It all started with Nate Marquardt discussing his hormone replacement therapy and explaining why he was pulled from the UFC on Versus 4 card in Pittsburgh two weeks ago.
From there, a storm of responses started from fighters both supporting and decrying what Marquardt said about his low testosterone and need for treatment to return to full health.
Former UFC champion B.J. Penn voiced his disproval through Twitter, and has largely been an opponent of all performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. The other major name that took opposition to Marquardt on that day was Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren.
The former Olympian took to his Twitter account and addressed Marquardt directly writing “you are a cheater, not once but frequently. Stop cheating, come to Bellator and I will crush you.”
Speaking further on the subject when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio, Askren took Marquardt to task for his statement about needing testosterone therapy. He believes the former UFC middleweight contender simply isn’t telling the truth about the situation.
“I think it’s pretty clear, he failed not one, but two tests. I think it becomes very, very clear when his coach Trevor Wittman is coming out and saying things that goes against what he’s doing. If your coach ain’t got your back, who’s got your back? I think it’s pretty clear to me as many excuses as he makes that he was cheating and this is not the first time he’s got caught,” Askren said.
“The worst thing about it is that he just keeps lying. Own up to it, be a man, take care of your responsibilities, you did wrong, you’ve got to admit to it.”
The other test that Askren is speaking about is a 2005 drug test that Marquardt failed following his UFC debut fight against Ivan Salaverry. The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Marquardt for five months after he tested positive for banned substances.
Askren, who was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team that has gone through stringent drug testing throughout his collegiate and Olympic career, has seen cheating go on at many MMA gyms all over the world.
“It’s pretty obvious. I’ve been around the block. I travel a lot to gyms. I think cheating with performance enhancing drugs runs rampant in the MMA world, and I’m okay with that, that’s their decision,” Askren stated. “I wouldn’t do it. I think there are long-term ramifications in your career, and the fact that they’re choosing to take the easy way out as opposed to training themselves naturally, that’s also going to have an effect on them long-term, that they didn’t do it themselves, that they had something helping them.”
The former Missouri wrestler and NCAA All-American doesn’t even mind so much that fighters are taking performance enhancing drugs as much as they won’t own up to their mistakes when they get busted.
“What I have a real issue with is when someone gets caught, you’re supposed to be a grown man. You’re supposed to be a man and part of being a man is taking responsibility for your actions. When you get caught and you just constantly lie, and lie, and lie, it’s like come on dude, just own up, be a man,” said Askren.
As far as his beef with Nate Marquardt, Ben Askren has a very simple solution to offer the former UFC fighter.
“Bring it,” Askren said to Marquardt. “I want to be the best in the world and the only way to be the best in the world is to fight the people that are the best. Nate Marquardt, come on.
“He can’t beat wrestlers. He can’t beat a good wrestler. So I’ll take him down, I’ll wear him out, and hopefully for the fans around the world I will submit him so they don’t call me a blanket fighter.”
Whether the fight actually happens or not remains to be seen, but Askren doesn’t mind backing up his strong words in the cage, and he’s left an open invite for Marquardt to come to Bellator and challenge him.