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Thursday, June 30, 2011
Dana White says Nate Marquardt out

By Brett Okamoto
ESPN.com

LAS VEGAS -- Nate Marquardt will never fight in the UFC again.

That's straight from UFC president Dana White, who essentially closed the door Thursday on Marquardt ever returning to the promotion.

"Nate's done," White told ESPN.com. "Nate is a nice guy. He's real sweet and humble. But facts are facts and it is what it is."

White would not, however, go so far as to say Marquardt would never compete in Strikeforce, which, although owned by Zuffa, parent company of the UFC, currently still operates as its own brand.

"I don't know," White said. "Don't even ask me about Strikeforce. I don't know."

Marquardt (31-10) was cut from the UFC roster after failing to clear his medicals in anticipation for his main event fight against Rick Story at a UFC event in Pittsburgh last weekend.

The former middleweight contender publicly stated earlier this week he failed his medicals due to elevated testosterone levels. Those levels were abnormally high due to a testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, program Marquardt began last year.

He applied for, and was ultimately denied, a therapeutic exemption from the New Jersey athletic commission pertaining to a fight against Dan Miller in March. Although Marquardt failed to receive an exemption, he was allowed to compete because his testosterone levels were normal the week of the fight.

White, who said he was "disgusted" with Marquardt on a pre-fight show on Versus Sunday, said he hadn't heard his public statements, but nothing he could say would have an effect on the organization's decision to release him.

"I literally don't know what he said," White said. "Whatever he said should be the end of it.

"To me, this is his fourth chance. He tested positive before (for anabolic steroids in 2006). Then, he was apparently on suspension for New Jersey. Then he comes to (Pennsylvania) and doesn't pass his medicals. You tell me, is that his fourth chance?"

Marquardt's situation has drawn comparisons to that of UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen, who received a suspension from the California athletic commission after post fight drug tests found elevated testosterone levels in his blood.

At a hearing in California, Sonnen admitted his levels were high due to his own use of a TRT treatment. His suspension has since expired.

The UFC, particularly White, has backed Sonnen through the process, prompting some to speculate how his case differs from Marquardt.

For White, it goes back to the fact this isn't the first time Marquardt has dealt with these issues.

"The difference between Chael and Marquardt is we can talk about everything with the Chael incident," White said. "I've seen the stuff people are saying, like I'm this crazy, emotional psycho. Give me a break. This isn't the first time (for Marquardt)."

With two high-profile fighters resolving issues regarding the use of TRT, White was asked what his thoughts were on the treatment and whether or not fighters were abusing it.

White responded it's fine to utilize a treatment if it's absolutely necessary, even if the symptoms have been brought on by past steroid use, which is typically the case in low testosterone levels.

"There's a difference between testosterone replacement therapy and getting to a level where it's performance enhancing," White said. "I'm the furthest thing from a doctor but, I guess, sometimes they need to get it back to a normal level.

"But if it's over that, you're taking too much or you're seeing the wrong doctor. It works for guys who absolutely need it but it's a messy loophole."

Brett Okamoto covers mixed martial arts for ESPN.com.