Yesterday, we at Cageside Seats had stories on (Chael Sonnen's continued usage of) testosterone replacement therapy and concussions (in the NFL and WWE), so a story that combines the two subjects today is quite fitting. The link between the two topics is that there has been some research published which suggests that traumatic brain injuries can lead to hypogonadism. As David Williams of FightOpinion.com documents, Nate Marquardt has latched on to this research and has used it as an explanation for his testosterone deficiency in a recent interview with Ron Kruck:
RON KRUCK: "Will this be for the rest of your life you'll be doing this treatment?"
NATE MARQUARDT: "I assume, I assume, unless there's for some chance, you know, something that caused this that's outside of, you know, normal things that can happen. From what I understand, my condition is a secondary hypogonadism and this condition is not caused by past steroid use as some people are accusing me of. It's a condition, when you use steroids it shuts off your testicles and my testicles work. It's something behind that, it's something in my brain, whether it's my pituitary or something else that's causing this and one of the leading causes of low testosterone in athletes is concussions and head trauma and, you know, I would assume there's a good chance that's where I got it. You know, I've been training for 17 years. You know, I spar with heavyweights, I spar with world class boxers, I mean there's a good chance that's what this is."
Williams wasn't buying that excuse, despite the medical research that makes it a plausible one or at least a more plausible excuse than Chael Sonnen's sob story that he never went through puberty:
While Marquardt is hardly going unpunished, the script has already been written for Marquardt to make a triumphant return to grace. It's a story that wouldn't be possible if Marquardt had, for instance, admitted to cheating and been suspended for 12 months. After all, taking responsibility - full responsibility - is for losers. As so many sports figures have demonstrated, pretending to take responsibility while denying any actual wrongdoing is the way to go.
It turns out that there's plenty more evidence for Williams to have doubted Marquardt's story than that which he mentioned in his article for FightOpinion.com. Find out after the jump.
Firstly, Marquardt isn't keeping his story straight. He told Ariel Helwani in his first interview after he had been suspended that he didn't know why he had low testosterone and even admitted to having an MRI taken to make sure it wasn't caused by a traumatic brain injury:
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."
That's probably the best exhibit yet of why Zach Arnold's interview transcripts aren't a waste of his time.
Secondly, Marquardt wouldn't be the first athlete to attempt to pull the wool over people's eyes by claiming that he had hypogonadism from head trauma. That would probably be judoka George Hartman:
The panel rejected Hartman's hypogonadism diagnosis. In doing so, it pointed out that his pituitary gland, which malfunctions in someone who is hypogonadal, was properly secreting all hormones -- such as growth, cortisol and Prolactin -- with the exception of those that would be stunted by synthetic testosterone use. VanHelder testified that something was preventing certain hormones from being produced properly in Hartman's body and proffered that it was due to a head injury. The panel found that assessment "speculative" because no medical evidence of a head injury was submitted.
Hmm, Marquardt's latest assessment sounds speculative too, especially as he previously claimed to have had an MRI taken and nothing untoward was found.
Finally, what would the government make of Nate Marquardt's TRT excuse? And when I say the government I mean Congressional investigators not the athletic commissions that Dana White loves to mislabel as. They'd probably give a roasting to any athletic commission doctor who would give Marquardt a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone if that was the only drug being prescribed by his physician, as Dr. Tracy Ray found out much to his chagrin when he was forced to explain a similar TUE case of a WWE wrestler in his Congressional interview on September 24th, 2007:
Speaking of the Congressional interviews, when Dr. Tracy Ray was interviewed (PDF), they went over the therapeutic use exemptions (with the names redacted) that he had granted up to that point when wrestlers had tested positive for certain substances. One wrestler had been diagnosed by his/her (both gender pronouns were used in the transcript) doctor as having a specific hormonal disorder (panhypopituitarism or panhypopit) as a complication of head injuries. The personal doctor prescribed testosterone and human growth hormone replacement therapy for the wrestler, which was approved by Dr. Ray. Steve Cha, the doctor conducting this portion of the interview pointed out that normally, when someone was diagnosed with panhypopit, cortisol would also be prescribed, as it would be the most important hormone to be without. He then asked if Ray called the prescribing doctor to point this out. He didn't. Hmm...
Hmm, I really hope UFC's Dr. Jeff Davidson isn't slipping into the same sort of mistakes WWE's Dr. Tracy Ray was making four years ago.