In the case of Marquardt, Wittman knew his fighter was undergoing testosterone treatments. He didn't agree with it, he said, but he also didn't feel like it was his place to tell a veteran fighter how to conduct his career.
What's more, even though he felt like the testosterone use shouldn't have been allowed, technically -- at least if Marquardt could provide proof of his need for it and get his levels down to within a range acceptable by the commissions before each fight -- it was. Marquardt was attempting to follow the rules laid out by the commissions, Wittman said. That's why, in Marquardt's mind, it wasn't cheating at all.
"Nate Marquardt is a guy who's never been untruthful with me. Everything that he tells me, and everything he told me going into this fight and back before New Jersey, it's something that he truly believes in. He went and had his testosterone checked. And when I spoke to him about it, I could tell he really believes he'd done the right thing, because the doctors are telling him, 'Your levels are low. You need this. This is why you're tired. We'll give you this and you'll perform like you're young again.' Man, you start telling a guy that, he's going to believe you.
"His honesty from the beginning -- doing these tests, asking for permission to do this -- that's what hurt him. His honesty got him put in this situation. It's so hard to watch one of the most honest guys I've ever trained -- the biggest family man, the guy who signs every autograph -- get scolded and cut and lose his career and get this brand on him, all because he felt like he was doing the right thing."
Now Wittman's fear is that the "brand" is not just on Marquardt, but also on his gym. He's never advocated use of hormone replacement therapy, he said, but by not doing more to dissuade his fighters from it, he can't help but wonder if he's not complicit in it.
"I didn't get into it. I kind of put my earplugs in," Wittman said. "I look at it as white and black, like you're still doing an enhancing kind of thing. But if the doctor okays it, does that make it right? I don't know. That's something I can't explain, but I'll tell you what I'm doing now, and that's sit down with every fighter I deal with and find out if they're seeing a doctor and for what reason. If it's anything that has to do with enhancing, then I'm going to step away."