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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 2005 failed steroid test and cause

ARIEL HELWANI: “Even Dana White, who is obviously upset, he went on our show and said he has always had a good relationship with you. He called a sweetheart, so obviously he’s mad at you and he said that, you know, your run is over, at least for now in the UFC, but he still had good things to say about you as a person so I think a lot of people would share that sentiment. The reason I was asking that question was because, obviously, in 2005 we did have an issue with Nevada, right? Does that issue have anything to do with having low testosterone? Because people have made that link so I want to make sure that one is separate from the other or not.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Well, that’s, um, actually something I was thinking about today. So, in 2005, uh, I, uh, I had a nandrolone metabolite, basically I took an over-the-counter supplement, at the time it was OTC, that was not illegal but it was a banned substance, I didn’t realize that. But, nonetheless, it was, you know, it was like I said it was called Andro, a lot of people know of Andro from Mark McGwire, it’s very similar to that, it’s like the yin-and-yang to that but it’s an oral supplement. But, uh, you know, I took that, uh, you know for probably several years, you know, in accordance with that it said on the bottle. Uh… and although it’s not like an injectable steroid, it does effect your hormones and you know that’s definitively something I thought back and, man, I hope, you know, that’s not why you know, I hope that’s not what caused this because that would be just horrible, I had no clue that was something unhealthy for my body.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “You’re not sure if it did, yet?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “I have no clue.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “You have no clue?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “No, no clue.”

What did the UFC doctors know and allow?

ARIEL HELWANI: “Um, in August you say you started (TRT). You fought then in November in Germany, right, against (Yushin) Okami, and then you fought in New Jersey. Did anything come up in November? Was there an issue in November? Because obviously that’s when the UFC governs, when they’re overseas. Was there any issue then?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “No, and I fought in (September)…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “September, right, against (Rousimar) Palhares in Texas.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Yeah, so I had the, you know, each, uh, well in Germany there wasn’t a commission but the UFC basically was the commission so I had to do all of the same tests for the UFC as I did for Texas and for New Jersey, I had to do all the same testing and, you know, I had to show that my levels were maintaining in a normal range, etc. Write-ups from the doctors.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “What is the normal range?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Well, that’s uh… that’s debatable by doctors, debatable.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “I’ve read it’s 250 to 850…”

LEX MCMAHON: “There’s a variance within the body of medical (literature). You know, I think it varies by jurisdiction, by testing venue…”


Could Nate Marquardt have been cleared if he was tested on Sunday morning?

LEX MCMAHON: “So, it just depends on where you are and who’s testing you. Bottom line is, Nate knew that he had to be in reference range each of those times no matter what the jurisdiction was. He also knew coming into Pennsylvania he needed to be in reference range and he was not.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Do you know what the range is in Pennsylvania?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “It depends on…”

LEX MCMAHON: “That’s one of the things we saw, they were different numbers…”


NATE MARQUARDT: “You can go to one lab and, like you said…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “I read 250 and just to get the exact, because, what does that mean 250? It’s nanograms per decileter, that 250 ng/DL and 850/DL.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “There’s others that are like 280 to like 900…”

LEX MCMAHON: “Up to 1025, again it’s a sliding scale and the doctors debate this, you know, time and again. But the key is, when you test, you have to be within that specific range and when we were testing, you know, Nate wasn’t.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Let’s just say Saturday morning, what were your levels? What was your number? Because you say you were close? How close were you?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Well, we talked to the commissioner this morning and I’ll be happy to share the numbers. He said it wouldn’t be a good idea to share the numbers until my suspension is lifted, so, I don’t know if I can share.”

LEX MCMAHON: “The rationale is, Ariel, that while… Greg Sirb is indicated that it appears that we met all the requirements to have Nate’s suspension lifted just 72 hours after it was initiated, um, the board (met Wednesday), it would be inappropriate for Nate to comment on his levels until they’ve met, until they rendered their final decision, and until they’re off. I think that, you know, we need to respect what the commission asked us to do because, frankly, they hold the power to reinstate Nate and so we will respect that and we’ll address, down the road, once we’re past this, you know, the idea of the numbers and all that. But it’s critical to know at this juncture is that there was a point in time after Nate came off his, uh, medical treatment per the New Jersey ACB where his endocrinologist suggested that it would be appropriate for him to resume treatment. His primary care physician suggested that it would be appropriate for him to resume treatment. Tested, his levels were high, immediately came off, his levels began dropping, trending down, trending down, we reported that information on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has a standard, as Dana White said Pennsylvania is one of the best commissions in the business. They held their standard, you know, and ultimately, you know, while Nate would have loved to have fought, uh, it’s… we can’t argue the facts that they weren’t fair to us because they were. At the end, he just didn’t make the number. Even close, close doesn’t count in this situation.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Let’s put it this way, if you were fighting (Wednesday) and (Tuesday) were the weigh-ins, would you be cleared? Are your levels low enough (Tuesday) to fight?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Probably lower.”


