Nate Marquardt’s recent and high-profile firing from the UFC as a result of his main-event-cancelling elevated testosterone levels has raised a multitude of questions over hormone replacement therapy, some of which are perhaps most intriguingly raised by Marquardt’s own coach, Trevor Wittman.
Wittman spoke with MMAFighting.com’s Ben Fowlkes recently about Marquardt’s dust up with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission and why he will be more closely monitoring the treatments his fighters undergo from here on out.
Wittman repeatedly expressed his support for Marquardt as well as his remorse over the entire situation, but explained to MMAFighting that he doesn’t condone the implementation of HRT in a fighter’s career as he believes that it alters the natural balance between older and younger fighters.
“To me, if your testosterone levels are getting lower over the years, that’s normal,” Wittman said. “You’re getting older. As you get older in this sport, it’s common sense you’re not going to have the same testosterone levels as a 21-year-old man. But the big disadvantage a 21-year-old has when he comes into this is the knowledge and experience.
“If you have a 21-year-old come into this with those naturally high testosterone levels, and then you’ve got an older fighter — I’ll just pick an age, say, 35 — who has lower testosterone levels, the advantages of the older man are knowledge, experience. He’s seen it in all different aspects. He’s a veteran. To me, that’s a huge disadvantage for the younger man. Yeah, he’s going to be able to go, go, go. But that’s his advantage. Let him have it. And let’s outwork him. Let’s beat him with our experience. But if we make a 35 or 40-year-old fighter as strong as a 21-year-old, to me, that’s cutting corners.”
Wittman explained that Marquardt has been as candid with him about the treatment as he was with the PSAC and the UFC, that is to say, fully. Though he knew of Marquardt’s treatment, Wittman said that he just looked past it for not wanting to tell a grown man how to conduct himself. However, from now on, Wittman plans to go over thoroughly with each of his fighters the kind of treatments they employ to aid their training and will discontinue coaching anyone who is unnaturally enhancing their training or performance.
“I didn’t get into it. I kind of put my earplugs in,” Wittman said. “I look at it as white and black, like you’re still doing an enhancing kind of thing. But if the doctor okays it, does that make it right? I don’t know. That’s something I can’t explain, but I’ll tell you what I’m doing now, and that’s sit down with every fighter I deal with and find out if they’re seeing a doctor and for what reason. If it’s anything that has to do with enhancing, then I’m going to step away.”