Outspoken former Olympian expands on his comments about Nate Marquardt
Ben Askren is many things. He’s a four-time All-American, two-time NCAA Division-I National wrestling champion and winner of the Dan Hodge Trophy from his days at the University of Missouri. He is a former Olympian, having competed at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China.
Currently, he’s the Bellator welterweight champion, and regarded as one of the top 170 pound competitors outside of the UFC.
He’s also outspoken and straight-forward, and says he’s been that way, “since I’ve been sixteen.”
Askren made news on Tuesday afternoon when he took to Twitter during Nate Marquardt’s appearance on The MMA Hour where he explained he suffers from low testosterone. The curly haired welterweight wrestler (@benaskren) offered the following tweet:
@nathanmarquardt you are a cheater, not once but frequently. Stop cheating, come to bellator and I will crush you.
HeavyMMA contacted Askren Tuesday evening to get further comments on his social networking slam of Marquardt, the explanation offered up by the beleaguered fighter, and what’s next for the Bellator welterweight champion.
ON HIS TWEET, NATE MARQUARDT’S EXPLANATION, AND THE USE OF PEDs IN MMA
I’ve been training at a lot of gyms – I’ve been all over the place — and the fact is steroids and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) run rampant through the MMA world. It’s pretty obvious; everyone knows. If you just extrapolate on the number of people who get caught doing it, you can probably guess that there’s a lot of people doing it and not getting caught.
That bugs me, but you know what? That’s their personal choice. What really bugs me more than that is as people get caught and then lie about it, make up these fabricated stories that are just nonsense, and don’t just own up. You’ve got to be a man.
I feel like that’s what’s going wrong in the world; no one wants to take responsibility for what they do. You cheated, you got caught, admit to it.
ON HOW TO IMPROVE THE TESTING PROCESS AND THE USE OF THE LOW TESTOSTERONE EXPLANATION
The fact of the matter is that there is a lot of money involved in MMA, and when there is a lot of money involved, it changes people. People are trying to get a piece of that pie, and they’re going to try to get it any way they can, some people. Most people have got morals, they’ve got beliefs, they’ve got values that they hold true to their heart, but some people will do just about whatever it takes to stay on top or to get on top.
So really, I think as stringent as the testing policies become — and they are getting better by the way – there will still be people trying to cheat no matter what. USADA does a great job, especially with their random drug testing where they can test you at any time. They can come to your house, you have to let them know where you are; it was annoying, but I understand the point because there are so many cheaters out there. But when you have to fill out a whole list of where you’re going to be, when you’re going to be there so they can come test you whenever they want.
That’s going to help, but nevertheless, there will still be people who will try to cheat. All I’m asking is for those cheaters, when they caught, don’t make up some ridiculous story. When you’re a world-class athlete, you’re 32-years-old, that you’ve got low (testosterone) which, at the end of the day, is a disease that was created by the pharmaceutical companies not only to treat sick people, but to treat healthy people because that’s what the pharmaceutical companies want to do. And to make millions of dollars.
I mean, low T – it’s called aging. When people get older, they produce less testosterone, that’s a fact. It happens to all of us. Human beings are thousands upon thousands of years old, and as people got older, they produced less testosterone, and now all of a sudden in 2011 it’s a disease.
ON ONLY HEARING ABOUT LOW TESTOSTERONE LEVELS AFTER THE FACT
My guess — obviously I’m guessing, despite it being the truth — he’s probably been a prolonged cheater. He got caught before — fact. He had excuses for that — normal. And his prolonged use of other substances is probably created the problem he’s having now. He tries to make up for that problem by taking HGH or whatever he was taking – I don’t really know — and it’s a big cycle that really builds upon itself. In the end, it’s just really going to hurt him. I mean really, he’s going to have to own up to those eventually. Sometime down the road it’s going to catch up to him, just like it catches up to everybody.
ON BELLATOR BRINGING IN NATE MARQUARDT
I’m hoping that a lot. Like I’ve said time and time again, my one and only goal in fighting is to be the best in the world, and Nate Marquardt would clearly be the biggest name that Bellator has brought in as an organization. If they can land him, and I can get to face him, I’d be looking forward to that test, and moving my name up the ranks.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR HIM?
(Askren will face Season 4 tournament winner Jay Hieron) They’ve said probably late September, early October, sometime in Season 5. There will be a welterweight tournament. Hopefully Nate Marquardt will be in that welterweight tournament, and then after that, I will face whoever is the winner of that tournament.