LEX MCMAHON: “But the actual fight day (Sunday), if they would have they allowed Nate to fight and said, here’s one more test Sunday morning, he was within range and he could easily have fought.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “When you did the test with New Jersey, when did you do that test? When did that come up, after the fight or before the fight?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “I do that test(ing) throughout my treatment, whether it’s once a month or twice a month or whatever.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “I guess here’s what I’m getting at. Let’s say you never told anyone, right? Let’s say you just kept this to yourself and you say that on fight night, and obviously you and your doctor knew that your levels were high so he would tell you two weeks your levels are high, you have to get off whatever. Fight night you said you were fine. If they tested you on fight night after you fight, let’s say you fight Rick Story, you win, you lose, they test you. This never would have come out, right? Because you say your levels…”

NATE MARQUARDT: “That’s not correct because, uh… the treatment I was using would show up no matter if my levels are normal or not. It’s going to show up…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “That you’re doing something?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Because they take a urine test.”


NATE MARQUARDT: “And, so, it’s going to show up, hey, he has this in his system.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Even if your levels at now at, let’s say, 700.”

LEX MCMAHON: “Which is why you always have to disclose and which is exactly what Nate has done every single time, disclose, and in fact gone further than disclosing, he has been proactively communicating throughout the process, this is where I am, this is where we are in the treatment process, here is today test, he’s been very diligent about that. He has nothing to hide. It’s like I said, there was a tweet that someone had asked, why not, why wait until 72 hours? What are you trying to hide? Nate has nothing to hide, we’ll answer any question.”

What Nate Marquadt claims was operating procedure for how his TRT was approved

ARIEL HELWANI: “And you are certainly doing so and I think you’re being very honest and, uh, certainly facing the music, sort of speak, you could have waited 3 weeks, 1 month, and I appreciate that very much. I want to go back to New Jersey because that seems to be the time when things became an issue. When they came to you and said, I’m assuming after the fight, right? They said that this is an issue or did they say it before the fight?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “They said it before.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “But they still let you fight?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Yeah. So… we got a letter, I don’t know how far out from the fight but I would guess 6-to-8 weeks out before the fight.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So we’re talking maybe February or so because the fight was in March, or maybe end of January.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “It basically said, you know, we’ve received your application for the Therapeutic Use Exemption and the information seems incomplete submitted by your doctor as well as the treatment, they said it was, it was not USADA-approved.”

LEX MCMAHON: “It wasn’t the standard of care that doctors within the profession would normally use.”


NATE MARQUARDT: “Because they were using an off-label, medication off-label I think is how you say it. Basically, there’s medication that’s designed for one thing and then doctors will use that same medication for another thing.”


NATE MARQUARDT: “And, for me, it was to stimulate my body to make testosterone on its own.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “But it was legal as long as you’re within the range, right? To use this if you have poor testosterone or low levels?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Oh yes, yes, yeah. And, you know, from what I understand, it’s common for doctors to use it for that reason.”

LEX MCMAHON: “And they had a prescription for all of this. It was not like he was going out black market and getting this. He was with his primary care physician who was prescribing this.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “And just to be clear, I have to ask… this doctor is a legitimate doctor, right? He’s not a guy in Tijuana or something?”



NATE MARQUARDT: “So, did that answer that question?”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So you find this out and you get to fight night, right? When do they tell you that, hey, we’re going to start monitoring this for your next fight because there was an issue there.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “So, the whole time my blood has to be monitored, you know, and so all the way up to the fight and at the fight…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Were your levels good for the fight?”


ARIEL HELWANI: “They were within range?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Yes. Of course, or they wouldn’t have let me fight.”


NATE MARQUARDT: “So, uh… so, you know, and at that point once I fought I knew I already knew because I already had the letter that said, okay, you have to stop for 8 weeks, then you have to take 3 consecutive blood tests, um, so that took about a week and a half or something to take the blood tests after that. So, at that point, I was off for like almost 10 weeks and then the endocrinologist reviewed the blood test and said, yes, you need treatment.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So you were off the treatment at that point after the fight and then you had to get back on?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Right. So like I said, at the point I went back on I believe I had been off of it for either 10 or 11 weeks, I’d have to look at a calendar, but it was 3 weeks until my fight that I was supposed to have with Rick Story.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “That’s when you went back on?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “That’s when I went back on.”

LEX MCMAHON: “He couldn’t resume treatment until he completed all of New Jersey’s requirements, which he did.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Did you need the treatment? Were you feeling sluggish or in hindsight do you wish you didn’t do it?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Honestly, man, I felt even worse than I did the year before. I… I mean… I was so moody, honestly… when it comes to just taking the treatment, I’m happy because it, you know, it possibly saved my marriage because I was so moody my wife did not want to be around me.”

The regimen

ARIEL HELWANI: “What exactly is the treatment? What do you have to do?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Well, you mean, you’re saying…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Like when you are taking TRT, right, what exactly is that? What are you doing?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “There’s all different treatments. So… the one I initially had were two different pills that I took…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Every day you had to take them?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “No. The first one I was taking like before I fought in New Jersey.”


