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Former UFC middleweight title contender Nate Marquardt Tuesday revealed that elevated testosterone levels caused his sudden and unexpected withdrawal from UFC Live 4.

In what was supposed to mark his welterweight debut, Marquardt was to face Rick Story in Sunday's main event at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. However, on the day of the weigh-ins, Marquardt was denied medical clearance by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission and pulled from the contest that same day. The UFC found a replacement opponent for Story in Charlie Brenneman, and UFC president Dana White announced that Marquardt was not only off the card, but also out of the promotion.

Appearing Tuesday on “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani, Marquardt explained that he began feeling “sluggish” and “moody” last summer. Those feelings turned out to be symptoms of low testosterone, according to the one-time middleweight title challenger.

“I was not medically cleared because of a situation I’ve been dealing with since August. Last year, I was feeling sluggish and my memory had gone out the window. I was irritable,” said Marquardt. “I knew something was wrong. Felt like I was over-training when that wasn't the case.”

The fighter asserted that he began testosterone replacement therapy on the recommendation of his primary care physician. This carried on until his fight with Dan Miller at UFC 128 in March.

“I got the fight with Dan Miller in New Jersey, where I applied for a therapeutic use exemption. They came back and said they would let me fight this fight, but they wanted to make sure that I needed the treatment. They said my doctor submitted paperwork that seemed incomplete,” said Marquardt.

“They wanted me to go off treatment for eight weeks, take three blood tests and have an endocrinologist examine them to make sure I still needed treatment. The endocrinologist wrote out a letter that said I had low testosterone and I was a candidate for hormone replacement therapy and that I should go back on treatment.”

By the time the eight-week cycle had been completed, Marquardt was three weeks away from his fight at UFC Live 4. In light of close proximity to the fight, Marquardt claims his doctor recommended he undergo more aggressive treatment in order to combat his symptoms and bring his levels back up to normal.

“[My doctor] said [therapy] wouldn't make me feel better by the time of my fight unless we did a more aggressive treatment,” said Marquardt. “So I was on the treatment for two weeks and I took a blood test, which is normal throughout treatment to make sure you're in normal ranges. That test came back high. At that point, my doctor said I should go off treatment and hope that I was down to normal levels. At that point, I was panicked.”

Though Marquardt says his levels did drop during the week of the fight, they did not drop quickly enough. The day before the weigh-ins, his level was still too high, and he was suspended by the commission. However, Marquardt said that he took another test on the day of the fight and found his levels were within range.

“The week of the fight, I requested several tests. Each test showed my levels were going down. I took a test on weigh-in day, and it was still above the range that that commission was going to let me fight,” said Marquardt.

“At that point, I was told that I was going to be put on suspension. The day of the fight, I woke up and took a test. That test came back well within ranges. I took a test with a doctor from the commission yesterday, and it had gone down even more so.”

Though Marquardt asserted that he has been honest and he has communicated through the entire process, he did admit that he should have been more informed during his recent therapy.

“We knew I had to be within range. I should have requested testing earlier. That's one of the biggest mistakes I made was not requesting blood tests earlier from my doctor,” said Marquardt. “We knew I had to be within range. I should have requested blood tests earlier from my doctor. I'm not a doctor, but I have to take responsibility. My doctor wasn't fighting. I’m the one fighting, and I messed up. There are things I should have done, and I have to take responsibility for that.””

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission will meet tomorrow to discuss Marquardt's suspension.

“I spoke to [Commissioner Gregory Sirb] today, and he said I’d essentially met the requirements for my suspension to be lifted,” said Marquardt.

Marquardt had split his last four bouts in the Octagon before receiving his walking papers. After falling to Chael Sonnen to begin 2010, “The Great” rebounded with a TKO victory over Rousimar Palhares in September before closing out the year with a unanimous decision loss to Yushin Okami in November. Marquardt started 2011 with a victory, besting Dan Miller at UFC 128 in March.

Though Marquardt admitted his weight cut may have increased his levels due to his dehydration, the fighter believes that the cut was not the source of his problems and intends to stay in the welterweight ranks.

“I'll definitely still be at 170 pounds,” said Marquardt. “If my levels weren't elevated in the first place, the weight cut wouldn't have made the test higher.”

In regard to his UFC future, Marquardt said he was not surprised that White released him. However, Marquardt hopes that he can overcome the setbacks and return to the UFC.

“It's a nightmare. It's very stressful. At the same time, I lean on my faith in God, and my wife has been so supportive. I’m such a blessed man,” said an emotional Marquardt through tears. “I want to apologize to the fans. I feel like I let them down. I feel like I let my family down, and I obviously upset the UFC and my sponsors. I just hope everyone can forgive me. I’m trying my best.”

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