p., 29 June 2011. Web. 13 Jan. 2014. 24. [...]

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