NATE MARQUARDT: “That one was one I took three days a week and the other one I took every other day and, like I said, it tells your body to produce more testosterone so it makes your testicles produce more testosterone.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “This pill?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Yeah. Actually, the one I was taking actually tells you pituitary gland to produce more LH, which then tells your testicles to produce more testosterone. So, initially, I wanted a treatment to where my body was slow-working, I didn’t want my pituitary to shut off, I didn’t want my testicles to shut off, I wanted them to keep working because if you’re on testosterone for a long period of time your testicles shut off, you can go sterile, etc. So, that was the initial treatment and then… after I was off for 10 weeks from treatment, I’m 3 weeks out from the fight, my doctor said if we go back on that treatment you’re not going to feel better for several weeks, I need to give you an injection of testosterone…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “It is just one?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “It, you know, same thing, it can be on different schedules. I had three by the time I took the test. Three shots.”

Regrets on the handling of the TRT process

ARIEL HELWANI: “Is there anything that you can look back on and say, we shouldn’t have done this this way, we should have done this instead, we did something wrong here. Can you look back and say that at this point we made a wrong turn?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Yeah, I mean, like I said, you know… number one, I could have, uh, after the first shot said, um, give me a blood test, you know, write me a prescription so I can get a blood test after, you know, as soon as this shot is going to peak or kick in or whatever I want to be tested to know that I’m not going over.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “You didn’t do that? You waited until…”

NATE MARQUARDT: “Yeah, the first test was after two weeks, set up after the third shot. I could have, I was really hesitant to go on testosterone, I didn’t want to do that, you know. I… I wish I wouldn’t have obviously, you know I wish I would have picked a different treatment or just something where it was easier to pinpoint what number I was going to be at to make sure I’m safe.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Are there alternatives? Can you now do something else because you say you didn’t want to (use testosterone). Are you well-versed in that world where now you can say, for the rest of my career and life, I can now do this that won’t lead to maybe these issues with commissions or even in general? Do you know about any of that?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “You know, I’ve talked to different doctors and different doctors will recommend different things and I Guess I just need to research it more and that I’m 100% confident in whatever I’m doing and also, you know, the more time I have to get it right to where I’m not trying to rush, you know, get my levels right before…”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Will you no longer take the injections? Will you maybe go back to the pills now, if you have to?”

NATE MARQUARDT: “I would like to go back if I could.”


NATE MARQUARDT: “Honestly, it’s going to depend on what the doctor recommends. I have to go see.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So, at this point yet, you don’t know what your plan of action will be for the next time you fight? It’s still very fresh.”


LEX MCMAHON: “Nate and I have obviously dissected where, how did we end up here? You know, it’s not just Nate, it’s the team. The team takes responsibility. You know, one of the things that could have done differently and I think that one of the things that has created agitation around the situation is… the New Jersey commission sent a very clear statement to Nate that the doctor he was using was, had been incomplete, was using treatment protocols that were not approved by USADA. At that point in time, that should have been a significant indicator to go see a specialist, to go see someone whose core competency was this. So, I think that’s another area where, you know, Nate and our team have to take responsibility, you know at the end of the day… you’re dealing with a high-level professional athlete, one of the best fighters in the world, how could you potentially and possible jeopardize that situation? Go to the best doctor you can get your hands on. So, that’s definitely something that Nate will be doing in the future. We’ve already begun the process of identifying those issues.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So you will no longer be going to that doctor?”


Did cutting weight to make 170 pounds (Welterweight) alter the test results?

ARIEL HELWANI: “Let’s go to (last) Saturday now. You arrive at the weigh-ins and just prior to Saturday, did any of this have to do with the weight cut? Because we were following you and you were on weight, so obviously you were going to make weight but did any of the treatment you take have the fact that you’re moving down to 170?”


ARIEL HELWANI: “It was fine. Okay.”

NATE MARQUARDT: “The one thing, I can’t say for sure. The reason I went back on treatment had nothing to do with the weight cut. But… you know, with the weight cut… it’s hard for me to explain without telling you the numbers, I wish I could explain the numbers, but… I believe the weight cut screwed up my numbers and even the doctor who checked me out in Pennsylvania… I asked him, I said, can my concentration be higher because I’m so dehydrated? And he said, well, yeah, your blood’s thicker, your concentration’s going to be higher because all your water is gone out of your system so the blood’s thickened and, you know, the tests I took the next day was significantly lower.”

LEX MCMAHON: “By more than half.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Right, right, right.”

LEX MCMAHON: “So, there was something. You know, Nate and I aren’t doctors but we certainly have consulted with doctors and, you know, all the doctors have said to varying degrees that, yes, the weight cut would have an impact. We don’t know exactly what but we do know from an empirical data standpoint is that the number was high and above standard weigh in day, next day it was more than half of what it was the day before. Substantial.”


At no time during the interview was any name of any doctor revealed (either for Mr. Marquardt’s endocrinologist or primary care physician). Later in the interview, he was asked about whether or not he had talked with his doctor that had been prescribing the TRT. Paraphrasing, Mr. Marquardt asked what the point of seeing that doctor was and indicated that specific doctor/patient relationship would be terminated in the future.

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Topics: Media, MMA, 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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